Washington Women Lawyers - Statement on Roe and Dobbs
Late in 2021, the Washington Women Lawyers board voted to sign onto an amici curiae brief in Dobbs v. Jackson urging the Court to reject Mississippi’s call to overturn Roe v. Wade. We recognized that, for many women in our profession, our opportunity to pursue legal careers is made possible through the ability to receive appropriate medical treatment and to exercise control over our reproductive choices.
We therefore remain nothing short of appalled and horrified by the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Dobbs enables some of the cruelest, most barbarous outcomes for individuals seeking reproductive health care, and we stand with all women, trans people and nonbinary individuals across the country whose futures and health are now imperiled.
The Court in Casey noted that “[m]en and women of good conscience can disagree, and we suppose some always shall disagree, about the profound moral and spiritual implications of terminating a pregnancy, even in its earliest stage.” However, the Court’s obligation “is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate [its] own moral code.” Dobbs’ deeply disturbing turn in the Court’s jurisprudence will undoubtedly impact individuals of childbearing age, with disproportionate burdens placed on young people, BIPOC communities and low-income people. As WWL recognized by signing onto the amicus brief, these individuals’ abilities to pursue their chosen careers are in peril – not to mention their lives, health, and dignity.
Not only did the Dobbs decision overturn nearly five decades of settled precedent that millions of Americans have relied on, but it also cast into doubt other privacy rights conferred by the Fourteenth Amendment in a manner that could reverse decades of progress. The decision itself and the language utilized in the Dobbs majority opinion and Justice Thomas’s concurrence threatens our members and the rights of all women – as well as other individuals relying on recognized rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court’s extraordinary decision to strip away a fundamental constitutional protection imperils the futures of American women, their careers, and their families.
WWL will continue to do everything in its power to fight for women’s rights and freedom and will continue to advocate on behalf of our membership. We strongly believe that every woman should remain the arbiter of her own decisions around reproduction and bodily autonomy. We encourage our members to consider the following resources and take action:
1. Check out resources like the Center for Reproductive Right’s “State Constitutions and Abortion Rights” and “What if Roe Fell.”
2. For lawyers wanting to offer their legal expertise, If/When/How offers information, continuing education credits, networking and volunteer opportunities.
3. Consider signing up with We The Action, which connects lawyers with volunteer opportunities in a number of areas, including reproductive justice. For example, Regulatory Assistance for Abortion Providers (RAAP) is currently looking for attorneys with licenses in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia to serve as local counsel.