In Support of Reproductive Rights & Access to Abortion

Adopted at the 91st Annual Meeting in 2023

  • WHEREAS, reproductive health decisions ought to be made between a patient and their doctor without government interference; and

    WHEREAS, abortion is healthcare that should remain legal, safe, and accessible for all American women and nonbinary and transgender individuals who are able to become pregnant in all cities and states nationwide; and

    WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the United States established a constitutional right to abortion before fetal viability in the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973 and reaffirmed that decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1993; and

    WHEREAS, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision from the Supreme Court in 2022 that reversed Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the decisions that originally asserted the fundamental right to an abortion prior to the viability of the fetus, and, that the authority to regulate abortion is "returned to the people and their elected representatives; and

    WHEREAS, this decision repealed the constitutional rights of people to access healthcare without the influence of state government a right that is afforded by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution that provides a right to privacy and, therefore, protects a pregnant persons right to have an abortion; and

    WHEREAS, this decision upset nearly half a century of progress in ensuring reproductive rights, access to safe healthcare, and individual freedom; and

    WHEREAS, state governments are now emboldened to wade into the personal health and religious decisions of our constituents and challenge their ability to plan for or raise families on their own terms; and

    WHEREAS, states have moved to create stricter limits on abortion access, broad abortion bans and other restrictions since the Dobbs decision; and

    WHEREAS, those bans and restrictions have impacted more than 36 million people residing in those states with a disparate impact on our most vulnerable residents, particularly low-income Americans who are in need of these healthcare services; and

    WHEREAS, nineteen states have banned or restricted abortion as of April 26, 2023, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming have enacted trigger laws to automatically ban abortion in the first and second trimesters if the Supreme Court proceeds with overturning Roe v. Wade; and

    WHEREAS, multiple states have decades-old abortion laws on the books that pre-date the Roe decision in 1973 that could be reinstated in its absence; and

    WHEREAS, American women and people who can become pregnant will now lack the right to govern their own personal, private health decisions and their own bodies without interference from government; and

    WHEREAS, many state bans or restrictions do not provide exemptions for cases involving rape or incest, further punishing women and people who can become pregnant who have been victimized by forcing them to carry a pregnancy to term; and

    WHEREAS, the Brookings Center on Children and Families found that low-income people are five times more likely than their affluent peers to experience an unintended pregnancy; and

    WHEREAS, a lack of access has serious impacts on social mobility and economic outcomes in our cities as Brookings notes that "unplanned childbearing is associated with higher rates of poverty, less family stability, and worse outcomes for children"; and

    WHEREAS, in overturning the 50 years of precedent of Roe v. Wade after recently publicly and privately acknowledging it as "settled law," a majority of Supreme Court justices established an unfortunate modern precedent that demonstrates to the American people that the institution itself is not committed to upholding its own past rulings; and

    WHEREAS, this ruling signals that the Supreme Court of the United States may open the door to revisit other sacred "settled" matters such as civil rights and voting rights without regard for precedent.

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors supports the precedent of Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that establishes a woman's and people who can become pregnant constitutional right to access abortion and reproductive healthcare; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the nation's mayors lament that a majority of the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Roe v. Wade in favor of political expediency without consideration for how revoking the precedent will diminish federalism and the institution itself, or impact our residents' ability to access to critical healthcare services with a resulting patchwork of laws banning or restricting abortion; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The United States Conference of Mayors calls on Members of Congress to swiftly pass legislation to codify the rights of people to access abortion and reproductive healthcare and urges governors and state legislatures to protect the right of people's access to healthcare and individual freedoms in the absence of protections at the federal level in the meantime.

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