The Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and with it nearly 50 years of women’s reproductive rights. We are fortunate in Maryland that voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure in 1992 that led to a statutory right to an abortion. The Maryland legislature has vigilantly and successfully defended against attempts to weaken those rights over the past several decades. But we cannot take those rights for granted.
Intimate partner violence includes sexual violence and reproductive coercion. Research shows that nearly 1 in 10 women in the U.S. has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime. Reproductive coercion is often just one of many tactics abusive partners use to control their victim. Lack of equitable access to health resources and reproductive education, coupled with a history of being victimized and exploited by health institutions makes Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized victims even more vulnerable to unintended pregnancy due to reproductive coercion. Some victims of intimate partner rape become pregnant as a result and some choose to have an abortion.
Once the Supreme Court issues its decision to overturn Roe, many victims of intimate partner rape in numerous states around the country will not be able to get an abortion under their state’s law. This will leave many of these victims forever tied to their abusive partners and at risk of further abuse.
House of Ruth Maryland, guided by its mission, leads the fight to end violence against women and their children by confronting the attitudes, behaviors and systems that perpetuate it, and by providing victims with the services necessary to rebuild their lives safely and free of fear. This includes sexual violence and reproductive abuse.
House of Ruth Maryland will continue to support survivor actions to create safety including a woman’s right to choose the best decisions for herself and her family.