On June 29th, the Supreme Court issued their decision in a case (June Medical Services v. Russo) challenging a set of restrictions in Louisiana that not only interfered with access to abortion but if enforced would have closed down most of the clinics in the state. We know that people living on low-incomes, people of color, young people, LGBTQ+ persons, immigrant communities, and rural communities already face the greatest obstacles in accessing abortion. This law would have made it so much worse.
This decision matters to people in Louisiana, but it also matters right here at home. Too often we see these kinds of policies pushed with no regard for who will be hurt and no attention to the challenges people face and are further pushed to the margins.
The proponents of these kinds of laws try to demonize people seeking an abortion, but are never with us when we try to increase support for families who cannot afford health services or increase access to programs that help parents care for their families. They aren’t there to expand access to prenatal care to address maternal mortality among Black women or ensure a living wage and forward-thinking family workplace policies so we can raise our children with dignity. They are not there when immigrant families are torn apart or Black families are forced to live in fear due to state-sanctioned violence.
We are grateful that the Court affirmed that these restrictions are placing an undue burden and should not stand, but there is still work to do. Even with this SCOTUS decision, we haven’t resolved the obstacles that limit abortion access.
What are the thousands of people with an unintended pregnancy who either cannot afford to add to their family or who are not ready to be parents supposed to do when suddenly the closest clinic is hundreds of miles away? That is what was at stake in this case – the very real and dramatic impact that comes when abortion access is taken away.
We are grateful that the Court affirmed that these restrictions are placing an undue burden and should not stand, but there is still work to do. Even with this SCOTUS decision, we haven’t resolved the obstacles that limit abortion access. We still need to address our state’s ban on health coverage for abortion for people who use Medicaid. This is an attack on the rights and decisions of low-income people in our state. We still need to get rid of the barrier to care faced by young people who are told they can’t make their own decisions. And we absolutely must show up and vote down the proposed ban on abortion later in pregnancy that will come before Colorado voters this fall.
We have to keep speaking out and showing up to build power beyond the courts. We need to build power in our communities to not only affirm the right to abortion and ensure access through policy change, but also to advance culture change and true transformation. It is not enough to halt yet another attack on our rights. We believe in more and we demand more for ourselves and our families. We demand Reproductive Justice.
Dusti Gurule is the Executive Director of Colorado Organization Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR).
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