We believe in abortion without punishment.
With the implications of a gutted Roe, and fewer abortion clinics open and accessible, we now face the perfect storm for the criminalization of women and medical professionals for seeking or providing abortions. The number of women who manage their own abortion, out of choice or necessity, would likely surge. Archaic laws criminalizing abortion could become enforceable and states could introduce new legislation to ban abortion outright, as they have in Ohio.
We have already seen examples of overzealous prosecutors misusing state laws to prosecute women for ending their own pregnancies, like in the case of Purvi Patel, who was sentenced to 20 years for doing so.
Criminalizing abortion would have disastrous effects: it would deprive millions of women the access to abortion care they need and deserve. It would disproportionately affect and criminalize people of color, low-income individuals, and underserved communities. And it could lead to disproportionate targeting and prosecution of medical providers of color.
States need to be working to protect abortion rights and access. Public support is at an all-time high; a vocal minority should not be allowed to turn abortion care into a crime.
The National Institute for Reproductive Health supports state and local based initiatives that advance the goals of the reproductive health, rights, and justice movements, including access to abortion care, without shame, pressure, fear, or punishment.