Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Overturning Roe v. Wade Will Roll Back the Human Rights of Many in the Deep South

Photo of person painted in pride colors, with caption: Overturning Row v Wade will roll back the human rights of many in the deep south.
Photo: Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash | Columbia County Observer graphic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Mississippi’s ban on all abortions after 15 weeks, overturning the Court’s own 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.         

The Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization will allow states to enforce more restrictions on access to abortion services, essentially eliminating the right to choose for countless people across the country, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life or health of the person.            

There have been significant moments in the Supreme Court’s history when it has issued shameful decisions that deny equal protection under the law to an entire group of people, and yesterday was one of those days.

The Court's decision in Dobbs will have serious, long-term consequences for women and others. The constitutional rights in jeopardy include the right to contraception and equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. This terrible ruling also endangers other fundamental rights, putting many other communities at risk.   

Several states in the Deep South are now poised to enact repressive bans on reproductive freedom that will criminalize women and other people seeking reproductive care and target medical professionals servicing them. The decision is particularly harmful for those living in poverty because they lack the resources to travel to a state where abortion is legal or pay for necessary medical procedures.  

Mississippi, where the Dobbs case originated, has the highest child poverty rate among all the states and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country.

The failure of Mississippi legislators to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage for new mothers is reprehensible, while Mississippi legislators have sought to restrict abortion access. The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is the culmination of a powerful, concerted movement to ensure that politicians control women’s bodies.    

The court's decision flies in the face of the global progress to expand human rights protections for all people.

While other countries have embraced the opportunity to expand human rights protections, the United States is a growing outlier with its efforts to deny basic human rights to more than half of the country’s population.

Congress must pass legislation to restore the human right that Roe recognized almost 50 years ago.

Margaret Huang is the president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center and its lobbying arm, the SPLC Action Fund. Ms. Huang is a Tennessee native.

SPLC Action Fund is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people.

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