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JACL Affirms Right to Reproductive Freedom

In 1973, the Supreme Court made the landmark decision that ruled access to abortion and one’s right to choose as protected under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Roe v. Wade has been one of the most contested and debated Supreme Court decisions in recent history. Since the court made its decision, it has come under attack by numerous state and local organizations. Unfortunately, his year has been no different. In the first half of 2021 alone, more than 90 laws restricting abortion access have passed in several state legislatures. Tuesday, Texas enacted the most restrictive abortion law to date; banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. On Wednesday, a narrow majority of the Supreme Court ignored 48 years of precedent in allowing the Texas law to stand.

This six-week number is based on early cardiac activity, which also coincides most often when a doctor is able to confirm someone is pregnant. This means it is not nearly enough time for someone to not only confirm they are pregnant but to also schedule an appointment. The law also includes provisions to “reward” bystanders for tipping off the local government to anyone who is attempting to aid in an “illegal” abortion. This could include not only doctors but also family and friends of someone who is attempting to seek an appointment.

The JACL unequivocally supports the right to decide whether and when to become a parent. The National Council officially adopted a resolution, titled Family Choice, at the 1992 convention supporting a person’s right “to choose and determine the course of their lives.”

JACL Executive Director, David Inoue stated “This law serves as a dangerous precedent for not only the State of Texas but many others that are currently looking to enact similar laws. While the law should be unable to withstand court challenge, that the Supreme Court has declined to block its enactment is not encouraging. This signifies a clear shift of the court away from upholding what has been considered the settled law of the land and allowing the creation of new and dangerous policies infringing upon individual rights and encouraging reckless vigilantism.”