Statement on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the United States

As global public health leaders, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, partners, and friends, we are deeply unsettled by the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This decision not only takes away the fundamental right to control one’s body and future, but this is also an urgent public health issue with far-reaching and negative impacts on the physical and mental health of individuals, families, communities, our nation, and the world as a whole

Access to high quality sexual and reproductive health services is a cornerstone of women’s and girls’ human rights. As global health practitioners, we have witnessed the devastating consequences of illegal and unsafe abortions on the lives of those who have undergone them. We have also seen, firsthand, how comprehensive reproductive care–including safe and legal abortion–can help individuals and families fulfill healthy, productive, and happy lives. 

In our work, we are responsible for promoting evidence-based solutions that provide optimal public health and upholding human rights for all people. Evidence shows that restricted access to abortion services does not reduce abortion rates, it only reduces safe abortions. In fact, when access is restricted, unsafe abortions increase, which lead to significantly higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality. In the United States, Black, Brown, and Indigenous girls and women, and the poor will disproportionately bear this burden. 

As global public health leaders from the WomenLift Health US cohorts of 2020, 2021, and 2022, we commit to intensifying the fight to ensure that all Americans have the basic right to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and justice, have the power to make their own reproductive health choices, and have control over their futures. We were pleased to see President Biden’s recent Executive Order aiming to protect patients’ safe and private access to abortion and contraception. This is a first step, but much more action is needed. We urge elected and appointed officials to codify access to abortion in the laws of this country through federal legislation and additional mandates. We also call upon our colleagues in the global public health sector to join us in expressing their support and taking action in the critical weeks and months to come. 

  1. Kaitlin Christenson, MPH; global health policy expert

  2. Jumana Qamruddin, MPH; global health policy and programming expert

  3. Kim Longfield, MPH, PhD; global health research and communications expert

  4. Margaret Prust, MPH; global health researcher

  5. Erika Larson, MSc; global health policy and advocacy expert

  6. Saroj Sedalia, MPH; global health policy and programming expert

  7. Bhavya Gowda, MSPH; global health programming expert

  8. Savitha Subramanian, MPH, DrPH; global health programming and research expert

  9. Nancy Puttkammer, MPH, PhD; global health program monitoring and evaluation specialist

  10. Rebecca Levine, MPH; global maternal, newborn, and child health policy and programming expert

  11. Samantha Diamond, MPH; global health policy and systems expert

  12. Samara Andrade, MA; global health policy and programming expert

  13. Susan A. Wang, MD, MPH; global health policy and programming expert

  14. Marissa Leffler, MPP; global health policy and programming expert

  15. Onikepe Owolabi, MD, MSc, PhD.; global health research and policy expert

  16. Diana Vaca McGhie, MPA; global health policy and international affairs expert

  17. Allison Spensley, MPH, MSW; global health policy, systems, and programming expert

  18. Natalie Meyers, MPH; global health programming expert 

  19. Sana Syed, MD, MSCR, MSDS; global health researcher and clinical investigator 

  20. Sara Clements, MPH; global health expert

  21. Mischka Garel, MPH; global health programming and research expert

  22. Debora B. Freitas López, MS; global health expert

  23. Lanice C. Williams, MSc, CHES; global health policy and gender equality advocate

  24. Skye Gilbert Yoden, MBA; digital and global health expert

  25. Sudha Jayaraman, MD, MSc, FACS; trauma and emergency surgeon, ICU doctor and global surgery expert

  26. Laura B. Lewandowski, MD, MS, FAAP; pediatrician and global health researcher

  27. Stephanie Gallagher, MA; senior technical advisor for private sector engagement in global health and SRHR 

  28. Allison Phillips; global health expert

  29. Erin Williams, MSW; global and trust-based grantmaker in sexual and reproductive health

  30. Rena Greifinger, MS; feminist philanthropy and global reproductive rights activist

  31. Kate Somers, JD, MPH, MA: global health policy and programming expert 

  32. Deepika Kandula, MPH, MBA; global health leader 

  33. Laura Fitzgerald, CNM, MSN; certified nurse-midwife, writer, senior technical advisor for maternal and newborn health, nursing & midwifery, and health systems strengthening

  34. Kate H. Rademacher, MHA; global health leader with a focus on sexual and reproductive health

  35. Rachel Deussom, MSc; global health systems and health workforce expert

  36. Ingrid Katz, MD, MHS; global health researcher

  37. Iris Mwanza, LLB, LLM, MA, PhD; global health/gender equality advocate

  38. Brittany Hume Charm, MBA; global health partnerships leader

  39. Katherine Van Loon, MD, MPH; oncologist, global oncology expert 

  40. Ritu Kamal, MS, MBA; global health technology innovation expert

  41. Bindiya Patel, MPA; global health leader

  42. Lyudmila Nepomnyashchiy, MSc; global health leader with a focus on market access

  43. Sia Nowrojee, MSW; global health and gender equality advocate

  44. Jacquelyn M. Caglia, MPH; global health programming and communications expert

  45. Tanvi Pandit-Rajani; family planning advocate and expert 

  46. Aurélie Brunie, MS, PhD; global health researcher

  47. Adanna Chukwuma, MD, MSc, PhD; global health policy expert

  48. Jana Smith, MPH; global health programming and research expert

  49. Elizabeth Turner, MSc, PhD; statistician and global health researcher
  50. Megan Huchko, MD, MPH; dual appointment as an associate professor in the department of obstetrics & gynecology and the Duke Global Health Institute
  51. Dr. Kashmira Date, MD, MPH, Director of Medical Affairs for Vaccines with Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health (GPH)
  52. Olivia Vélez, PhD MS MPH, RN; global digital health expert and nurse