WASHINGTON (May 10, 2022)—In wake of the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion that, if held, would overturn the right to an abortion in the United States, many commentators are looking at how abortion is handled in other countries.

Shirley Graham is the Director of the Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs and associate professor of Practice of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs. 

In response to potential moves by the United State Supreme Court to alter legal rights to abortion, Professor Graham offered this analysis:

“What we see globally is that very often when right wing authoritarian regimes take power, one of the first things they do is push back women’s rights. It really raises the alarm bells in terms of the issue here in the U.S. Abortion rights are always about gender equality – or lack thereof – within a particular nation. When we roll back women’s rights, that state is saying that women no longer have the right to have full autonomy or sovereignty over their own bodies. If women don’t have rights over their own bodies and their own reproductive decisions, then how will they have rights in other areas of decision making in the U.S."