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This article was originally published on June 24, 2022.

Today, in a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturns the Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, paving the way for abortion to be criminalized in 22 states and severely limiting access to it in many more. 

“The impact of this decision on survivors of domestic and sexual violence and trafficking will be severe,” said Archi Pyati, Tahirih’s CEO. “Being forced to carry pregnancies to term can be mentally and physically traumatizing to people who experienced violence and push them and their children into unsafe situations. For immigrant survivors, today’s decision will have the added effect of causing fear of arrest, detention, and deportation, which may deter them from seeking other forms of reproductive health care. This is a dark day for survivors of violence and those who love and support them.” 

Unwanted pregnancies can occur as a result of gender-based violence, like rape, sex trafficking, child marriage, and domestic violence. Cutting off safe and legal access to abortions will further traumatize survivors who are already escaping violent situations where they may not have been able to consent to what was happening to their bodies. Access to the full range of reproductive health care and pregnancy outcomes is essential to survivors’ recovery and healing. 

Abortion bans disproportionately impact women of color, immigrants, survivors of violence, and women living in poverty. Controlling women through impregnation and threatening a woman with abandonment during her pregnancy are well-documented tactics of abuse and control. Immigrant survivors of gender-based violence are more vulnerable to these tactics because they fear arrest, detention, and deportation, and might be dependent on their abusers for security who wield these threats over them. 

Every individual should be able to make their own decisions based on their circumstances, their conscience, and their mental, emotional, and physical health needs. As an organization that advances gender equality and serves immigrant survivors of violence, Tahirih will continue to support our clients in making decisions that are right for them as they build a life of safety and dignity on their own terms. 

To speak with Archi Pyati on the ruling’s impact on survivors of gender-based violence, please contact Karla Flores at [email protected] 

The Tahirih Justice Center is a national, nonprofit organization that serves immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. By amplifying the experiences of survivors in communities, courts, and Congress, Tahirih’s mission is to create a world in which all people share equal rights and live in safety and with dignity. 

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