May 10, 2022 – A Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the federal right to abortion in the U.S. if finalized is “humanitarian malfeasance,” according to Michelle Williams, dean of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
In an op-ed published May 5, 2022 in the Emancipator—a collaboration of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research and the Boston Globe—Williams called the draft opinion “egregiously wrong” from a public health perspective, a humanitarian perspective, and an equity perspective. She pointed out that women who can’t get abortions, compared with their peers who are able to terminate pregnancies, are more likely to struggle financially, to have health problems, and to be women of color.
Williams listed four ways to protect a woman’s right to choose. One way is that Congress should codify the right to abortion into federal law. The move may require the U.S. Senate to lift the filibuster, since it has so far been impossible for that chamber to muster the 60 votes needed to protect abortion rights, Williams wrote.
Williams also called on states with progressive legislatures and governors to take steps to protect abortion rights within their borders; recommended that advocacy groups mobilize to support women in the many states where abortion is likely to be banned; and urged voters to elect candidates who support abortion rights.
Read the op-ed in The Emancipator: The right to an abortion can be saved
The negative health implications of restriction abortion access (Harvard Chan School feature)