The members of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP, AFT Local 5017) are voicing our outrage at the ongoing attack on women and healthcare autonomy represented by the recent Supreme Court decision. The nearly 6,000 healthcare professionals we represent across Oregon and Southwest Washington are committed to the idea that healthcare access is a human right, and attacks on reproductive freedom are an act of violence against both the patients we serve and our rights as working people. Access to reproductive care, including abortion, are essential healthcare services that patients need to maintain a comprehensive approach to health and wellness. Access to abortion keeps women and people experiencing pregnancy safe. It ensures that they can make the right choices for their lives, and that when they seek care they do so in the most medically supportive environment possible.
An attack on reproductive rights is an attack on the entire working class. The right to abortion is a key piece of ensuring equality, and the forthcoming prohibitions will be felt most acutely by marginalized populations already facing discrimination. In many of the states with “trigger laws,” the restrictions go even further, essentially compelling women and people experiencing pregnancy to give birth no matter the risks to their health and regardless situation that the pregnancy emerged from (including sexual assault). The members of OFNHP are “Patient Defenders,” medical workers bound together by our desire to fight for our patients and to create a more equitable healthcare system.
OFNHP commits to working in solidarity with other unions, community groups, and patient advocacy organizations to defend against these assaults on freedom. We will work tirelessly to re-establish nationwide access to our basic rights. We call on all labor and healthcare organizations to take a clear stance in opposition to this ruling and to dedicate themselves to the struggle for reproductive justice. When workers come together we build the kind of power necessary to fight back against exploitation and injustice.
Our rage is shared across the country as healthcare workers are becoming the vanguard of the struggle for a better future, and our voices are needed now more than ever. We will continue to act as frontline defenders of comprehensive healthcare, as we have done throughout this pandemic. This will require us to fight on every possible front: in the legislature, in the courthouse, on the shop floor, and in the streets through direct action, mutual aid, and solidarity. We are joining together in coalition with organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America and PPAO to ensure that this fight is part of a larger vision for a more equitable America.
Instead of trusting women and people experiencing pregnancy this deplorable decision further strips them of complete personhood by disallowing bodily self-determination. This is certainly part of the continued war on women and gender non-conforming people waged by an increasingly volatile far-right. We will not cease to fight until our patients have access to all of the life saving healthcare options they need, and that means doing what it takes to put abortion access in the hands of every person who needs it.