Equal Rights Advocates Enraged by Overturn of Roe v. Wade but Determined to Continue Fighting for Reproductive Justice
June 24. 2022
For Immediate Release
Jun 24, 2022
Statement by Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), which fights for gender justice in workplaces and schools across the country
June 24, 2022 — Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) is outraged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Association overturning the constitutional right to abortion first upheld in Roe v. Wade. The decision gives a green light to more than 26 states implementing abortion bans.
With this decision, our movement has lost 50 years of gender justice. We are readying ourselves for the gender and human rights battle of the century—for our bodily autonomy.
This devastating decision threatens the lives and health of millions across the country, as well as decades of gender justice progress. Studies confirm that women forced to carry pregnancies to term face greater health risks, especially Black women, who are three times more likely to die during childbirth than their white counterparts. Forced births also have a dire impact on the economic security of women, as well as transgender and nonbinary parents. One in four working women have abortions. Women who are denied abortions are three times more likely to leave the workforce. They are more likely to live in poverty, accumulate debt, and have fewer employment options and the resulting financial harm affects the economic wellbeing of their children.
The decades-long attack on the constitutional right to abortion has never been just about abortion. It’s about keeping women in restricted gender roles—raising children instead of working, dependent on male breadwinners, and isolated at home from the political process affecting their lives. This is evident in the context of today’s Supreme Court decision. As the ink on the Dobbs decision dries, legislators across the nation are refusing measures that support women in the workplace, including mothers and caregivers. These include subsidized child care, family income support, paid family leave, a living and equal wage, and prohibitions against gender-based violence and harassment that ensure women and other parents stay in the workplace, out of poverty, and economically secure.
This effort will not end with abortion. In its distortion of the law, today’s Supreme Court decision threatens a range of critical reproductive health decisions and other rights grounded in the right of privacy. Emboldened states will not only begin criminalizing access to abortion. They may well take aim at contraception, same-sex marriage, and other rights. This is more than a slippery slope. This is a cliff our hard-fought and critically necessary constitutional and civil rights could fall off.
It is clear that the Supreme Court has abdicated its responsibility to follow precedent and protect our rights and liberties, so we must use all methods at our disposal to ensure that women have access to safe and legal abortions.
- Legislative and judicial action: State and federal leaders must use every tool in their toolbelt to enact laws and constitutional amendments that protect and preserve access to abortion as fundamental reproductive healthcare. Attorneys around the nation must defend them in court, and pursue other novel litigation strategies.
- Reproductive healthcare funding: Our elected officials must act now to expand federal and state funding for abortion and other reproductive healthcare. Even in states where abortion rights are protected by the state’s laws or constitution, daunting barriers to abortion access persist based on geography, race, and income level. Absent immediate funding investments, these longstanding reproductive healthcare inequities will worsen as out-of-state residents seek abortions in safe havens.
- Reproductive healthcare data collection: To respond and overcome the gender justice loss today, we must center the communities most impacted. We call for immediate and comprehensive data collection tracking the short and long-term impacts of today’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Continued studies like the Turnaway Study, examining the effects of unwanted pregnancy on women’s lives, must be funded.
- Corporate defense of abortion access: We urge companies to take a public stand in defending their employees’ constitutional right to reproductive healthcare access by opposing abortion bans. They should cover moving and travel expenses for employees in abortion ban states who seek healthcare and expand reproductive health benefits for all employees.
Equal Rights Advocates stands ready to amplify, support, and defend state legislative and constitutional responses to the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
We will prioritize building the power of voters harmed most by today’s decision.
ERA will double down to improve the economic security of women and others whose ability to participate at school and in the workplace depends on reproductive autonomy, paid leave, childcare access, fair pay, and other reforms.
This fight is not over. It has just begun. Roe v. Wade has fallen, and it will take all of us to combat the harm.
To speak to Noreen Farrell, please contact Tash Amadi at [email protected] or 202-436-4993.
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.