(New York, NY, Friday, June 24, 2022) – The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”) staunchly supports every woman’s fundamental right to choose and make her own reproductive health decisions. WBASNY expresses grave concern over the United States Supreme Court’s vote to overturn the long-standing precedent of Roe v. Wade. WBASNY joined Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in support of respondent, Jackson Women’s Health Organization. WBASNY is steadfastly committed to fighting for and preserving women’s rights, including the essential right of women to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions. The Dobbs decision marks a seismic shift in our country with respect to gender equality, reproductive rights and constitutional rights. It also restricts women and girls’ constitutional rights and shines a spotlight on the lack of gender equity in our country and in our state.
Roe v. Wade and its progeny, including Casey v. Planned Parenthood have guaranteed women the fundamental constitutional right to an abortion in this country for almost fifty years. The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs will deprive women of their fundamental constitutional right to make their own reproductive health care choices in much of the Country and will destroy nearly fifty years of constitutional jurisprudence. This is a dangerous attack on women, and in particular, poor and disadvantaged women. The United States has a higher maternal mortality rate than any other industrialized nation. 1 Women must have the right to make appropriate medical decisions for themselves about their bodies.
New York State enacted the Reproductive Health Care Act in 2019, which codified the protections of Roe v. Wade into New York State law and ensured access to safe, legal abortion in New York State, irrespective of changes to Federal law. Additionally, in response to and in consideration of the leaked draft opinion in Dobbs, on June 13, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law an additional six (6) laws to further protect patients, medical providers, and the right to reproductive health care in New York. These new laws assure that New York not only guarantees the rights of its own citizens, but also offers to assist those from other states to obtain safe, legal, accessible, and affordable reproductive medical care.
Nonetheless, our entire country should be concerned about the Dobbs decision because the decision issued by the Supreme Court reversing Roe v. Wade results in women losing a Federal constitutional right to make their own health care decisions. This departure will lead to unsafe abortions, an inability to obtain necessary medical care, self-harm, physical and mental health injuries, and maternal deaths. Additionally, discussions are currently taking place in Congress to abolish the right of women to obtain an abortion on a Federal level, which would make New York’s law codifying Roe v. Wade futile, and mean that only the wealthiest women could obtain an abortion by going to another country.
While WBASNY continues to celebrate the New York State legislature and Governor for providing women and families in New York State with the essential right to make their own reproductive health care decisions, WBASNY also recognizes that, nationwide, women are still second-class citizens under the law. WBASNY persists as a strong supporter of a woman’s fundamental right to make her own reproductive health decisions and vehemently opposes the United States Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade.
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The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) is the professional membership organization of choice for more than 3,500 attorneys throughout New York State, and the largest statewide women’s bar association in the country. For four decades, WBASNY has been a singularly important resource for women lawyers, with professional networking, continuing legal education programming, leadership training, and advocacy for the rights of women, children, and families. Through involvement with WBASNY’s 20 regional chapters and its 40-plus substantive law committees, WBASNY’s members collaborate with one another on a variety of issues and perform public and community service, in furtherance of its mission to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and women in the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to women generally and women attorneys in particular. WBASNY holds United Nations NGO status with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, and Special Consultative status in association with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WBASNY is also a founding member of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.