Feminists React: 50 Years After Roe, the Fight Is Far From Over

People gather to protest the Supreme Courts 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization at Washington Square Park on June 24, 2022, in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images)

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade. On what would have been a day of celebration of 50 years of legal abortion throughout the U.S., we’re instead mourning the loss of our (apparently not-so) fundamental right to bodily autonomy. 

But don’t let triumphant Republicans or smug Supreme Court justices fool you—the fight is far from over. 

Feminist advocates mourned the loss of Roe while simultaneously recommitting to the fight for full abortion access and reproductive rights.

While this Roe Anniversary marks a reminder of what we’ve lost, this is also a reminder that, as reproductive justice partners have long said, Roe was always the floor—not the ceiling—and now we must reimagine what is possible for our communities. A vision for the future that centers those historically left behind will create a more equitable health care landscape for all.

—Planned Parenthood Action Fund

This weekend, we should be celebrating 50 years of a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. Instead, last year’s decision sent us back to square one.

Radical politicians and extremist jurists have made it clear how little they value women’s lives and with Roe gone, there is little to prevent them from implementing reckless policies that will dismantle women’s rights. We must reflect on Roe’s legacy to remind us that our fight continues.

 Women are not objects to be controlled to advance a political agenda.  Although we cannot celebrate the 50th anniversary of Roe, we continue to stand as one — fighting for reproductive equity and equality. 


—Christian F. Nunes, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

The unsound Dobbs decision leaves far too many women and girls and transgender and nonbinary people searching for ways to get the abortion access and reproductive health care they deserve. Today, we recommit ourselves to the fight to ensure that every person can make decisions about their bodies. We know that it is people of color, low-income people, and transgender and nonbinary people who already face so many discriminatory barriers to accessing health care and who are most harmed by this devastating decision. Other rights could be next.

Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Though it held no legal standing beyond U.S. borders, Roe inspired feminist movements worldwide to demand the right to bodily autonomy. Over 60 countries expanded access to abortion in Roe’s wake. 

Today, feminists across the globe mourn in solidarity with those in the U.S. We mourn the loss of this day’s meaning — the celebration of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade becoming the law of the land. What once was a day of triumph is now a bitter reminder of a loss suffered due to the U.S. government’s failure to sufficiently protect abortion access by law over the past 50 years.

—Giselle Carino, CEO of Fòs Feminista

In the seven months since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Latinas/xs have been the most impacted by bans on abortion care. Many people are confused about what the laws are in their own state and where they can go for information or healthcare, which has made it easier to spread misinformation about abortion. And for people without documentation, traveling to another state for abortion care means risking family separation, detention, and deportation.       

This cannot continue.

—Lupe M. Rodriguez, executive director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice

Today is a sober moment. The reversal of Roe v. Wade was the biggest setback for women’s rights in U.S. history. For the first time in 50 years, the right to make decisions about one’s health, life, and future in connection with pregnancy is being denied.

—Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights

The Court got Roe right 50 years ago. It was a balanced decision with broad national consensus that the majority of Americans have continued to support for the last 50 years. And it was a constitutional principle upheld by justices appointed by Democratic and Republican Presidents alike. ….  Countless [women’s lives] and futures have been saved and shaped by the Roe v. Wade decision.

I continue to call on the Congress to pass legislation to make those protections the law of the land once and for all. Until then, I will continue to use my executive authority to protect women and families from harm in the wake of the Dobbs decision.

—President Joe Biden

All this goes to show that Roe may be gone—but the fight for full access to abortion and reproductive healthcare goes on. As our executive director of partnerships and strategy Jennifer Weiss-Wolf wrote this week, “The tenets of reproductive health, rights and justice—and those of a healthy democracy—are not only inextricably interconnected, but essential to our nation’s promise.” Women’s fundamental rights are deeply necessary for the health of our democracy—Roe’s overturn doesn’t change that. 

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Katherine Spillar is the executive director of Feminist Majority Foundation and executive editor of Ms., where she oversees editorial content and the Ms. in the Classroom program.