In 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the US Constitution protected a person’s right to abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure throughout the US. In 2022, after nearly 50 years of federal protection and precedent, the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. In so doing, Dobbs became the only decision in which the Supreme Court struck down a fundamental and constitutional right.
This rare reversal of precedent had swift and life-altering consequences for women and people who can become pregnant. Significant legal and societal ramifications implicating gender equality, bodily agency and autonomy, and other civil and privacy rights were immediately felt as well. Criminalizing abortion does not stop abortion, and obstacles to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, fertility treatments and pre- and post-natal care, disproportionately impact women of color, members of the LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, immigrants and marginalized communities.
As exemplified by our strong pro bono commitment and partnerships, Cooley remains steadfast in supporting and advancing women, including by protecting their reproductive healthcare and civil rights. In the wake of the Dobbs decision, the firm secured a victory in Women’s Health Center of West Virginia v. Miller, obtaining a preliminary injunction that prevents enforcement of a 150-year-old West Virginia law criminalizing virtually all abortion care. Cooley also filed amicus briefs in a range of cases on reproductive rights issues, including Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The firm also has become an affiliate of the New York State Attorney General’s Pro Bono Task Force for Reproductive Health and has joined the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Legal Alliance for Reproductive Rights.
Every person should have access to non-discriminatory reproductive healthcare aligned with their values and personal circumstances, and this resource kit was created with those rights in mind. We encourage you to share this resource kit on social media and with your family, friends and communities to amplify the impacted voices and raise awareness of reproductive rights and the organizations working on expanding access and protections.