Statement of The Very Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), on the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
NAF and our members mourn the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a true champion for gender equality and an unmatched guardian of each individual’s right to choose abortion care.
Justice Ginsburg committed her life to fighting for justice and equality. She was the architect of the legal fight to establish protections against gender discrimination and an ardent supporter of same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care, and affirmative action. During her nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, she was a crucial defender of abortion rights and a sharp critic of restrictions that sought to roll back those rights.
In addition to her whip smart legal mind, what distinguished her approach was a battering-ram insistence on measuring the actual impact of laws on people’s lived lives—not theory, but human life as we must live it. Hers was the truly pro-life stance. In her fiery concurrence in the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, she wrote:
“Given those realities,” having listed the Texas TRAP law’s actual impact on the lives of those who know abortion is the care they need, “it is beyond rational belief that” that law “could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions. When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety. So long as this Court adheres to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey,” TRAP laws “that do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion cannot survive judicial inspection.”
The Supreme Court plays a critical role in protecting access to abortion care. The most recent abortion case, June Medical Services v. Russo, was decided by just one vote. NAF and our members remain extraordinarily grateful to Justice Ginsburg.
In these challenging times when abortion access remains at risk, it is more important than ever that NAF and our members fight, with wisdom, determination, and passion, to ensure that patients can access the abortion care they need. We stand ready, in Justice Ginsburg’s honor.
Our hearts go out to Justice Ginsburg’s family, loved ones, and friends. May her memory be a blessing.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia. NAF unites, represents, serves, and supports abortion providers in delivering patient-centered, evidence-based care.