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USA: Abortion ruling is a 'grim milestone' in country's history

A pro-choice demonstration outside the US Supreme Court in January © AFP via Getty Images

Warning that birth control, marriage equality and other gender rights could now be threatened

‘This is the outcome of a decades-long campaign to control people’s bodies’ - Tarah Demant

‘The overturning of Roe v Wade is a devastating blow to women’s rights’ - Grainne Teggart

Responding to today’s US Supreme Court decision to overturn the court’s landmark Roe v Wade legal ruling from 1973 which afforded wide protections to women in the country to access abortion services, Tarah Demant, Interim National Director for Programs, Advocacy and Government Affairs, said:

“Today’s overturning of Roe v Wade marks a grim milestone in the history of the United States.

“Millions of people now face a future where they will not be able to make deeply personal choices that affect their bodies, their future and the wellbeing of their families.

“This ruling affects each and every person in the United States, regardless of their ability to become pregnant. You know someone who has had an abortion. We all do, as approximately one in four women in the United States will seek an abortion in their lifetime.

“People will be forced to give birth. They’ll be forced to seek unsafe abortions. This is the outcome of a decades-long campaign to control people’s bodies.

“The ruling paves the way for unprecedented state legislation to criminalise abortion, as well as other bills that will aim to strip human rights from people in the United States - including the potential for bills that will affect access to birth control, gender and marriage equality, as well as other anti-discrimination laws.

“For those people in America watching this moment with the same sense of horror and pain that we feel, we say: you’re not alone. You’re one of the vast majority of Americans who disagree with today’s decision.”

Northern Ireland

Amnesty’s campaigning for abortion rights continues in the UK. People in Northern Ireland are still without fully-commissioned and accessible abortion services despite historic reform which decriminalised abortion in 2019.

On Tuesday (21 June), the UK government published new abortion statistics for England and Wales showing that 161 women from Northern Ireland travelled to access abortion services last year, figures which Amnesty called a “reminder of the urgent need for commissioned services” in Northern Ireland. 

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Deputy Director, said: 

“The overturning of Roe v Wade is a devastating blow to women’s rights.

“This rights rollback is a painful reminder of the fragility of progress and why the fight to protect access to abortion healthcare never stops. We offer our full support and solidarity to campaigners in the US who will continue their work to enable access to abortion in light of this shameful decision.

“We are at a vital point in the realisation of abortion rights in Northern Ireland - the sooner services are established and accessible to all who need them the better.

For more information about Amnesty’s policies relating to abortion rights, click here. For more information about abortion rights in the UK and Northern Ireland specifically, click here.


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