Abortion Access Is an Economic Justice Issue, and Democrats Should Remember That
At the same time, legislatures across the country are enacting increasing numbers of mandatory waiting periods, regulations that shut down abortion clinics, policies banning insurance coverage of abortion, and other laws that restrict women’s ability to access care. The long-term economic effects are not promising. The Turnaway Study, a landmark longitudinal survey from the University of California at San Francisco’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health that ran from 2008 to 2015, highlights what happens to women who seek but are “turned away” from the abortion care they request. The study tracked 30 abortion facilities in 21 states, comparing women who did not get their abortion with those on similar financial footing who did. The women who were denied were three times more likely to be below the federal poverty line two years later.
That’s why it’s not enough for Democrats concerned with economic justice to only talk about parental leave, equal pay, paid sick leave, and raising the minimum wage, without including access to reproductive health care and abortion. While all of these are critical to raising women out of poverty no matter their decisions, being able to determine when and if you want to raise a family is a crucial factor to determining economic stability.
The “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” platform from congressional Democrats in 2012 was true, but it was incomplete without naming the full range of reproductive rights—including affordable contraceptive services and abortion—as essential.