Plan International USA is extremely dismayed by today’s official Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. By revoking nearly 50 years of the court’s own precedents, the ruling endangers the sexual and reproductive health rights of millions of American women and adolescent girls. As Plan has fought for these rights for women and girls around the world, we are deeply concerned that so many in the U.S. will lose these fundamental rights, especially in the 13 states with abortion bans that will now take effect.
While Plan does not administer or fund any abortion services, our experience working for the rights of girls and other young people globally shows that comprehensive sexuality education and access to quality contraception and other health services, including abortion, can significantly improve girls’ and women’s lives. Lack of access to those services has broad implications that go beyond health, and is likely to impact girls’ and young women’s educational opportunities and career prospects. In addition, unintended pregnancies can result from violations of girls’ and women’s fundamental rights, including gender-based violence. Furthermore, a major Stanford University study on the impact of U.S. policies that reduced access to abortion globally found that the number of abortions actually increases when SRHR are not protected.
Women and adolescent girls in the U.S. and around the world should be able to make these important decisions about their own reproductive health. The power to make these deeply personal medical choices should not depend on governors and state legislatures, but should be in the hands of patients and the people they trust.
A nationally representative poll of the U.S., conducted by Hart Research in 2021, found that 61% of American voters would support passage of a national law to protect access to abortion services by creating a nationwide safeguard against bans and medically unnecessary restrictions. Plan supports the Women’s Health Protection Act because it would enshrine those protections, which have been guaranteed nationwide since 1973 by the Roe v. Wade decision. The U.S. House has already approved this critical bill, and the Senate has already unsuccessfully voted on it twice. Plan looks forward to working with the administration, Congress, coalition partners and individual supporters to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, as well as other measures that uphold women’s and girls’ rights to SRHR, including abortion services.