It was 24 days into Pride Month when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson, the now-infamous case that overturned Roe v. Wade, and pulled the rug out from underneath us by throwing away a half-century of legal precedent. While this case ruled on abortion access, a concurrent opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas created uncertainty that all of our hard-won rights are at risk. It is crucial to understand the breadth of this decision, as it has had a profound impact on all of us.
There are a few takeaways for us at HRC:
The end of Roe is devastating. LGBTQ+ people are already at increased risk for sexual and physical intimate partner violence. The data shows that LGBTQ+ women who have been pregnant are more likely to have had unwanted or mistimed pregnancies than heterosexual women and are more likely to need abortion services as well. These pregnancies are more likely to be the result of violence and often require access to abortion services as a result. Make no mistake — abortion rights are LGBTQ+ rights.
This is a scary time for women and LGBTQ+ people in the United States. And we did not get here by accident.
Overturning Roe took a coordinated, well-funded, five-decade effort by anti-abortion politicians and extremist groups, with the goal to strip people of the freedom to control their own bodies, futures and lives. These are the same politicians who have gone after LGBTQ+ people in the states — attacking our sense of safety, our voting rights, and our reproductive rights.
We’re also encouraged to see progress toward passing the Respect for Marriage Act, which is legislation that would nationally codify marriage equality by guaranteeing the federal rights, benefits, and obligations of marriages in the federal code; repealing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act; and affirming that public acts, records and proceedings should be recognized by all states. The bill passed the House 267-157, garnering 47 Republican votes — proving that support for marriage equality is widespread and bipartisan. In the aftermath of Dobbs, it is more important than ever that we enshrine our court-protected civil liberties into law.
2022 is one of the toughest years we’ve seen. We need everyone to pitch in and fight. Our attention must be turned toward the states—the fall of Roe will embolden anti-LGBTQ+ state lawmakers to continue pandering to their base and attacking our rights. In many states, just a small number of votes can make a big difference. Get involved in your state and local elections to stop them.
We are outraged. We cannot — we will not — go backward and let a small group of radicals dictate control over our health care, bodily autonomy and the right to make informed personal decisions for ourselves and our families. While the new majority of the Supreme Court may be gearing up for a fight—so are we. With your help, we can win.