Many survivors of sexual violence will have struggled with the news leak this week from SCOTUS. This history making move not only calls into question the ability of survivors of rape who become pregnant as a result of the assault to access medical care and make informed decisions about their care, it also impacts healing in negative ways. SARCC advocates for the rights of sexual violence survivors to make informed choices about their medical care, reporting options, and healing after their assault.
While PA is not one of the “trigger states” that would be instantly impacted by an overturn, it does raise risks for access in the near future and would rely on legislative action to ensure continued access. There is an additional concern that this decision is just the first in a series of actions to limit access to reproductive care, which disproportionately impacts vulnerable and at-risk communities. Even survivors who are not currently pregnant can and are impacted by this news. For many, it represents a violation of bodily autonomy. This news can lead to trauma echoes and dissacociation, among other common trauma responses.
SARCC staff have been connecting with our partners at LFHS to learn more about potential impacts and options for advocacy, and will keep you posted on any action you personally can take. We are also exploring healing options for body connection and autonomy workshops for survivors in our communities.
Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Federal Constitutional Protections of Abortion Rights
•The Supreme Court voted to overrule Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, cases that guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. The decision would end federal protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.
•Republican-appointed justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett voted with Alito in support of overruling the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The court’s ruling is not final until it is published, which could happen this summer.
•The ruling would side with Mississippi in a case (Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health et all Petitioners vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization)P over the state’s attempt to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
•Thirteen states have passed ‘trigger laws’ or abortion bans that would go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Other states have laws in place protecting reproductive rights. This variance will create another economic and racial inequity as people with financial means and flexible schedules will be able to travel to receive services while those without the same resources will not be able to.
•We are strongly opposed any actions—legislatively or otherwise—that limit a person’s right to access a full range of reproductive healthcare services, including abortion care.
•We believe consent and bodily autonomy are fundamental rights no person, law or government should violate. These believe are integral to our mission and work.
•The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape stands firmly behind choice and the full range of reproductive healthcare options for all people, including abortion care.
•Reproductive coercion, forced pregnancies, forced abortions, and rape resulting in pregnancy are all risk factors that undermine victims’ physical and psychological safety and well-being. We know this because in many communities, our centers are the only resource available providing counseling on issues of sexual and reproductive care. Options, choices, and empowerment help to restore a victim’s sense of control and safety after an assault. We do not support any actions that limit those options and allow government to dictate what choices a person can make about their personal lives and bodies.
•Three million women experience rape-related pregnancy, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Carrying a pregnancy to term is not a safe option for all people—due to intimate partner violence, which can escalate during pregnancy; health disparities related to racial and economic inequalities; a person’s medical history or complications that elevate their risk for maternal morbidity; or other reasons.
•Reproductive choice must not be limited to victims of sexual violence and intimate partner violence. These forms of abuse are among the most under-reported crimes in the U.S. Survivors should never be forced to reveal their status in order to obtain medical care. Restricting their private healthcare decisions pending the trauma of disclosure is coercive and inappropriate. These choices should be made freely between a patient and medical provider, in the context of the patient’s health, safety, and family dynamics, not based on fear of criminal repercussions.
Help in PA:
•All over Pennsylvania local rape crisis centers are working with children, teens, and adults to make positive changes in their communities. You can find your local rape crisis center by visiting www.pcar.org or by calling 1-888-772-7227.