NARN Statement on the Supreme Court Draft Opinion Overturning Roe v. Wade
On Monday night, Politico released a leaked draft opinion authored by Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito that totally overturns Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. As you know, Roe legalized access to abortion for all womxn in 1973. In 1992, Casey upheld the earlier decision. While Justice Alito’s draft is not the final opinion and is not legally binding case law as of yet, if this draft is formally issued two months from now, Roe and Casey will immediately be overturned. With these cases overturned, about half of the states in the United States of America will implement abortion bans.
At first glance, abortion access may not seem like an issue that an animal rights organization would grapple with. However, NARN’s mission is to fight for the rights of all sentient beings, including womxn, members of the global majority, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people with disabilities. NARN is calling for action to protect a womxn’s right to choose what happens to her/his/their body. The intersectionality of rights remains a steadfast conviction of NARN leadership, and we take any violation of rights—whether of humans or nonhuman animals—seriously.
There are obvious parallels to the right to bodily autonomy, consent, and liberty between a womxn’s body and an animal’s body. Forced pregnancies in womxn may be likened to forced pregnancies in the dairy industry, for example. However, in this urgent moment, it’s important not to muddy the waters with debates on how similar or different, more severe or less severe, different kinds of infringement on sentient bodies may be. NARN stands with a womxn’s right to choose regardless of what comparisons may be made between humans and nonhuman animals. A right is a right, and we have made it our mission to defend a sentient individual’s rights. Therefore, NARN strongly and wholeheartedly condemns this draft, as well as the likely ruling that is to follow. We stand with womxn everywhere.
NARN also acknowledges the trauma that forced abortions, sterilizations, and eugenics have placed on communities made up of members of the global majority. NARN’s support of safe abortion access does not negate further action that must be taken to repair such heinous forms of trauma inflicted upon these communities. NARN also acknowledges and stands with members of the global majority who are more likely negatively affected by abortion bans than members of white communities. Abortion is not just a womxn’s issue—it is a civil rights issue. Abortion bans do not stop abortions; such bans merely dictate who has access to safe abortion. Privileged people, a majority of them white and financially stable, will still be able to access abortion care. They are more likely able to take time off work, pay for childcare, and fund travel to states that provide abortion access than people who are stuck in the cycle of poverty, or who suffer from past and present racist policies or from inadequate access to healthcare, including contraception. Systemic racism is as present in the reproductive healthcare industry as it is in the animal agriculture industry. NARN will not tolerate such forms of racism, in any form or in any industry.
NARN also stands with people who identify as women, people with a uterus, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community who will suffer further trauma because of systemic injustices brought upon them by a deeply harmful patriarchal system. We stand with womxn who will suffer because limited and illegal abortion access means that they must carry to term a pregnancy that resulted from sexual assault and/or abuse. We stand with our transgender community members who will be unable to access gender-affirming care, and who will suffer unwanted and dangerous pregnancies. NARN rejects patriarchy in all its forms, whether it harms humans or nonhuman animals. NARN resoundingly rejects one of the main tenets of a patriarchal system: controlling access to reproductive healthcare and limiting freedom of reproductive choice for womxn and members of the LGBTQIA+ communities.
NARN would also like to alert its followers to the legal precedent that this opinion sets. Roe v. Wade was largely passed on the Constitutional basis of the right to privacy. The erasure of this right to privacy paves the way for the elimination of the right for same-sex couples to marry, the right to choose sexual partners, the right for interracial couples to marry, and ready access to contraception, among other vital freedoms. NARN acknowledges the writing on the wall with this ruling, and we pledge to continue the fight to uphold the rights of all sentient beings, especially those uniquely positioned to be stripped of their rights in the near future as a result of this ruling.
Finally, NARN would like to acknowledge and thank the brave individual(s) that leaked this draft. While the overturning of Roe and Casey was anticipated, the knowledge of just how severe the opinion may be two months before it goes into effect gives advocates time to organize, protest, and fight back. While we wait for developments to unfold in the coming months, NARN encourages people to speak out against the elimination of a womxn’s right to choose. In Washington State, a Tuesday night pro-choice protest and march at Westlake Plaza in Seattle saw approximately 1,000 people in attendance. Another protest, Rise up 4 Abortion Rights, is scheduled for May 14th. Additionally, protests will continue to happen outside the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. There are also legislative actions that may be taken. A bill that would codify legal and safe abortion access into federal law will soon be voted on by the Senate. The vote is expected to take place as soon as next week. Justice Alito has called for “the abortion issue” to be dealt with by elected representatives; let’s act to ensure that a reality without safe and legal abortion access is never again felt by our communities. Please contact your Senators and urge them to vote to protect a womxn’s right to choose and ready access to safe healthcare. Finally, the power of the people must be felt during midterm elections in November. NARN urges all members to speak through the ballot; exercising your right to vote is as important now as it has ever been.
The Northwest Animal Rights Network Board of Directors