The North Dakota Women’s Network strongly opposes the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade. For half a century, women and families have relied upon the protection of their medical privacy from government interference. The decision of the Court to revoke this protection of privacy is devastating, as it will severely harm access to reproductive health care for many Americans’. It is also reasonable to expect that this decision will damage health privacy more broadly, undermining much more than just access to reproductive health care. We anticipate that, over time, this decision may further erode privacy in ways that impact us all.
The Court’s decision also disproportionately impacts North Dakota women and families, because the North Dakota legislature has passed laws that will deny reproductive medical privacy and healthcare access since Roe is overturned. As a result, only North Dakotans with adequate resources will be able to travel out-of-state to receive this important healthcare. The decision to overturn Roe, coupled with North Dakota’s punitive and privacy-violating policies, means that many lower- and middle-income North Dakotans who are unable to engage in costly travel will not be able to receive access to the reproductive health care that they need.
North Dakotan culture emphasizes family autonomy and freedom from excessive government interference in personal decisions. It is common wisdom in our communities that families know best what is in their interest and how their needs are best served. The prior decisions of the North Dakota legislature to ban abortion throughout the state in the event that Roe is overturned is incompatible with the North Dakotan philosophy that the government should not overly interfere in our personal decisions and lives. The situation of every person who seeks these medical procedures is truly unique, with many potential issues at play from medical risk to the mother, severe health problems affecting the fetus, inadequate family income, and more. North Dakotans are owed privacy and autonomy when it comes to managing health care and family planning. Patients and their medical providers should have the freedom and privacy to meet health needs without the interference of a legislature in which a large majority of lawmakers are not medical providers.
North Dakota Women’s Network and our members will continue to fight for the restoration of privacy and access to healthcare for all North Dakotans.
NDWN will be hosting a reproductive rights rally on Saturday, July 9, 2022, from 10:00 am to noon. Watch our website and Facebook page for more information.