Today’s Roe decision will weaken us in the fight against HIV and AIDS

Few issues in modern America are more divisive than that of abortion rights.

Amidst that division, we need to understand what this ruling will mean. Today’s ruling will negatively impact women’s health, especially women from communities marginalized by our society.  It will also widen health inequity gaps.

There are stark realities that emanate from the barriers created by today’s ruling that directly impact the fight against AIDS:

  • Fewer women accessing health care will reduce the opportunities for HIV education and lower rates of HIV and STI testing, which will worsen these epidemics.
  • Fewer women accessing health care will worsen health inequities that our country’s health care system delivers especially for African American and Hispanic individuals.
  • Women denied abortions are more likely to face mental health issues, pregnancy complications, and, later in life, health risks like cardiovascular disease.

These barriers will result in poorer health and higher costs.

Sadly, there is yet another reality of today’s ruling: Its potential impact on rights to contraception and LGBTQIA+ rights. Any erosion of these rights along with today’s ruling will further curtail the fight against AIDS. Specifically, we need to hold Justice Alito and other government officials accountable for his statement in the opinion that the tenets of this ruling do not extend beyond this case. More alarming is the concurring opinion from Justice Thomas challenging additional basic human rights and setting the stage for further revocation of them.

The fight for access to health care, for greater quality outcomes, for health equity, and for basic human rights can never cease. While today’s ruling is a setback, we must all recommit to assuring everyone, especially women, have access to all the care they need.