MENLO PARK, Calif.—Statement of Larry Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and former Dean of Stanford Law School, in response to the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is an unheard of stripping away of fundamental freedoms that have been guaranteed to the American people. This decision by our highest court is out of step with the American public and marks a huge step backward in our country’s history, not only overturning precedent to limit our rights, but putting women and families’ well-being on the line.
The ruling makes it sadly clear that presidents who don’t care about the law can appoint justices who don’t care about the law either, turning the Supreme Court into nothing more than another partisan organ following the whims and preferences of its members. Juxtaposed against yesterday’s likewise appalling decision on gun control, the Court has with blinding swiftness reached a new historical low.
With the Court returning decisions about the legality of abortion to the states, we are stepping into a new era where abortion will be outlawed or severely restricted in half of the country, and extremist lawmakers will feel emboldened to take away other essential health care – such as contraception and fertility treatments – that has enabled women and their partners to pursue their own life aspirations and paved the way for economic prosperity in our communities. The impact of the Court’s decision will be local, falling most heavily on women and households whose access to care will depend on the state in which they live, creating a national map that resembles nothing so much as a patchwork quilt built around unfair inequities.
The Justices have, with the stroke of a pen, undone a half century of precedent and practice, but their decision won’t end the need for abortion care for women, nor change the beliefs and aspirations of the American people. An overwhelming majority of Americans support abortion rights and agree that every woman must have access to the care she needs. It’s time for that majority to take a stand, and work together across divides, to protect what we fundamentally believe, compassionately putting our families’ well-being at the center.
At Hewlett, we are ready to do so. Together with our partners and grantees, we’ll increase our efforts to meet the urgency of this moment, taking the fight to each and every state where the battle must be fought, without losing sight of the future we want for our children – a future of full and equal rights and opportunities.