Reproductive Justice is Public Health


Pink graphic with megaphone that says "reproductive justice is public health"
Since this blog was posted on May 12, 2022, the Supreme Court dismantled the constitutional protection of the right to have an abortion. Visit our Sexual and Reproductive Health page to learn more about our services and Planned Parenthood's website to learn more about options.

Last week, a draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court was leaked, indicating the Court’s intention to strike down Roe v. Wade, a decision that guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. If this decision stands, it will have significant negative impacts on the health of our community.

We aren’t here to tell you what your personal beliefs and decisions should be, but we are here to educate on the impacts policy decisions have on public health. We’ve outlined four key facts for Dane County below.

Abortion is still legal.

It’s important to note that nothing has changed yet in the abortion policy landscape. People are still able to receive abortion services in the U.S., including in Dane County. People who need to access abortion services can do so at Planned Parenthood or other providers.

Banning abortions doesn’t reduce abortions, but it does lead to worse public health outcomes.  

Abortions are very common; 1 in 4 women in the United States will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old. You know someone who has had an abortion. 60% of people in America want abortion to be legal.The U.S. already ranks as the worst wealthy country for maternal mortality. What’s worse, Black women in the U.S. are three times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. Forcing people to give birth will only further exacerbate these inequities in our community.

We know that restricting abortion access does not reduce abortions, it only makes them unsafe. Before abortion was legalized in the 1970s, unsafe abortions caused at least 1 in every 6 pregnancy-related deaths. Abortions have actually been decreasing in the U.S. for decades, likely due to access to contraception and greater sex education access. To reduce the number of abortions, we should rely on evidence-based reproductive health policies, not restricting abortion access. Free and easily accessible long-term contraception and comprehensive sex education in schools are two policy solutions that reduce unwanted pregnancies.

graph showing rate of abortions in the U.S. per 1,000 people aged 15-44. In 1980 the rate was 29.3, in 2017 the rate was 13.5


Public Health Madison & Dane County provides reproductive health care to the community, including birth control and emergency contraception (like Plan B).

We provide a wide range of sexual health services to anyone who needs it. Our services are confidential, meaning it’s just between you and the health care providers at our clinic. Depending on your income, services will either be free or for a small fee. We provide the following care:

  • Information for planning a healthy pregnancy

  • Some forms of birth control, including pills, patches, Depo shot, and rings
  • Free emergency birth control (similar to Plan B)
  • STI testing and treatment
  • Free condoms and lube
  • Referrals to PrEP, a safe and effective daily pill that prevents HIV transmission
  • Referrals to other health care services
  • Confidential partner notification
  • Answering sexual health questions

You can learn more and make an appointment on our website.

We support people through all options counseling.

When we are supporting someone who is pregnant through our sexual health clinic, WIC, or our pregnancy support programs, we support all options counseling. That means providing nonjudgmental support for our clients no matter what they decide to do with their pregnancy—whether that is abortion, adoption, or parenting. If you come to us for services around pregnancy and birth, we will never judge you for your choices—we will simply provide you accurate, confidential health information and support you in whatever decision is best for you.

This content is free for use with credit to Public Health Madison & Dane County .

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