On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court ruling on the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned the ruling from Roe v. Wade that the U.S. “constitution protected a woman’s right to an abortion prior to the viability of the fetus.”
Not only does this ruling enable restrictions on bodily autonomy and access to comprehensive healthcare— especially for people of color who can get pregnant — it may also embolden anti-abortion and anti-rights movements abroad, contribute to the global stigmatization of abortion, and cause confusion in foreign policy and international development spaces. To be clear, the ruling itself does not change U.S. foreign policy in terms of abortion; however, it has created global uncertainty over what this means for U.S. foreign policy, where and when abortion services can legally be provided, and what U.S. government partners are able to do, which can have serious consequences.
Although the Dobbs decision does not change U.S. foreign policy directly, steps can be taken to ensure that the decision does not exacerbate a chilling effect, and instead that U.S. foreign policy supports best healthcare practices.
The aim of this brief is to provide some clarity on the global and foreign policy implications of the Supreme Court ruling, and present a few key recommendations on how to support bodily autonomy and access to comprehensive healthcare.