Op-Ed | The future of women’s rights and health

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Jan. 22 marked the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion a constitutional right.

It is painful to reflect on this date in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe with the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Perhaps most painful is that Dobbs tells us something that we already knew. Health and health care prioritize men. Everything from clinical care to research starts with serving the needs of men – particularly White men. This is but one example of how patriarchy and racism intersect to make women’s rights and health invisible and low priority.

In the wake of Dobbs, the Roe anniversary is a critical moment for everyone to re-evaluate how we center and respect women and their rights.

As Black women, as physicians, and as civil servants of the nation’s largest health department and healthcare system, we were pleased to see New York City begin to develop an agenda for women’s health. In a major speech last week, Mayor Adams declared that New York City will become the “healthiest city for women and girls in the nation.” That declaration, and the work we are doing, is one step forward in the long journey towards the full expression and prioritization of women’s health and rights.

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