We, the Board of the Pennsylvania affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, join our peer organizations to condemn the recent supreme court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, thus removing federal protection for abortion rights and endangering the lives of citizens and their families.
As providers who care for individuals across the lifespan, midwives hold the sacred privilege of witnessing the care, toil, and pain with which pregnancies are carried and babies are born. We have fought for generations to protect people’s right to safely give birth where, how, when, and with whom they choose. We acknowledge the physical, emotional, economic, and spiritual toll that pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, and parenting impose, even in the most ideal of circumstances. No one should be forced to undergo that process against their will, and midwives recognize abortion as a crucial component of reproductive healthcare. As with other healthcare decisions, the decision to have an abortion should reside exclusively with the pregnant person, in consultation with their healthcare provider. Such consultation is no place for government.
Restrictions on abortion inevitably worsen existing inequities in reproductive healthcare, and will have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable members of society, including adolescents, people of color, LGBTQIA+ communities, victims of sexual assault, and those with limited financial means. The impact of this ruling extends generations into the future, as unwanted children are at risk of adverse childhood experiences that hinder physical, emotional, and psychological development and threaten education, community-building, and personal happiness. The socioeconomic cost of this impact is likely to place further strain on our foster care system and on our systems for adoption, and it will undoubtedly strengthen the erosive power of the prison-industrial complex.
Pennsylvania is one of many states where the legal status of abortion is now vulnerable, and the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling further opens the door to government intrusions across a range of deeply personal domains. As midwives in the Commonwealth, who work in collaboration with those who support sexual and reproductive safety, we will continue to fight for bodily autonomy, patient rights, and equity in healthcare. We support legislation to expand access to abortion, including expanding the types of clinicians who can provide abortion services; federal efforts to protect interstate travel for abortion and access to medication abortion; and strengthening of family planning resources. We are committed to the core values of reproductive justice, which state that it is the right of each individual to choose to have a child, not to have a child, and to parent a child in a safe and healthy environment.
The Board of PA-ACNM:
Jessi Schwarz, Rebecca Ingalls, Mari-Carmen Farmer, Lauren Narbey, Alice Cline, Amanda Shafton, Tina Felten, Kim Amsley-Camp, Kamil El, Beth Franks, Ashley Amber
Quickening is the official member publication and digital news site for the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Content is written by and for ACNM members and staff.