[This post was originally published by the Economic Policy Institute. Click here to read the original.]
A leaky draft of a majority opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito strongly suggests that the Court will rule to strike down Roe vs. Wade and Family planning c. Casey, the two landmark cases that upheld the right to abortion nationwide over the past half-century. If the final decision largely follows what is outlined in the leaked draft, abortion services will be drastically reduced, if not outright banned, in more than half the country.
Abortion is often framed as a “culture war” issue, distinct from “bread and butter” material economic issues. In reality, abortion rights and economic progress are deeply intertwined, and the impending loss of abortion rights means the loss of economic security, independence and mobility for millions of women. The fall of deer will be an additional economic blow, as women in the 26 states likely to ban abortion already face an economic landscape characterized by lower wages, labor force and access to health care.
The economic life, livelihoods and mobility of women are at the heart of the reasoning to override deer.
In the majority project opinionJustice Alito rejected the argument in Casey that women had shaped their lives, relationships and careers with the availability of abortion services, writing “this form of dependency hinges on an empirical question that is difficult for anyone – and particularly a court – to assess, namely the effect of the right to abortion on society and in particular on the lives of women. In fact, this empirical question has been definitively assessed and resolved. A rich and rigorous social science Literature examined both the detrimental effect of a refusal of abortion on the lives of women, as well as the individual and societal economic benefits of legalizing abortion, as detailed in the in-depth study amicus brief deposit Dobbs on behalf of more than 100 economists.
Some of the economic aspects consequences to be denied an abortion include a upper chance of being in poverty even four years later; a lower likelihood of being employed full-time; and an increase in unpaid debts and financial difficulties that last years. Laws that restrict abortion providers, the so-called “TRAP” laws (targeted regulation of abortion providers), have led women in these states to be less likely to access higher-paying professions.
On the other hand, environments in which abortion is legal and accessible have lower rates of first births and marriages among adolescents. The legalization of abortion has also been associated with reduced maternal mortality among black women. The possibility of delaying having a child has been found result in a significant increase in wages and labor income, particularly among black women, as well as an increase probability, likelihood of the level of education. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen concluded that “eliminating women’s right to decide when and if they want to have children would have very detrimental effects on the economy and set women back decades”.
The draft opinion of this openly partisan Supreme Court ignores the rigorous data and empirical studies demonstrating the significant economic consequences of this decision. In doing so, he exposes the cruel and misogynistic policies that motivate him. Justice Alito’s dismissal of claims that forcing women to have unwanted pregnancies imposes a heavy burden is shockingly flippant, as he simply asserts “that federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy, that pregnancy and childbirth leave are now guaranteed by law. in many cases, that the costs of pregnancy-related medical care are covered by insurance or government assistance…”.
Every statement in this casual litany is hugely misleading. The women are still systematically fired for being pregnant, nearly 9 out of 10 female workers lacked paid leave in 2020, the costs maternity care with insurance has resurrected heavily and constitute a heavy economic burden even for middle-income families. And many states certain or likely to ban abortion after the fall of deer not have extended Medicaid, leaving women without insurance face much higher costs, especially in the immediate postpartum period. And, of course, our failing health care system often imposes the ultimate cost of all on pregnant women: the United States rate from the mother mortality, especially for black women, ranks last among such wealthy countries. In short, the potential costs of childbirth are indeed high, and it is women who must decide if and when they wish to bear them.
Recognizing that abortion is an economic issue is an important step in building support for the protection of women’s right to access. But this recognition also allows us to see the potential downfall of Roe v. Wade as a key part of a larger polity and economics of control. Twenty-six states currently have laws or constitutional amendments on their books that prohibit abortion. If Roe is declared void, these bans will go into effect. Low- and middle-income women, especially black and brown women, will bear the brunt of the impact. Many states where pre-existing abortion bans are held at bay by Roe are also states that have created an economic policy architecture of low wages, barely functioning or funded public services, unlimited jobs and no paid vacations. or parental support. In these states, the denial of abortion services is one more element in a sustained project of economic enslavement and disempowerment.
Figure A shows the 26 states that have “trigger bans” that will apply immediately after the SCOTUS ruling, pre-Roe bans or extreme limits, and probable bans. Figure A also shows the minimum wage in that state, whether that state is a so-called “right to work” state that makes it harder for workers to bargain collectively and unionize, whether the state has expanded Medicaid, and the rate of incarceration for every 100,000 people in that state. While wages and access to health care (through Medicaid) are relatively obvious measures of well-being, it is also useful to examine so-called “right to work” laws because the power of workers and unionization also have close links with economic and social factors. , and physical health. Mass incarceration and the criminal justice system are also deeply tied to racial and economic inequalities, from the impact of a criminal record on employment and earnings to intergenerational effects on families and communities.
It’s no coincidence that the states that will ban abortion first are also largely the states with the lowest minimum wages, the states least likely to have expanded Medicaid, the states most likely to be anti-union “right to work” states and states with above average incarceration rates. For example, among states that will ban abortion, the average minimum wage is $8.39, compared to $11.48 in states that have access to abortion. Similarly, 10 of the 26 anti-abortion states have not expanded Medicaid, and all but two states are anti-union “right to work” states. While the nationwide incarceration rate is 419 per 100,000 people, in the 26 anti-abortion states the average incarceration rate is 439 per 100,000 people, compared to 272 for states without abortion restrictions. ‘abortion. The consequences of low wages and lack of access to health care, including abortion services, hit black women particularly hard in many of these states. There’s a long history of racism motivating political organizing, like the rise of “right to work” legislation in the Jim Crow South, or the convoluted combination of anti-abortion policies and backlash against efforts. of desegregation during the political realignment of the 1970s.
Policymakers and advocates must recognize that Roe’s downfall is an economic problem and would be yet another victory for the economics of control and disempowerment – low wages, weak worker power and growing disinvestment. Reproductive justice is the key to economic justice and protects the humanity, dignity and right of women to exercise freedom over their own choices in the economy.
Asha Banerjee is an economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, which first post this report.