For Immediate Release: 5/10/2022
Contact: Jess Davidson, email@example.com
Washington, D.C. – Last week, a draft majority decision from the United States Supreme Court regarding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked. The draft decision indicates the Supreme Court’s willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Bodily autonomy is a core principle of the disability rights movement. Disabled people have fought hard to win respect for our capacities, the right to make our own choices, and the support and access necessary to participate fully in American life. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) opposes efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, and any other legislative and judicial restrictions on abortion rights.
Restricting access to abortion harms disabled people and undermines the ideal of full participation enumerated in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Full participation in society is contingent upon the freedom to make one’s own decisions and access to all forms of health care, including reproductive health care. People with disabilities, like all Americans, deserve unrestricted access to a comprehensive range of reproductive health care options, ranging from birth control and abortion to prenatal care and delivery. As we make this statement, we acknowledge that abortion politics have long presented complications unique to the disability community. Selective abortion is deeply rooted in societal ableism and eugenics. AAPD works to rid our nation of such ableism every day, and the complexities of our work teach us that restricting access to abortion is not the answer.
Making abortion harder to access compounds many issues disabled people face. Research shows that people with disabilities face a greater risk of pregnancy-related complications and maternal mortality. People with disabilities are also at higher risk for sexual and domestic violence. The criminalization of abortion, especially considering the overcriminalization of people with disabilities, poses grave risks to the well-being of disabled people, especially disabled people of color, disabled LGBTQ people, and people with psychiatric, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. Restricting abortion access on a state-by-state basis will have dire consequences for disabled people because of the lack of available accessible transportation options. Current state policies that criminalize anyone who assists in facilitating abortion mean that sign language interpreters, personal care assistants, or others may be charged with crimes for simply providing accommodations. Such laws will multiply if Roe is overturned.
We affirm that all disabled people deserve the opportunity to make the reproductive choices that are best for them, without interception by the state. Policies that restrict access to abortion will drastically exacerbate threats to the autonomy, health, and overall well-being of disabled people. We call on the Senate to join the House in codifying Roe v. Wade and passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.