On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of reproductive health protections when it overturned Roe v. Wade. With no legal right to abortion guaranteed nationwide, it will now be up to each state to determine women and pregnant people’s rights to healthcare, including abortion.
NYSNA members have always been proud to defend women’s rights and advocate for health equity and universal access to healthcare. As nurses and healthcare professionals in New York State, we have an important role to play in guaranteeing and expanding reproductive healthcare for all New Yorkers and for patients from other states who seek our care. In recent years, as states around the country began restricting women’s access to abortion services, New York’s healthcare professionals responded with compassionate, quality care. We expect that this ruling will increase the demand on New York’s public and private sector healthcare facilities, and NYSNA commits to working with our state’s elected leaders to strengthen our healthcare system to provide women and pregnant people with the quality care they deserve.
Healthcare is a human right, and abortion is healthcare. The right to bodily autonomy is a key principle that we learn from our earliest days in nursing school and that guides our work to provide dignified care to every patient. We are deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to uphold our human rights, and we believe their decision today will cause harm to thousands of pregnant people, children, and families throughout the country. The U.S. already has one of the highest maternal mortality and infant mortality rates of any high-income nation, and our maternal mortality rates are rising. Mortality rates are alarmingly high for Black mothers and babies, and we fear the court’s ruling will further increase healthcare disparities and deepen this public health crisis.
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN, said: “This legal decision will deeply impact marginalized communities, especially women and people of color. No one should be forced into labor or into making dangerous choices. As a union predominantly of women, we understand how important it is to make your own reproductive choices. Economic, social, and reproductive justice are inextricably linked, and we must all do our part to fight for these rights.”
Overturning Roe v. Wade is deeply troubling—and we must work so it is only a temporary set-back in our progress as a people. That’s why we are more committed than ever to fight to uphold women’s rights and reproductive freedom here in New York State, while continuing to work together for a future where women and pregnant people’s rights and quality healthcare for all is guaranteed — everywhere.