Abortion Is a Public Health Issue
Access to abortion is fundamental to the health of individuals, families, and communities and is a public health issue. In the United States, abortion is common and extremely safe. Despite its demonstrated safety record, abortion has been extensively regulated and restricted, making access to care increasingly difficult for many Americans.
In June 2022, in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned 49 years of precedent established by the Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions. For the first time in its history, the Supreme Court has taken away a fundamental right that people relied on to make decisions about their own bodies, health, and lives. As a result, many states are now banning abortion at various stages of pregnancy or banning it altogether.
Research has proven that restrictions on abortion access cause harm to women’s physical and mental health as well as their social and economic well-being. When people seek abortion care and are unable to receive it, the well-being of their existing children is also negatively impacted.
The harms that result from barriers to abortion disproportionately impact the most vulnerable or marginalized people in our society, including poor people; people of color; young people; people with disabilities; immigrants; people in rural communities; lesbian, bisexual, queer women; and transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people. Given the ongoing crisis of Black and Indigenous maternal and infant mortality, the abortion bans and restrictions many states have implemented are expected to result in additional illness and death.
For these reasons and more, access to abortion is a public health priority for the County of Los Angeles. Abortion also is a key reproductive justice issue—a component of the complex, intersecting rights and conditions that allow people of color to regain and maintain autonomy over their own bodies and pregnancies, their ability to have or not have children, and to raise the children they have in safe and sustainable communities.