For Immediate Release
Kate Uesugi, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-238-9088 (ext. 1050)
(Washington, DC, June 24, 2022) – The American Humanist Association (AHA) condemns today’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, explicitly overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban to go into effect.
Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer dissented from the 6-3 decision writing, “With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent.”
“Today’s ruling is further evidence that the regressive political agenda of the far-right has reached the highest court in the land,” comments AHA Executive Director Nadya Dutchin. “Bodily autonomy and self-determination are deeply rooted humanist values that are critical for realizing an inclusive, pluralistic, and flourishing society. The right to abortion access has long been a culture-war issue utilized by radical evangelical and White Christian Nationalist movements to control women and undermine the well-being of our society.”
Overturning Roe v. Wade allows Mississippi to enforce its 15-week ban and opens the door for more states to further restrict, criminalize, and ban abortion. Restricting abortion does not reduce abortions and only serves to increase the number of unsafe procedures. We need equitable and accessible family planning, including contraception and science-based sexual education taught widely in our educational institutions. Today, by upholding draconian restrictions instead of suggesting such evidence-based solutions, the Supreme Court has failed to protect millions of Americans.
The dissent states, “Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens,” and continues, “all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid-19th century are insecure.”
“This decision threatens a host of other hard-won rights and puts the rule of law in serious jeopardy,” says AHA Legal Director and Senior Counsel Monica Miller. “To claim that the right to bodily autonomy is not ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,’ as the majority opinion states, is wrong as a matter of American common law, which has long recognized the right to bodily liberty as one of the most vital rights of an individual.”
This majority decision erodes the rights of women, people who give birth, and religious minorities (including nontheists) to make private medical decisions with their physicians that are best for the health of the patient and their families. The reasoning used will further provide a pathway to overturn decisions in important civil rights cases like Obergefell v. Hodges (which prohibits laws banning same-sex marriage) and Loving v. Virginia (which prohibits laws banning interracial marriage) among others.
Access to abortion is essential, and the AHA will continue to fight for a better future, where reproductive and all essential health care is accessible to everyone. Every person deserves the ability to make decisions that impact their futures and families. As humanists, we must come together to work toward a world where all people feel supported and are given the necessary resources to make decisions–including when to give birth–that affect their lives.
Now that Roe has effectively been overturned, hostile legislators in more states will likely try to ban abortion, but today, abortion is still legal in the vast majority of U.S. states. The AHA will work harder than ever to safeguard existing abortion rights and fight for Congress to pass laws that protect the right to choose.
The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.