The undersigned disability organizations are outraged and gravely concerned by today’s Supreme Court decision. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision issued today will have devastating consequences. This decision overturns Roe and Casey and eliminates any federal right to abortion. In doing so, it puts many disabled people, particularly Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, immigrants, survivors of sexual assault, poor people, and our allies at risk for forced childbirth, death, criminalization, and other physical, emotional, and material harms.
People with disabilities have the fundamental right to make decisions about our lives and bodies. For women and other persons with disabilities who can become pregnant, this includes the right to decide whether or not to continue a pregnancy. People with disabilities are more likely to experience sexual assault, and people with some disabilities face increased and serious health risks from pregnancy. Disabled people need and deserve access to affirming and accessible reproductive health care services, including abortion.
Today’s Supreme Court decision also has far reaching consequences beyond abortion. This decision and its consequences should concern everyone invested in the constitutional rights to work, marry, have and raise children, and make personal decisions without governmental interference. It limits the zone of privacy as the decision drastically narrows the scope of rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. At the core of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision is a disagreement with a series of landmark Supreme Court decisions, including those following Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965).
The decision upends a core value at the heart of American life and law: that we each enjoy the individual liberty to make certain personal decisions without government interference. The very lives of disabled people depend upon the ability to make personal decisions without interference – including decisions about our bodies and medical care. Decimating any aspect of this freedom is cruel, and undermines any claim by those who made this decision that they value privacy and liberty.
This decision also severely weakens stare decisis. With the weakening of stare decisis, the Supreme Court could decide to overrule existing legal precedent at any time, obliterating rulings that have been considered settled for generations. These drastic upheavals are severely detrimental to people who depend on the courts to enforce their civil rights, including disabled people and other historically marginalized groups.
Today’s case has far-reaching consequences. The majority’s opinion puts bodily autonomy and individual liberty in decision-making at risk and may have consequences that affect personal rights surrounding marriage, family planning, intimacy, sterilization, medical care, housing, speech, and more. This ruling is at odds with the Court’s previous decisions about personal autonomy and privacy over the last several decades. We cannot wait for a future Supreme Court to reverse this devastating decision. Congress must act to protect these important rights.
To protect our communities, we stand united in our opposition to this opinion and its unjust result. Our rights – and the rights of countless Americans – depend on it.
American Association of People with Disabilities
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Be A Hero
Center for American Progress
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund Little Lobbyists
Women Enabled International