A victory for women, and for democracy
To the editor:
June 27 was a momentous day for the reproductive justice movement. The decision in Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt reflects a victory of and for those fighting for safe abortion access.
In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court struck down the Fifth Circuit's ruling upholding Texas law HB2 that effectively lowered the number of abortion providers from 40 to seven. The closures left millions of women without access to abortion care within a reasonable geographic distance, leading to an increase in dangerous, self-induced abortions, and signaled to other state legislatures that they could also effectively undermine the right to abortion by creating burdensome regulations on providers.
With this decision, the court makes clear that one cannot have a right without freedom to exercise it. The Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts, which helps women access safe abortion care, knows how important this ruling was for the health and well-being of our communities.
We also know that having an open clinic does not mean that all women will have access to use it. Our organization continues to provide financial assistance to women in Western Massachusetts and beyond, as the struggle for access will not improve until there is safe and affordable medical care for all who seek it.
Silence and shame perpetuate the attacks on women, providers, and advocates of legal reproductive health care. We must be vocal advocates because a woman's right to choose is far from settled law. Proponents of choice must actively keep explaining why this democracy will be better when all members of society are treated with dignity, and can enjoy the full rights and protections of our system of laws.
Mary Russo, Robin Dizard, Jamie Rowen, Amherst The writers represent the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts.