1-Year Post Roe Reflections
We anticipated radical repercussions to reproductive rights with the elimination of federal constitutional protections in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, our worst fears are being realized.
While the words undermined, frustrated, and daunting continue to come to mind as I reflect on the decision that revoked a woman’s right and protection to privacy, choice, and ultimately, her ability to control her own destiny, it’s important to reground in our “why” as we continue to advocate for these important rights.
Staying The Course in a Rapidly Shifting Landscape
Over the past year, we’ve continued to see reproductive healthcare at the forefront of conversations, politicized, and remain uncertain due to the evolving and confusing legislation, regulations, lack of affordability, and access to care that exists in some parts of the country.
Since the beginning of 2023, 700 bills concerning abortion (about half aiming to restrict access and half hoping to expand access) have been introduced in state legislatures. The legislative changes have resulted in 13 states completely banning abortion. While some states are imposing restrictive laws and limitations, 20 states have taken action to enshrine the right to abortion care in their state constitution, or allowed their citizens to decide the outcome of the legislation by popular vote, as is the case in states like Kansas, Colorado, Connecticut, and Vermont.
These legislative changes have not only caused excess burden on patients needing to travel for reproductive care and overwhelmed the clinics serving them, but it was also recently reported that OB/GYNs feel the ruling has worsened their ability to manage pregnancy-related emergencies with a large share believing the Dobbs decision has worsened pregnancy-related mortality and racial and ethnic inequities in maternal health.
The ripple effects of the SCOTUS decision aren’t over, and we need to continue to shed light on the importance of affordable and dependable access to reproductive products and services.
Speaking Up and Standing Together
Just as we anticipated the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we have another reproductive health-related case that we anticipate will make its way to the Supreme Court for a final ruling.
The potential impacts of the decision to overturn the FDA’s approval of mifepristone and limit access runs firmly counter to our mission at Afaxys. Despite continuous change and uncertainty, I was able to find solace in an open letter signed by hundreds of other leaders in biopharmaceuticals and life sciences, to support the FDA’s authority to regulate medicines following the April 7 decision to overturn the FDA’s 23-year-old approval of mifepristone. Fortunately, as this case goes through legal proceedings, mifepristone is still available on the US market, but access may vary by state.
The FDA is responsible for advancing public health by helping to spur innovations that make medical products more effective, safer, and more affordable while also helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use approved medical products to maintain and improve their health.
My team and I will continue to advocate for provider and patient access across the U.S. and look to bring effective and affordable reproductive health options to public health clinics through our pharma business and Group Purchasing Organization.
What the Future May Hold
In the past year alone, we have seen the harsh realities and barriers to care that patients are facing, and will unfortunately continue to face, with new obstacles and threats that arise.
On the eve of the one-year anniversary, a Presidential Executive Order was announced to strengthen access to affordable, high-quality contraception and family planning services. As the first Executive Order focused specifically on protecting and expanding access to contraception since the Court’s ruling, it provides us a glimmer of hope that the collective “we” – across public, private, government and other sections – can work together to ensure preventative reproductive healthcare is a right, not a privilege for all patients.
I don’t know what the next year will bring, but I do know the entire Afaxys team is committed to serving our customers and their patients as they navigate the challenges they face every day, because access to affordable contraception is now more important than ever.
Click here for Afaxys’ official position on women’s reproductive rights.