Sunday, January 22nd, is the 50th anniversary of the passage of Roe v. Wade. It should be a time for celebration. Instead, it's a reminder of what we’ve lost.
Federal abortion rights established by Roe v. Wade 50 years ago were stolen from us last June. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe opened the floodgates to allow states across the country to ban abortion and acutely worsened our existing national health equity crisis.
Access to care has never been more vital. One in three women of reproductive age in the U.S. — and more trans and nonbinary people — no longer have access to abortion in their state. Since June, bans have eliminated access to all or some abortions in 18 states. More states could implement abortion bans this year.
Due to our country's legacy of racist and unjust systems, we know that abortion bans and harsh restrictions hit hardest among people of color. The court’s decision continues to disproportionately harm Black, Latina/o/e, Indigenous, and other people of color — communities for whom systemic racism has long denied access to opportunity and health care.
This Sunday is a reminder that Roe was always the floor — not the ceiling. Our communities have never had adequate access to abortion care. The “right” to an abortion has never been enough to guarantee access.
This is a time to reimagine what is possible for our communities. That’s what we’ve been doing at PPGNY, and what we must continue to do, with a focus on equity. A vision for the future that centers those historically left behind will create a more equitable health care landscape for all.
Every change we’re making across our organization, from the implementation of Epic and building other critical pieces of integrated infrastructure to working toward expanding in the Southern Tier to include second-trimester abortion, will increase access for people coming from other states, and for our own communities in New York. We’re also pushing for legislative change and calling on New York State to make bold investments to increase abortion access and support providers, and amplifying this issue throughout our regions, including at our upcoming Day of Action in Albany on Tuesday.
These last 7 months since Roe was overturned have been a time for deep reflection on what is working at PPGNY, what isn’t, and what changes we must make to better serve our communities.
The path ahead is challenging, and change won’t always happen quickly. But I’m honored to be here on this journey with you — our supporters and patients — and I know we can achieve meaningful change and build a more equitable future for all, together.