The following is a joint statement about the Texas abortion law by the Global Justice Center, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.
The United States Supreme Court is holding oral arguments on November 1, 2021 on procedural questions related to challenges brought against an extreme anti-abortion law in the state of Texas. Key protections for the human rights of pregnant people in the United States are at stake.
In a recent brief to the court ahead of upcoming arguments on the state of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, the Global Justice Center, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch made clear that abortion bans, such as the 6-week restriction in Texas, are inconsistent with international human rights protections.
Upholding the Texas ban – as well as Mississippi’s 15-week ban, set to be heard by the court in December – would place the US at odds with a worldwide trend toward expansion of abortion access.
From Mexico to Ireland, countries around the world have taken major steps to broaden access to abortion in recent years. A significant majority of women of reproductive age – almost 60 percent – now live in countries where abortion is generally available.
In addition, these state abortion bans place the US in direct violation of its human rights obligations. The rights implicated in these cases – to life, nondiscrimination, freedom from torture, and privacy – come from binding treaties the US has ratified. Even the anti-abortion group C-Fam acknowledged in its brief to the court that all nine independent expert bodies monitoring state compliance with major international human rights treaties have recommended that abortion should be made more available in the US.
This case is just the latest effort in the US anti-abortion movement’s campaign to make abortion inaccessible across the country. Whether in Texas, Mississippi, or Florida, these attempts violate the human rights of pregnant people in the US. If the US is to respect human rights, it needs to expand, not restrict, access to abortion.