Harvard Chan School forum panelists examined how a number of recent Supreme Court rulings are having a negative impact on public health and how their advocates can counter them
September 21, 2022 – “In just seven days last June,” Michelle Williams, dean of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said, “The U.S. Supreme Court set public health back 50 years.” That sober assessment, as Williams put it, “reduced efforts to address the immediate threat of climate change, expanded access to deadly firearms and, of course, eliminated rights,” according to a recent court decision. We kicked off a September 16th panel discussion at school focused on flipping Roe vs. Wade and aborting it.
moderate washington post Columnist Dana Milbank is a panel of experts who have tackled the impact of court decisions and the further threat of affirmative action and upcoming votes on voting rights. But the event was not all gloomy and devastating. Through discussion, participants will gain hands-on, inspiring insight into how public health advocates and the general public can work to mitigate the impact of some of the most alarming changes brought about by the courts. provided the words.
Attendees didn’t hesitate when Milbank asked each of them what words they would use to describe the current Supreme Court. was Her Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood and co-founder of Supermajority. Esther Sanchez-Gomez, attorney, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Leah Stokes, Anton Bonk Associate Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“This is very partisan, and not just jurisprudence, [also of] Basic human rights and accepted standards in this country no longer protect people,” Richards said. while being influenced by Dobbs overturn the decision Law vs Wade State laws banning abortion continue to get backlash, she said. The decision also resulted in a major shift in public opinion that could help mitigate the impact. “This is a long-term re-shift in voter enthusiasm,” Richards said, adding, “This is a major concern for Texas and Mississippi.” It’s not an issue, it’s people’s belief that it’s an issue that affects every family in America.”
Public opinion on climate change also suggests a disconnect with the Supreme Court, Stokes said. She noted that polls show that 70% of Americans want action to curb climate change emissions. West Virginia vs EPA Limit the government’s ability to do so. “What we’re seeing is really a minority rule,” she said. She cautioned that courts apply the principle of “major issues”. “They could say anything was a major issue,” she said. The ruling wasn’t too bad, she added, because new provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act allowed the EPA to regulate carbon pollution.
On the issue of gun rights, Sanchez Gomez noted that “there is a lot of political will to talk about modest, common sense life-saving measures” to curb gun violence. denounced the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State, revoking New York’s Concealed Carry Act and recognizing broad rights for citizens to carry guns in public. and went so far as to ridicule the ways it is proven to reduce gun violence, deciding to elevate his own ideologically biased anecdotes above public health research,” she said. . The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms still has broad regulatory authority to set rules on gun ownership at the federal level, according to Sanchez Gomez, and advocates are taking the fight directly against gun manufacturers through lawsuits. .
In the next session, the Court will consider two cases in the field of racial justice that can directly affect the health of vulnerable populations: affirmative action in schools and race-based gerrymandering. . Discussing the latter case, which involved North Carolina’s re-election, and the state’s Supreme Court ruling unconstitutional, Morial argued that legislative re-election districts were somehow subject to judicial review. “I call it ‘Hocus Pocus Logic,'” he said. He warned that by adopting such a leap of logic, the court is jeopardizing its own legitimacy and its 50-year role in helping advance civil rights in American society.
Morial and other panelists asked the public to voice public opinion against the Supreme Court’s recent decisions and on abortion rights, gun control, climate control, and other issues that could lessen the impact of those decisions. “Frankly, until Republicans start losing elections because of the very issues we’re talking about, we need She also emphasized the importance of public health research showing the impact of abortion bans and other policies on public health: It’s so important to have a medical voice in this conversation about why it’s a medical issue, not a medical issue,” she said.
“We need to connect the dots to the fact that the erosion of our rights and public health is hurting us, and use that to really inspire our activism,” Stokes agreed. participants also stressed the importance of collective action to raise public awareness and pressure authorities to act. Stokes said. “Groups can help you plug in, they can help you go to protests, they can help you work on the bill. Don’t think you have to.”
– Michael Blanding