“We have your back”: A message to our members
8th July 2022
The US Supreme Court’s June 24th decision to strike down the provisions of Roe vs Wade has ignited global attention. In the last two weeks, we have seen many of our partners weigh in on that decision and its implications for women’s rights and health outcomes. For nearly two decades, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) has been a key actor, helping women realize their sexual and reproductive rights. And we have done so by advancing access to a broad range of quality-assured, affordable reproductive health supplies, including supplies associated with termination of pregnancy.
We are, therefore, becoming increasingly alarmed at the reports now emerging from within the US that many of these supplies are becoming weaponized within an abortion framework that continues to grow increasingly restrictive. And they are becoming weaponized despite the fact that many also have an important therapeutic role in managing a wide range of health outcomes. They are used to manage miscarriages, to prevent stomach ulcers, and often to perform simple uterine exams. And yet, we are hearing more and more accounts of pharmacists refusing to dispense drugs out of fear they will attract the attention of overzealous observers. That is what happens, one headline noted, “… when every patient is a suspect”.
We are also hearing reports about the suspension of research into the wider application of those drugs for cancer, alcoholism, and depression, among other conditions―precisely because of the uncertainty engendered by new laws aimed at tightening abortion restrictions. And we are hearing from politicians about plans to ban the shipment of such drugs across state lines―bans that have led in recent weeks to a rush on (and ultimately stockouts of) emergency contraception in pharmacies. This is a dangerous precedent that, even in these early days, is threatening women’s lives and their well-being. We are anxious about where this weaponization of supplies might lead, especially if it begins to undermine access in the countries where we work.
The RHSC has worked tirelessly to ensure the availability of a full range of affordable, quality-assured reproductive health supplies. Our members manufacture the medicines and supplies women need; they work to assure the quality of what is made; and they endeavor to guarantee the movement of supplies from manufacturer to the last mile. To each of our members we say: “We have your back”. We will continue to uphold our pillars of availability, quality, equity, and choice. We will do all in our power to ensure they do not fall victim to the uncertainties and pressures unleashed by the Supreme Court’s latest decision.