Equal Rights Advocates Condemns Leaked Roe Decision and its Destruction of Women’s Reproductive Liberty & Autonomy

May 3. 2022

For Immediate Release
May 3, 2022

Media Contact
Nazirah Ahmad
[email protected]

Equal Rights Advocates, a civil rights organization fighting for gender justice in workplaces and schools across the country, believes this outrageously wrong-headed ruling as drafted would have its most devastating impact on BIWOC and women living in poverty who already have narrow to nil access to abortion. Below is a statement from Noreen Farrell, Executive Director.

San Francisco – Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) is enraged by yesterday’s leaked draft decision written by Justice Alito overturning Roe v. Wade, which unanimously and unequivocally destroys the right to abortion based on the outrageous argument that abortion was never originally in the Constitution, there is no connection between abortion access and a woman’s capacity to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation, and that a woman’s ability to make her own reproductive decisions such as abortion does not fall within the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of ‘liberty.’

In its drafted form, this decision’s level of smug sexism and legal violence against women (and others who need full reproductive autonomy) is extraordinary. Roe was not the start of people having abortions; it was the start of having them safely. Without Roe providing the bare minimum access to a fundamental piece of reproductive healthcare, women experiencing unintended or unwanted pregnancies will be forced to carry to term and give birth against their will. Women will be forced to endure this outrageous loss of personal liberty in a country with the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, a lack of paid family leave, and income inequality. 

Let’s be clear: Roe v. Wade never guaranteed abortion access if you were a woman living in poverty, despite the fact it affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to one. Soon after the Court’s ruling, Congress enacted the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funds from being used to pay for abortion outside of the exceptions for rape, incest, or if the pregnancy is determined to endanger the woman’s life, resulting in dramatically limited coverage of abortion under Medicaid and other federal programs. The overturning of Roe v. Wade will make this lack of access worse. Women living at the edge of economic viability will not be able to afford to cross states to obtain an abortion if pregnant. Abortion bans will disproportionately harm poor women, sexually abused children, and others who lack full access to preventative reproductive health care – not to mention they put in harm’s way providers, medical professionals, and anyone who helps a person seeking an abortion. 

These ‘undue burdens’ Justice Alito and his fellow justices seem so skeptical of land particularly hard on Black and brown women and women living in poverty, who are currently being denied access to abortions. 

As an advocate for economic reform, we demand from our elected leaders renewed and stubborn commitment to rebuild the economic power of Black and brown women and women living in poverty. We demand immediate Congressional and state action protecting abortion. 

We will double down on efforts to improve the broader context of this decision, fighting for paid family leave, subsidized child care, solutions for Black maternal deaths, and expanded health and mental care coverage. We urge companies to take a public stand defending the constitutional right of reproductive health care access for their employees and opposing abortion bans, to cover moving and travel expenses of employees in abortion ban states seeking health care, to expand reproductive health benefits for employees to address harm from this decision. More broadly, we call for reforms building the economic and voting power of those women most harmed by this inevitable decision.

This is not a training exercise. The overturn of Roe v. Wade is inevitable, and it will take all of us to address its harm. 


About Equal Rights Advocates

Equal Rights Advocates fights for gender justice in workplaces and schools across the country. Since 1974, they have been fighting on the front lines of social justice to protect and advance rights and opportunities for women, girls, and people of all gender identities through groundbreaking legal cases and bold legislation that sets the stage for the rest of the nation.

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