Intended for healthcare professionals


Global implications of overturning Roe v Wade

BMJ 2022; 378 doi: (Published 18 August 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;378:o2025
  1. Susheela Singh, vice president for global science and policy integration,
  2. Gilda Sedgh, principal adviser on global policy
  1. Guttmacher Institute, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to: S Singh ssingh{at}

US decision must not derail international trend towards liberalisation of abortion law

Given the United States’ extensive global influence—including on sexual and reproductive health programmes—how might the recent US Supreme Court decision overturning the federal right to abortion1 affect the global trend towards expanding access to safe and legal abortion? This important question is considered from different perspectives and for different geographies by three linked articles (doi:10.1136/bmj.o1844, doi:10.1136/bmj.o1908, doi:10.1136/bmj.o1945).234 Although the reverberations of the Supreme Court decision are just beginning to play out, it is crucial to raise awareness of the potential for negative consequences outside the US—and to explore ways of averting such effects.

Negative effects on abortion laws and policies may surface in different ways, as noted by the authors of these articles. Perhaps the most straightforward is that the US decision may derail or slow down the trend towards liberalising abortion laws in countries around the world.23 The positive global trend is compelling: …

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