Today, the Supreme Court of the United States concluded a legal debate about abortions that has been a part of our electoral and movement battles for the last 50 years. The ruling, which overturned the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, has immediate consequences for our people in the US South. Southern Vision Alliance and our affiliated projects will stand with our folks on the frontlines of the fight for the rights of the people to access abortions safely and without incident.
Unequivocally, the people have a right to abortions. This and all human rights should be protected by the US constitution. The decision by the US Supreme Court to defer the decision back to elected officials is reckless, and creates unnecessary, irresponsible scenarios for what we already know to be immature political theater. To allow over a dozen states to revisit abortion bans that have lain dormant for more than 50 years is a nod to the draconian political aims that the racist, far right have aspired for since the 2016 election cycle.
Furthermore, we know that this attack is aimed at Black, Brown and working class people in the US, and will have a dramatic effect on people in the US South. Of 20 states expected to immediately prohibit or restrict abortion, 12 of them are in the South. Seven of those Southern states have ‘trigger laws’ that were designed to go into effect within days of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Nine of them are expected to ban almost all abortions.
The ruling must be put into the context of the longstanding disproportionate access to healthcare in general for poor people and people of color, made more apparent by the COVID crisis but spanning centuries, as well as the legacies of reproductive experimentation and enforced sterilization of the bodies of Black and Brown folks, poor people and disabled communities. Of the 12 Southern states expected to immediately prohibit or restrict abortions, all but two (Arkansas and Texas) have also attempted to pass anti-LGBTQ legislation in 2022, including direct challenges to trans-affirming healthcare in seven states. This is clearly a systematic, coordinated and targeted effort to diminish the lives and self-determination of marginalized people.
This ruling is also a direct attack on more than 50 years of work done by elders and communities. In our movements, we acknowledge the benefit and inheritance of fierce freedom fighters that have made our lives and continued struggles possible. The US Supreme Court decision is a targeted attack on our communities of today and tomorrow, but also to the people who dedicated their lives to the health, wellness and choice of their community. We fight for our today and tomorrows as much as our yesterdays.
Our liberation is determined by the people, who we know will lead us to our better future. We will win!
Joshua Vincent, Executive Director
LeiLani Dowell, Associate Director
Wesley Morris, Associate Director
Jess Jude, Associate Director