In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that revoked the constitutional right to abortion, Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, authored an op-ed for the Washington Post, titled “Biden must declare a public health emergency for abortion—immediately.”
In the op-ed, Northup states that national protections are urgently needed to ensure that people can access abortion services in states rushing to ban abortion following the Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Less than a week after the decision, abortion is already illegal in five states. In total, 25 states are expected to ban abortion in the days and weeks to come.
According to Northup, a public health emergency declaration would allow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help patients obtain abortion care, as well as enable out-of-state prescribing and dispensing of medication abortion in states banning abortion.
Northup notes that, “the declaration would be based on the well-documented adverse health consequences of restricted access to abortion care, which include complications and maternal death associated with pregnancy, childbirth and unsafe abortion methods.”
Northup also points out that the declaration is crucial for people who face health, racial, and economic inequality—particularly Black women who are three times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than White women.
She adds that “the administration must take the first step toward restoring national protections: declare a public health emergency now and ensure that medication abortion is available across the nation.”
About the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision Taking Away the Constitutional Right to Abortion
On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for states to ban abortion when it announced its decision to abandon almost 50 years of precedent and take away the constitutional right to abortion. The ruling came in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case challenging a Mississippi abortion ban brought by the Center and partners.