ICYMI: Human Rights Campaign Resources on How the End of Roe v. Wade Impacts the LGBTQ+ Community

by Aryn Fields

Video Addresses References to Obergefell and Lawrence in Majority, Concurring, and Dissenting Opinions

Fact Sheet Shows How Many LGBTQ+ People Need Access to Abortion

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in light of the dangerous Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, released a video from Interim President, Joni Madison, explaining what the decision means for the LGBTQ+ community, including how it could impact Obergefell v. Hodges and Lawrence v. Texas. Additionally, HRC highlighted a fact sheet that illustrates the importance of the protections enshrined in Roe v. Wade to members of the LGBTQ+ community. The data shows that LGBTQ+ people who have been pregnant are more likely to have had unwanted or mistimed pregnancies than cisgender heterosexual women and are more likely to need abortion services as well. The data makes clear that LGBTQ+ people, including queer women, transgender men and non-binary people, need access to abortion services.

The video can be viewed below or here and key excerpts are below:

Make no mistake—this decision goes far beyond abortion. And it will do real harm to women and to LGBTQ+ people—right now. Vulnerable people across the country in states with trigger laws have immediately lost access to abortion. It’s critical to understand first and foremost: reproductive rights are LGBTQ+ rights. LGBTQ+ people need abortion care, and this will have a devastating, immediate impact on all of us. And today’s decision will embolden our opponents and encourage state lawmakers pandering to their base to test the limits of court-recognized LGBTQ+ equality. So today — let’s turn our anger into action! Let’s take to the streets. Let’s make our voices heard.”

Joni Madison, Human Rights Campaign Interim President

In the fact sheet released earlier this month, the report found Lesbian (22.8%) and bisexual (27.2%) cisgender women who have been pregnant are more likely than cisgender heterosexual women (15.4%) who have been pregnant to have had an abortion according to a new analysis of the 2017-2019 National Survey for Family Growth (NSFG) conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Some of the fact sheet’s most important toplines include:

Due to structural and logistical barriers, even under Roe, abortion is not always available for LGBTQ+ people. This leads them to be at risk for mistimed and unwanted pregnancies, or to consider self-managed abortion.

  • Over half (56%) of lesbian women who have been pregnant, and approximately two-thirds (65.3%) of bisexual women who have been pregnant, have ever had a mistimed pregnancy—one which occurred earlier in life than they would have liked—compared with less than half (47.6%) of heterosexual women

  • Over a third (38.9%) of lesbian women report ever having an unwanted pregnancy—one which, at the time they got pregnant, they did not want—compared with a little over a quarter each of bisexual (29%) and heterosexual (27.2%) women.

  • In a 2019 survey of 1,700 transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people assigned female or intersex at birth, a third (32%) of those who had ever been pregnant had had at least one abortion in their lifetime. More than half of the pregnancies were unintended.

The end of Roe is be devastating for the safety of LGBTQ+ people, who are already at increased risk for sexual and physical intimate partner violence, and who may be at increased risk of a pregnancy resulting from a non-consensual encounter.

  • Data shows that over a third of lesbian women seeking abortion had experienced physical abuse from the person who got her pregnant. Additionally, over 7% of bisexual women had experienced sexual abuse, and almost one in ten had experienced physical abuse.

  • 14.8% of lesbian and 3.2% of bisexual women who had an abortion, compared to 1.2% of heterosexual women who had an abortion, reported the pregnancy was the result of a forced sexual encounter.

  • 7.1% of bisexual women had experienced sexual abuse from the person who got them pregnant, and almost 9% had experienced physical abuse. In comparison, less than 2% of heterosexual women had experienced sexual abuse from the person who got them pregnant, and only 3.6% had experienced physical abuse.

  • 36% of transgender people who had ever been pregnant had considered attempting to end their pregnancy by themselves “without clinical supervision” (e.g., a self-managed abortion). Almost one in five (19%) went through with this attempt, according to research from 2019. More than one in ten attempted self-managed abortion due to “difficult situations” such as fear of, or ongoing, intimate partner violence.

Key excerpts from the video are below:

“The [Supreme Court’s] majority opinion, concurring opinion and dissent all make mention of LGBTQ+ civil rights cases. Here’s what that means:

The majority opinion notes that the Court has previously overruled important constitutional decisions, and cites Lawrence and Obergefell as examples.

Yes, it is true that Lawrence and Obergefell overturned precedent. But they did so in order to offer people more rights — the right to privacy in your home, the right to marry who you love.

The Dobbs decision does the opposite: It strips away the rights of millions of women and LGBTQ+ people to access an abortion — to control their own bodies…

Justice Thomas wrote a concurring opinion which agrees with the majority decision to overturn Roe. He also says that the Court should reconsider other cases, including Lawrence, Obergefell and Griswold, which grants access to birth control.

To be clear: The concurring opinion is not binding, and no other justice agreed with Justice Thomas.

In fact, the majority opinion explicitly disagrees. It says that “‘nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion…”

But it isn’t that simple. Those cases, as the dissent said, “are all part of the same constitutional fabric.”

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