Statement on Reproductive Rights and Maternal Health

The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will have a significant and lasting impact on the communities we serve. 59% of abortion patients are already parents, and half of them have two or more children. 93% of abortions take place in the first trimester, 43% within the first six weeks. Ending a pregnancy can occur as a medically necessary procedure, and this ruling threatens access to these life saving procedures. Breastfeeding USA affirms the rights of all people to access the full spectrum of reproductive care, including abortion. The mission of Breastfeeding USA is to provide evidence-based breastfeeding information and support, and to promote breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm. We empower women and families to make their own decisions with the evidence we provide. Bodily autonomy is important to the breastfeeding process, and we support fully informed access to all reproductive care and oppose forced birth and forced sterilization.

Breastfeeding USA supports an ongoing commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion in our support of individuals, families, communities, and within our organization. This decision by the Supreme Court is an attack on equality, racial justice, and economic justice. Abortion bans disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color; trans, queer, and non-binary folks; young, undocumented, poor, rural, and other folks with limited access to to healthcare. Many are part of communities with elevated rates of mother and infant mortality and morbidity. Maternal mortality rates in the US are rising, with Black women facing significantly higher rates, more than double that of white or Hispanic women. Infant mortality rates in the US are the highest among comparable countries. According to a 2016 study in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, “The postneonatal mortality disadvantage is driven by poor birth outcomes among lower socioeconomic status individuals.”

We stand with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Association of American Medical Colleges, who have all released statements emphasizing the health impact this ruling will have on thousands of American families. With the state making these most fundamental health decisions instead of leaving it to the individuals and their health care providers, people’s lives and well-being will be endangered.

In overturning Roe and Casey, the Supreme Court has taken a monumental step backward in human and civil rights for women, trans, and non-binary people. In their dissenting opinion, Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan said, “Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”

Aimee Teslaw, President
Amie Rakosky Hood, Vice President
On Behalf of the Board of Directors, Breastfeeding USA