News & Ideas  -  Statement on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Article Defending Inclusive Democracy

For decades, the Charles F. Kettering Foundation has researched how democracies can function best. We’ve learned that a healthy democracy requires a foundation of trust—people’s belief that those who govern will listen to the wishes of the majority and act in fairness. Without this trust between citizens and governing institutions, divisions increase, democracies falter, and the people whose rights are ignored rise in anger.

The Supreme Court’s action in overturning abortion rights will erode trust and fracture American democracy. Its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization disregards the will of the majority of Americans. It strips rights from half the population. It invites widespread disillusionment and dissension. It imposes an unfair, and for many, an intolerable burden. Those who are too poor or who live in restrictive states will be unable to obtain legal and safe abortions—a nationwide right for a half century.

Regrettably, this decision may fuel the belief that the Supreme Court is controlled by justices bent on imposing their political will, heedless of legal precedent, upon the majority of Americans. This poses serious consequences to our democracy and the abiding faith that most citizens should have in their government.