Pride month ended with the devastating decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade. A half-century of enshrined reproductive protections vanished in one decision, and now the majority of U.S. states are seeing abortion bans that have been triggered or caused drastic reductions in abortion access immediately.

This Dobbs v. Jackson ruling is so wide reaching we will still be uncovering the devastating impact in the weeks and months to come. But, it is important to note that nearly half of women of reproductive age live in the 26 states which, because of the ruling, are certain to or already have triggered abortion bans. Further, the decision drastically impacts 15 million women of color, 2.8 million women with disabilities, 12.6 million people who are economically insecure, 1.3 million transgender people and 1.2 million LGBTQ nonbinary Americans.

This means millions of Americans, both queer and cisgender, will be facing continued economic burdens from this ruling, which continues to widen the divide, increase economic inequality and distress and reduce access to healthcare.

Prior to the Dobbs ruling, trans Americans already faced an undue economic hardship for securing affirming healthcare. A recent study by the Oregon Health and Science University uncovered 50% of all trans people in the United States are already having to travel out of state for affirming healthcare. Now with the Dobbs decision, even more trans people will be faced with further economic strain as healthcare rights and reproductive justice are denied to them at home.

We know traveling out of state already leads to increased costs, such as transportation, lodging, food and medical costs, along with the ability to take time away from work without fear of losing employment. When coupled with the Dobbs decision impacting all women, trans, intersex and non-binary people, we will see marginalized people tasked with shouldering even more of a burden for care that is a human right.

These continued legislative decisions are crippling marginalized people. Healthcare and bodily autonomy are human rights, whether the current makeup of the Supreme Court agrees or not, and we have a duty to extend rights and healthcare protections that alleviate financial strain on all Americans.

With rising costs being seen across the board, we must continue to find unity to achieve equal justice for all.

No one should have to leave their home ZIP code to find the reproductive healthcare they need. The opposition is clear, and they are organized. They are going to continue to focus on stripping rights from women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Americans. These decisions are causing deep harm and wider divides. As millions of Americans look for hope, it is our responsibility to push forward equality-minded candidates and legislation. It is terrifying to see our rights and economic security targeted, and now more than ever we must work tenaciously to push back and secure rights and healthcare for all.

Right now in North Carolina abortion access and trans healthcare are secure. We are also thankful for the recent executive order signed by Gov. Cooper vowing to continue to protect reproductive justice in our state and for those that need to travel to our state. But that is not enough; we must work together to stop the opposition’s agenda. They are emboldened by the Dobbs ruling, and as the Supreme Court already noted, LGBT+ rights are next under the microscope. The opposition is clearly coming for our very lives.

Equality NC is continuing to actively monitor these developments and continuing to support progressive equality-minded candidates as we move toward November.

We would encourage you to stay engaged with our work, our voting hub, and make your voices heard in municipal elections this month, and to organize for November. This summer the gauntlet has been thrown down, but together we know we can stop these harmful bills and bigoted rhetoric to achieve a North Carolina, and a country, that extends equality and justice for all.