The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved is deeply concerned by reports of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the historic Roe v. Wade decision.
“The expected Supreme Court decision to overturn more than 40 years of legal precedent established by Roe v. Wade will lead to profound barriers to care for populations already struggling for access to vital services,” said Amanda Pears Kelly, ACU Executive Director. “We’re concerned about the damaging consequences this decision could and will have on equity and access to care, and we reiterate our support for improving access to all forms of healthcare for under-resourced populations.”
“Low-income women, particularly those in non-Medicaid expansion states, already face limited healthcare options,” explained Pears Kelly. “Poverty, racism, and other social determinants of health also limit access, as does persistent provider shortages, especially in rural areas. If formally submitted, this decision will, without question, have a disproportionate impact on these already marginalized populations.” Sadly, the past two years of pandemic realities have taught us that as a nation we must take action to address the severe health disparities that exist across our nation, particularly in under-resourced communities and for marginalized populations, and move toward health equity. If there is truth to the leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision stands to deepen the tragic and unacceptable health inequity recognizable in all corners of our healthcare system and country.
Access to family planning healthcare is a key component of comprehensive primary healthcare. The majority of the patients who stand to be most impacted by this decision live in medically under-resourced communities. Most of these patients are Black, Latinx, Asian, or Pacific Islander, and 75% live at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Should the draft opinion become a formalized Supreme Court decision it will place many forms of reproductive healthcare completely out of reach for millions of patients living in underserved communities. Studies show that should Roe v. Wade be overturned, more than 22 states would either immediately or very shortly ban services, forcing low-income women to go without access to family planning services or potentially travel hundreds of miles to access care.
“In the face of this and other challenges, we join with patients, providers, and advocates in reaffirming our commitment to supporting equity and access to primary and preventive healthcare, which must include family planning services,” stated Pears Kelly.