Following today’s Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case to overturn Roe v Wade, Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, Co-Founders of Black Voters Matter and April England-Albright, Legal Director of Black Voters Matter, issued the following statement:
In today’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, a dangerous precedent has been set that takes away a fundamental right for the first time in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS). The control of our bodies, and Black bodies in particular, has always been a controversial and public matter. However, the majority of Americans believe in an individual’s right to choose. Why is the highest court in the land working against its own precedent and the will of the people?
Nearly 50 years have gone by since the passage of Roe, which gave childbearing people the fundamental right to choose whether to have abortions without excessive government restrictions. But SCOTUS has decided to roll back its protection of the people, by dismissing this hard fought and won decision from our own court system and included a process for debate.
Charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law, the Court is expected to function as the guardian and interpreter of the Constitution – and it has failed. In a time that should see the evolution and expansion of human rights and equal protection under the law, the Court is increasingly politicized. Indeed, the Court has become a weaponized tool of the conservative right that is no longer operating in the best interests of the majority.
And we are clear that this weaponized Court will not stop with reproductive rights. As hinted in Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring decision, it will move towards dismantling other unenumerated protected rights such as access to contraception, marriage and LGBTQIA matters. Further, based on the logic used by SCOTUS in this case, we believe that precedent which ended segregation (Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education) is also on the chopping block.
With the end of Roe, and greater control in the hands of states, southern states in particular are likely to see an increase in abortion bans that will put the health of millions, and Black women in particular, at even higher risk. Just look at Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy’s dismissive comments from earlier this year about the maternal mortality rate of Black women and his blatant lack of respect for the health and well-being of Black bodies.
Our lives are at stake. Black lives are at stake and we are not going to let a Court that still doesn’t have a Black woman representative decide what rights we do and do not have. We know the fullness of our humanity must be protected and respected – at all times. While this decision is shameful, demeaning and dangerously violent, if we are forced to organize to expand or change the Court to protect the lives of childbearing people, then that is what we will do.
Furthermore, we call on policymakers at all levels of government and the Biden White House, elected in large part by the votes of Black voters, to respond with executive actions to curtail the impact of this decision on childbearing people. America must better protect human rights and the lives, bodies and choices of all. We will not go back to a time where ‘States Rights’ were the law of the land. We at Black Voters Matter, along with our allies fighting for justice, will continue to build an inclusive democracy where fundamental rights are protected and resources and power are shared by all people.
Black Voters Matter, a 501c4, and Capacity Building Institute, a 501c3, are dedicated to expanding Black voter engagement and increasing progressive power through movement-building and engagement. Working with grassroots organizations, specifically in key states in the South, BVM seeks to increase voter registration and turnout, advocate for policies to expand voting rights/access, and help develop infrastructure where little or none exists to support a power-building movement that keeps Black voters and their issues at the forefront of our election process. For more information, please visit https://www.blackvotersmatterfund.org/.