Physicians and pro-choice activists have decried the dropping of Roe v. Wade, calling it an “unreasonable attack” that would leave Supreme Court justices “stained with blood” and cause a worldwide chilling effect on women’s rights.
In a statement signed by more than 100 global healthcare organisations, including the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), medics said the US Supreme Court’s move was a “disastrous blow” to millions. “It’s a decision that will cost lives for years to come,” the statement, also signed by the RCOG’s College of Sexual and Reproductive Health, warned.
Dr. Edward Morris, President of the RCOG, said: “This decision is an unreasonable attack on the health and rights of women and girls in the United States…It is appalling to think that the future of so many women and girls has been determined by policy rather than evidence-based opinion.”
Dr Rani Thakkar, President-elect of the RCOG, urged governments to support health care workers to provide women with safe abortion, rather than imposing greater legal restrictions.
“The horrific impact of the ruling will undoubtedly be felt around the world,” she said. “We call on governments to create and protect legal and regulatory environments that support healthcare professionals to provide access to safe and affordable abortion care.”
Since it became clear in May that the Supreme Court was preparing to overturn the 1973 legislation that effectively legalized abortion, pro-choice activists and medics have warned that the ripple effect would be felt internationally—particularly in countries where abortion rights are fragile. .
Concern is now growing that the decision could embolden the anti-choice movement, increase pressure on health care workers performing abortions, and threaten hard-earned gains in countries where stigma around termination remains rampant.
Activists said they are particularly concerned about the impact in Central America, a region with a number of blanket abortion bans, and sub-Saharan Africa. But the message sent by the court’s opinion – that legalizing abortion was a “fatal mistake from the start” – can find echoes almost everywhere, not least in the European anomalies of Poland and Malta.
“The implications of this calculated decision will also reverberate around the world, encourage other anti-abortion, anti-women and sexist movements, and affect other reproductive freedoms,” said Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
“Judges who have put their personal beliefs before American will and law will soon stain their hands, and we are heartbroken for the millions of people who will suffer this harsh sentence.”
Panchimalak Desalegn, MSI’s Africa director, said the decision could undermine the efforts of the pro-choice movement in countries across the continent. She said, “I am very proud of the steps the government in Ethiopia has taken to expand access to abortion over the past two decades; work that has saved countless lives and empowered women to take control of their own futures.
“Here and across Africa, groups linked to the United States have been trying for years to roll back this progress, with well-funded disinformation campaigns and by pressuring governments to restrict access. But we pledge to protect choice. We will not return.”
In a statement that did not directly refer to the Supreme Court’s decision, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, said it generally feared that if women faced greater barriers to obtaining terminations, more unsafe abortions would occur, particularly in low and middle areas. middle income countries.
Almost all unsafe abortions currently occur in developing countries, and the United Nations Population Fund fears that more unsafe abortions will occur worldwide if access to abortion becomes more restricted. The report said decisions that reflect progress have a broader impact on the rights and choices of women and adolescents everywhere.
History has already shown that decisions made in Washington, D.C. — such as imposing a global gag rule — “can have an impact far beyond [US] the border “.
“But while this vote may encourage the anti-choice movement around the world, it has also stimulated the global community to reassert choice,” Shaw added.
“To anyone who wants to deny someone the right to make decisions about what is right for their body and their future, our message is…we will never stop working toward a world where everyone, everywhere has the right to choose, and this attack only strengthens our resolve.”
Echoing the spirit of challenge, Sarah Pantoliano, CEO of the ODI think tank on Global Affairs, wrote on Twitter: “Make no mistake, this ruling is dangerous for everyone, everywhere. symbiosis with those in we Who will face unimaginable decisions after this judgment, as they seek to protect them physical independence.
Let this be the fire to ignite our collective resolve to prevent further decline. We must strive to ensure that this trend does not gain any further momentum. We must draw a line by dealing with actions, not words.”
The decision sparked outrage among many politicians in Britain, with Diana Johnson, Labor MP and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health, urging Boris Johnson’s government to “stand up for women in the United States and condemn this decision”.
Stella Creasy, Labor MP for Walthamstow chirp: “To every one of our American sisters, we are with you. We will not rest until you get your rights back because your fight is our fight. They will not stop trying to control women and we will not stop fighting for their freedom everywhere. None of us should live under his eyes.”