WASHINGTON, June 25, 2022 – The following is a statement from the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) regarding the United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
On Friday, June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision overturning a half-century of abortion rights set in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. This ruling effectively returns the legality of abortion and whether there is a right to abortion to each state, and consequently triggering what will be a mosaic of laws on the reproductive health of women in the US.
This decision will isolate the poor, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and minority populations specifically, widening the already large gaps in healthcare for our most vulnerable communities. It is important to underscore that this will occur against a backdrop of the highest maternal mortality rates in Black and Latino women creating additional barriers to achieving health equity.
A lot of work has been done in recent years on the intersection of women’s reproductive health and cardiovascular health, one of the leading causes of maternal mortality. For almost 50 years, the Association of Black Cardiologists has devoted significant effort to the elimination of disparities related to cardiovascular disease in all people of color and the march toward health equity. As part of these efforts, the ABC has dedicated a long-term focus on cardiovascular disease in women and the policies impacting women’s health. In particular, more recent efforts have been directed to pursuing strategies and solutions to mitigate the Black maternal mortality crisis. Unfortunately, the loss of broad protections supporting the medical and often life-saving procedure of abortions, is likely to have a real impact on the maternal mortality rate, especially in those with congenital and/or acquired cardiovascular conditions where evidence-based guidelines advise at times on termination of such high-risk pregnancies. At the ABC, we truly believe a person’s fundamental health decisions are their own to make, in consultation with their clinician and loved ones. We believe that every woman, and every person, should be afforded the right to safe, accessible, legal, timely, patient-centered, equitable, and affordable healthcare.
As a cardiovascular society dedicated to health equity, we will continue to advocate in support of policies and organizations fighting for equitable solutions to health. We call on governments at the federal, state, and local levels to be intentional in making the required investments to improve maternal health for all especially for historically underserved groups as they operate in this new legal environment.
Anekwe E. Onwuanyi, MD, President of the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) and Rachel M. Bond, MD, Co-Chair of ABC’s Cardiovascular Disease in Women and Children Committee.
Founded in 1974, the ABC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the disparities related to cardiovascular disease and achieving health equity such that all people can live long healthy lives. Membership is open to all interested in the care of people with or at risk for cardiovascular disease, including health professionals, lay members of the community (Community Health Advocates), corporate and institutional members. Today, the ABC’s public and private partnerships continue to increase its impact in communities across the nation. For more information, visit www.abcardio.org and wearethefaces.abcardio.org or connect with ABC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.