No amount of warning or preparation for this day can soften the blow. It hurts to watch as millions of Americans lose their constitutional right to abortion – the right to decide when and whether to be pregnant. This fundamental right was constitutionally protected for almost 50 years in the US. Now, today it’s not.
The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and instantly the US has become a patchwork of laws and regulations that grant different rights to different people across the country depending only on where they happen to live. This is a particular injustice we know too well.
In the low- and middle-income countries where Pathfinders live and work, access to critical health care like safe abortion varies widely. For decades, Pathfinder has worked closely with our local partners around the world to ensure that where the law allows for it, health systems can offer quality, safe, comprehensive abortion. We advocate for removal of legal barriers to safe abortion wherever we can. We partner with communities to overcome the stigma and obstacles that result in women and girls suffering and dying from unsafe abortions.
The US has become an outlier in the global trend toward progress. It is now one of only four countries in 28 years to restrict abortion rights. The reality is that many countries around the world are doing the hard, necessary work of broadening access to safe abortion and reproductive health care. Mozambique, where Pathfinder has worked for 25 years, decriminalized abortion in 2014. Ireland repealed its ban with overwhelming public support in 2018. Just last year, Mexico made it unconstitutional to penalize abortion. Soon after, Colombia’s Constitutional Court also moved to legalize abortion.
Advocates in the US can take inspiration from these advances and from the many other countries around the world leading the way. Globally, Pathfinder will continue the essential work of advancing health and rights, while helping to build collective resolve in the US for a permanent legislative solution preserving the right to choose safe abortion.
Women’s rights, health, and lives are at stake. We will not stop fighting for them.