While it comes as no surprise at this point, the leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion indicating that Roe v Wade is likely to be overturned when the Court rules is still a severe blow to those who support girls’ and women’s rights.
For nearly 160 years, Girls Inc. has expressed its unequivocal support for increased opportunity and access for girls and young women, especially those from underserved communities and those who face the challenges of abuse, poverty, and mistreatment due to gender, racial, or ethnic identity.
As a core value of our mission to ensure that girls and young women grow up healthy, educated, and independent, we stand up for their rights to bodily autonomy and to healthcare. We believe that reproductive healthcare, including the right to terminate a pregnancy, should be available and accessible to all women. For nearly 50 years, Roe v Wade has been a national symbol of the value we place on women’s rights. Without this protection, many states would no longer grant women the right to access reproductive healthcare fully, and we fear that this lack of access would have negative consequences for many of the communities we serve.
We are painfully aware that, as is always the case, those young people who have the least to begin with also have the most to lose as a result of any action that limits their potential to grow and thrive. Key to our mission is elevating the voices of girls and young women even as we advocate for their rights and opportunities.
I encourage everyone to remember that our vote is our voice—our rights are determined and protected by the representatives we elect. The strongest response to any action or decision, whether we support that action or deplore it, is to activate our right to participate in the democratic process.