Statement on the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

Press Release
June 25, 2022

Statement on the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court’s decision to remove federal protections for women’s and reproductive rights by overturning Roe v. Wade revokes a constitutional right it granted nearly 50 years ago.

Please consider the facts.

On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, affirmed the legality of a woman’s right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision gave a woman the right to an abortion during the entirety of the pregnancy and defined different levels of state interest for regulating abortion in the second and third trimesters.

By stripping away this previously granted federal protection of a woman’s right to choose, the Supreme Court has imposed a major setback for women’s rights and inclusive freedom. This is disheartening. Especially when you consider that the majority (over 60%) of people, across racial and ethnic groups, express support for legal abortion, based on the latest national polling. And this decision raises the potential threat of the high court stripping away other hard fought constitutional amendments protecting other civil rights and freedom

Our founding principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are assailed by the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday. Many more women’s lives are likely to be endangered by carrying at-risk pregnancies or seeking dangerous alternatives to safe abortion. Women’s liberties will be denied by depriving them of the right to choose what happens with their bodies. Women’s pursuits of happiness are now threatened by being forced into situations they may not have chosen.

All of this is even more prevalent for women of color, who are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications.

We call on Congress to act swiftly to codify laws that will respect and protect reproductive rights. To secure rights of people who seek only freedom and dignity. For the safety and liberty of our fellow Americans, we must do this now. How many lives, how many individuals walking among us today, will be lost if we do not act now to secure reproductive rights for women?

We must make our voices heard so our legislators are moved to action. We must vote so we can elect legislators at every level who will secure and protect reproductive rights. The long arc of the moral universe bending toward justice remains on the ballot. Because for the millions of women in this country, their lives depend on it.

This is surely a heartbreaking setback for gender equity. But we will regroup, and we will continue our march toward justice.

Woodrow Keown, Jr.

President & COO
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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