In a 6-to-3 decision on June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
SCOTUS’ ruling reverses 50 years of legal precedent and gives individual states the power to set their own abortion laws. Within 30 days Texas will ban all abortions, with narrow exceptions only to save the life of a pregnant patient.
Activists from the state and across the nation are weighing in on how this landmark decision that eliminated the constitutional right to abortion will impact LGBTQ rights.
Lambda Legal, the nation’s largest LGBTQ legal-rights organization, condemned the SCOTUS decision. “The damage wrought by today’s ruling is incalculable. As we warned when a draft was leaked in May, people will die as a result of this ruling,” said Jennifer Pizer, Lambda’s acting chief legal officer. “More than half the states are already poised to ban or at least severely restrict abortion access, forcing patients to travel hundreds of miles out of state or to continue pregnancies against their will.”
Abortion bans impact not only cisgender heterosexual women, but LGBTQ people too, “whether they are seeking abortion or not,” added Lambda’s Kristine Kippins. “Allowing governments to deprive people of their dignity, autonomy over their own bodies, and the ability to make fundamental decisions that determine the course of their lives because of “deeply rooted” gender stereotypes under the guise of respecting “history and tradition” will lead to the further marginalization of LGBTQI+ people by statehouses across the country and the entrenchment of white cisgender male supremacy.”
Former Houston mayor Anise Parker, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, which works to further pro-equality efforts by putting openly LGBTQ politicians in office, said SCOTUS’ decision may also have cascading effects on legal cases affecting the LGBTQ community.
SCOTUS’ conservative majority voted to overturn Roe, and in a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas urged the court to “reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due-process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” Lawrence struck down state bans on same-sex sexual relations, Obergefell removed state bans on same-sex marriage, and Griswold removed bans on contraceptives.
“Our nation must confront the devastating reality that we can no longer rely on the court to protect our most basic rights,” Parker said. “Lawmakers must now determine what freedoms we have—and which we don’t—for the foreseeable future. We call on policymakers in all branches and at all levels of government to use every tool available to fight to keep abortion legal and accessible.”
The National LGBTQ Task Force said SCOTUS “has no place interfering with our constitutional right to make decisions about our own bodies.”
“This decision alarms anyone who cares about individual rights. We must push back now—on all state and federal lawmakers and courts—to fight for abortion access and reproductive choice, the right for transgender people to access life-saving health care, the right to bodily autonomy, and the right to sexual freedom. These are our most basic liberties—to live a life of dignity, private from government interference.”
Our rights are on the line right now, said Joni Madison, interim president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Women are under attack, LGBTQ+ people are under attack, BIPOC people are under attack, and we are justifiably outraged. We cannot relent—we must fight back.”
The Texas Freedom Network (TFN), a grassroots organization that fights for equality and social justice, urged voters to show up in November.
“Abortion is health care, and it should be a protected, accessible right for everyone,” TFN president Val Benavidez said in a statement. “While today we mourn this loss and the Court’s failure, we must transform our grief into action by caring for our communities, taking our rage to the ballot box, and continuing to fight in the courts, in Congress, and at the state legislature for changes that protect our right to abortion once and for all.”