June 24, 2022
Please see below for a statement from Regina LaBelle, distinguished scholar and director of the Addiction and Public Policy Initiative, Shelly Weizmann, project director of the Addiction and Public Policy Initiative, Sonia Canzater, associate director of the Infectious Diseases Initiative, and Somer Brown, fellow, on the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
When the effects of today’s Supreme Court decision inevitably ripple through our communities, women with substance use disorders will be disproportionately and gravely harmed. Before today, lawmakers in many states had already criminalized having an addiction while pregnant and parenting. These punitive and discriminatory policies have overwhelmingly impacted women of color, in particular Black and Indigenous women.
Now, women with substance use disorders, a population already at greater risk of miscarriage and unplanned pregnancy than the general population, will have even less access to needed health care to manage their own reproduction. This loss of autonomy will yield higher rates of overdose, death, incarceration, and destabilization of families, children, and communities.
Today, we face an overdose crisis, a global pandemic, mass incarceration, and rapid inflation. Today’s Supreme Court decision will rob many women of their reproductive autonomy, putting their health at risk and exposing them to policies that incarcerate them for their substance use disorders. Meanwhile, the availability of services and supports for women with substance use disorders – and particularly women with children – are wholly inadequate.
We ask our partners in the addiction policy space and all those fighting in opposition to today’s decision to stand behind the women who face dehumanization and stigma from all sides and to continue advocating for evidence-based policies that promote the health and wellbeing of the American public.
For further comment or to schedule an interview, please contact Lauren Dueck at Lauren.Dueck@georgetown.edu.