The 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade should have been a day of celebration.
A day where we felt energized and ready to build on this historic victory for women’s rights and increase the number of working people who could access safe abortion and quality, affordable reproductive health care.
But as we recognize the 50 years since the constitutional right was passed, this day also falls just seven months short of when the U.S. Supreme Court stripped millions of working women, people and families of this fundamental freedom. The court’s decision only deepens existing inequities in a country with zero guaranteed paid family or sick leave and no national standard for affordable and accessible child care and early childhood education. We must now use this time to coalesce around a plan to organize and mobilize, not only against attacks on abortion but also on the far-reaching and sustained attack on workers’ rights.
In the months since the high court’s decision, working people have experienced chaos and uncertainty, and it is part of a larger campaign to deny us security and control over our own destinies. Each day, we hear unsettling stories from across the country about patients being denied lifesaving care; people’s choices being decided on the whim of right-wing judges; and extremist politicians floating dangerous legislation to criminalize women and medical professionals, and ban contraceptives. At the same time, many of those same judges and politicians also have joined forces with corporate interests to weaken workers’ ability to have a voice on the job through a union. The court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization posed an imminent threat to collective bargaining agreements, and the justices heard arguments earlier this month in a case that could deal a devastating blow to workers’ right to strike.
These fights are deeply connected, and in many states where abortion has been restricted, workers’ rights are also severely limited. Working people have the ability to respond and that’s why we launched a new map to help workers make informed decisions to better advocate for ourselves and our families.
The map demonstrates how anti-worker policies such as failing to raise the minimum wage, the lack of paid family and medical leave, “right to work” laws and poor access to critical programs like Medicaid interact to shrink democracy and create environments where working families struggle to thrive. Many of these states have lower life-expectancy rates, higher rates of poverty and low voter turnout.
This map is a powerful resource that will give you the information you need to fight back and includes trainings on how to have productive conversations on the issue of abortion and the economy with your community; collective bargaining language to strengthen union contracts; and a voter guide to help you connect these issues to state, local and federal elections.
Your quality of life should not depend on where you live. The labor movement will continue to be a force for progress and economic equality for working women and gender-oppressed people everywhere.