The Supreme Court’s Calamitous Decision
No one is greatly surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision to trample on reproductive health and rights, showing disdain for precedent and contempt for public opinion, and putting the U.S. at odds with all other nations that care about public health and social justice. The leaked draft of Justice Alito’s opinion signaled that this day was coming, but it was impossible to prepare for the sheer awfulness of this decision and its ramifications.
As President Joe Biden said, this “tragic mistake” has set America back 150 years. In practice, the repeal of Roe v. Wade will have immediate and wide-ranging consequences for American women, children and families, particularly in those states that have been competing for years to enact the most draconian reproductive health policies. But abortion has never existed in isolation. Clinics that provide abortion services typically provide a range of reproductive healthcare and preventive services, as well as HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The Supreme Court’s decision will do wholesale damage to the provision of healthcare in America and will inevitably lead to rising rates of infectious disease and poorer health outcomes for women. And as always, the consequences will be borne disproportionately by communities of color, women and children, migrant families, and the millions who struggle to make ends meet.
In addition, this ruling sets us further back in ending the HIV epidemic by creating fragmented reproductive and sexual health services across the nation between states that maintain a person’s right to choose and states that do not. It also sets the stage for a possible increase in HIV infections among women as these same states that deny abortion services are unlikely to have expanded Medicaid or to offer adequate healthcare benefits to their respective residents.
Along with all of our allies and partners in the public health, reproductive rights and social justice arena, amfAR condemns this decision in the strongest possible terms. While we fight for research dollars and evidence-based public health policies, our fight against HIV has always been a struggle for human rights and social justice. We hope you will join us in our efforts to undo this historic injustice.