July 14, 2022
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson is an egregious attack on bodily autonomy, removing a pregnant person’s right to autonomous decision making over the most personal and most consequential of life decisions. While this is devastating for all persons, adolescents and young adults will suffer greatly from this decision. This ruling reversed nearly 50 years of legal precedent, issued a direct assault on reproductive justice and the public’s health, and curtailed the status of pregnant persons as free and equal citizens (as noted in the dissenting opinion). We are collectively opposed to this violation of human rights, which will be especially harmful to vulnerable and marginalized populations including adolescents and young adults. We object to any restrictions placed on the reproductive rights of adolescents and young adults. Access to safe abortion is a basic part of comprehensive reproductive health care. This ruling contradicts the broad medical and scientific consensus that abortion is a fundamental component of healthcare, abortion is safe, and abortion is a human right.
Adolescents and young adults already face more barriers than adults in accessing comprehensive reproductive healthcare services and abortion care, such as cost, confidentiality concerns, and limited knowledge and experience seeking healthcare. This ruling means that abortion services will be either obliterated or severely limited in many geographic areas. Remaining avenues for accessing abortion care will be difficult if not impossible for young people, putting their futures, health, and safety at risk. Marginalized individuals and communities and those who experience systemic oppression are also uniquely vulnerable.
Adolescents and young adults deserve a health system that meets their needs and healthcare professionals who offer comprehensive reproductive health care. As professionals, we will continue to affirm young people in their pursuit of confidential and comprehensive reproductive health care, generate scientific evidence on how to optimize and support their physical and psychological well-being, and advocate for their basic rights. We are vehemently opposed to this ruling’s infringements on human rights. We support and defend the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young adults.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
Society of Family Planning
Society for Research on Adolescence
Society for Research in Child Development
UCLA Center on the Developing Adolescent