York, PA – (July 14, 2022) YWCA York strongly objects to the June 24 Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years of precedent guaranteeing a woman’s right to reproductive freedom which invokes the right to equality.
Since 1891, YWCA York has been a champion for women around issues of safety, autonomy, suffrage, and reproductive freedom. We have not and we will not deviate from our mission: eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. We recognize reproductive justice as a necessary component of gender equity and racial justice. Reproductive justice can only be achieved when all people have the social, political, and economic power to make decisions about their own health, bodies, and sexuality.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade is contrary to our mission but must be recognized for the harm and increased danger it causes to those we serve. The restrictions on body autonomy that have and will continue to result from the elimination of this constitutional right to reproductive freedom will most heavily impact women of color, LGBTQIA+ people, people earning low-income wages, and victims/survivors of gender-based violence.
The effects of this decision cannot be ignored.
At this time maternal fatality in the United States is rising. It is a fact that Black mothers are three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as white women, regardless of their income or education. Violence against women and girls takes many forms, including reproductive abuse and reproductive coercion. With respect to domestic violence, this occurs when an abuser uses intimidation, threats, and/or physical violence to control their partner’s reproductive choices. Survivors forced to continue a pregnancy may remain bound to an abuser and are at risk of continued violence. Additionally, pregnancy increases the risk of physical harm and even death at the hands of an abusive partner.
Think about this fact, homicide is the leading cause of death during pregnancy and occurs at twice the rate of pregnancy-related deaths.
We oppose any action that limits a person’s right to access reproductive health care. Everyone deserves access to unbiased, accurate information regarding health care to enable them to make the decisions that are best for them.
Currently, abortion is still a legal right in Pennsylvania. There are proposals being considered now to restrict rights to abortion and the right to bodily autonomy, which is a fundamental right to privacy. Such restrictions will further disempower individuals.
As United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. When government controls that decision for her she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.” Like many of us, you may be asking yourself what you can do. True to our roots in trauma-informed care, we are here to make sure you know what your options are and support you through whatever you choose to do.
What you can do:
- Share your views with your legislator – Find your Legislator
- Register to Vote
- Get out and vote – local elections are important as well as state and national elections!
- Stay tuned for YWCA York’s offerings around these issues by following us on social media and visiting our website. Some things we have in the works already include sexual and reproductive coercion resource cards for health care settings, trainings on these topics for health care providers as well as community members, resource lists and hosting safe spaces for connecting.
- If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual or reproductive coercion, we are here to help. Our 24/7 hotline can be reached at 717-846-5400, 717-845-2631, or tollfree at 800-262-8444. Watch this video to learn more about our hotline.