We know that today’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v Wade won’t put an end to the contentious and polarizing public debate in our community over reproductive rights and abortion access. This decision creates many uncertainties about the future of women’s rights, human rights, and our ability to find common ground.
At the same time, there are many things we do know about this change and the reality of the impact it has on survivors of intimate partner violence:
- Approximately 324,000 pregnant women are abused each year in the United States.
- Homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women in the United States.
- 25% of women who are being physically or sexually abused by their partners also report being pressured or forced to become pregnant.
In the past five years, nearly 100 women accessed SPAN’s services while they were pregnant. Some of those women gave birth, left the hospital, and entered SPAN’s Emergency Shelter, fleeing violent abuse. All these women faced increased risk and greater barriers to safety and stability, as did their children.
We also know that abortion restrictions are part of the historic systems of oppression that deny Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color access to healthcare and other human rights. Reproductive justice, a framework created by Black women, is a necessary component of gender equality and racial justice that can only be achieved when all people have the social, political, and economic power to make decisions about their own health, bodies, and sexuality.
We may not know what will happen now that Roe v Wade has been overturned, but we do know that safe, equitable access to reproductive health care and family planning services are critical to the safety and stability of survivors.
The debate will continue. Change will continue. And one thing we know for certain, SPAN is here.