24 Jun HCF Statement on the Overturning of Roe v. Wade
Today is a sobering moment in our nation’s history, given the Supreme Court of the United States’ final ruling on a case that has now overturned Roe v. Wade, which since 1973 granted access to safe and legal abortion as a constitutional right. This moment reminds us of how fragile basic human rights are to leading a healthy and full life.
As we navigate a new reality that lies ahead, we must balance the known with the unknown, and, most importantly, we must not lose hope for a more just and equitable world where everyone has the opportunity to access what they need to thrive.
As we hold on to that hope, we must not ignore what is forthcoming. Today’s ruling foreshadows a grim reality—it will disproportionately impact BILPOC (Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color), young people, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ and those experiencing poverty. The disastrous effects of the ongoing COVID pandemic have shown us how health inequities worsened for these communities because of the deep cracks that have long existed across our systems. It is difficult not to anticipate how this ruling will exacerbate the challenges these groups already face.
While women and gender–diverse people in Illinois will retain their reproductive freedom at this time, it is crucial to recognize the ripple effects we will ultimately feel from our neighboring states where this right will not exist. With more residents from surrounding states seeking care in Illinois, we will see a further strain on our healthcare systems and longer wait lists, which will inequitably delay and reduce access to reproductive healthcare for those with the highest barriers. We also cannot dismiss how this ruling will put at risk other rights constitutionally protected, like the right to contraceptives, voting and same-sex marriage.
Our service region covers city and suburban areas, and as a health conversion foundation, this gives us a unique lens to learn from our partners what thriving communities look like at the hyperlocal level, now and in the future. Approximately 900,000 residents reside in our region, and 70% of them live in zip codes with the greatest health inequities and barriers exacerbated by the pandemic. Therefore, for us, ensuring women and gender-diverse people have access to quality reproductive care is imperative for our region’s residents to have the opportunity and ability to make the best decisions for how they want to lead their lives.
We firmly support the important work of several of our grantee partners who have long played a key role in affecting reproductive health policy change at the systems level and continue to provide accessible reproductive health services and support. Their work is critical in this moment but will become essential as we navigate what is to come.
Reproductive rights are essential for achieving health equity and racial equity. Now, with greater fortitude and strengthened resolve, we must continue working towards health justice where basic human rights are recognized and everyone can have healthy and thriving lives, regardless of who they are or where they live.
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