By State Representative Kim Schofield (D-Atlanta) – Schofield represents the citizens of District 63, which includes portions of Fulton County. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2017 and currently serves as the Secretary of the Urban Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Creative Arts & Entertainment, Health, Interstate Cooperation and Small Business Development committees.
As an advocate for women’s rights and reproductive health care, I cannot sit idly by as we reach the one-year anniversary of the reversal of Roe v. Wade. On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court rocked the nation, dismantling the protection of women’s reproductive rights that had been upheld for almost five decades.
Since that fateful day, countless women in Georgia have been denied the ability to make personal decisions about their bodies and their futures, jeopardizing their health, wellbeing and autonomy. The fundamental rights of women have been stripped away with each state abortion ban being enacted. All of this has happened in just one year. Lawmakers across our country and in Washington, D.C. cannot waste another day.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade not only undermines women’s right to privacy, but it also gravely erodes the principles of bodily autonomy and personal freedom. Women should have the right to make informed choices about their own reproductive health without interference from lawmakers or external pressures. By restricting access to safe and legal abortion, the decision places an undue burden on women, particularly those from marginalized and under-resourced communities who face additional barriers to health care and family planning services.
This decision allowed Georgia to usher in a six-week abortion ban, which could lead to an increase in pregnancy-related deaths. Access to safe and legal abortion is a critical component of comprehensive reproductive health care, and its restriction puts the lives of countless women at risk. Georgia cannot afford to further disrupt reproductive decisions, especially since our state has one of the highest maternal mortality rates at almost twice the national rate.
Furthermore, this regressive ruling significantly impacts the availability of contraceptive and reproductive medical care for women. Essential services, such as affordable birth control, comprehensive sex education and preventive screenings, are being curtailed, making it increasingly challenging for women to protect their health and plan for their families. Access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including contraception, is a fundamental right that should be safeguarded and promoted.
In light of this anniversary, I call upon lawmakers, policymakers and advocates across the nation to stand together in defense of women’s rights and reproductive freedom. I am grateful for the recent opportunity to participate in the White House State Legislative Convening on Reproductive Rights in June, but we must do more than hold meetings. I urge both parties to work toward the reinstatement of protections previously guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. We must ensure that every woman has the ability to make personal decisions without fear, stigma or legal restrictions.
It is our shared responsibility to create a society where all individuals have equal access to comprehensive reproductive health care, safe and legal abortion, as well as accurate information. By doing so, we can empower women, safeguard their rights and foster a future of equality, dignity and justice. Our fight continues.