May 10, 2022
An Injustice by the Justices
If the recently-leaked Supreme Court draft opinion regarding Roe v. Wade becomes final without modification, the constitutional right to abortion access will be denied. States will then have unrestricted ability to wholly or partially deny abortion access.
From a nursing perspective, overturning Roe v. Wade is a worst-case outcome. It will undo decades of progress in our advocacy for greater reproductive rights and more equity in access to those rights. It will simply add another social determinant of health that adversely affects women on both a short- and long-term basis. It will disenfranchise half the population from having complete autonomy over their bodies and the medical decisions they choose to make for themselves.
The harm from this decision will be immense and irreparable. Women will once again die or suffer permanent injury because they attempt to abort themselves at home using internet advice or when they seek assistance from an unlicensed person.
At a time when nurses are advocating for greater healthcare equity, this is a decision that imposes inequity. For those with adequate financial means, there are always options for access to safe abortion, as there always have been. But for the poor in many states, there will now be no options.
The need for abortion will not change. The rate of unintentional pregnancies will not change. Only the consequences for women, particularly those in underserved communities, will change.
In turning a private medical decision into a political one, the Supreme Court is putting millions of women at unnecessary risk.