By Janell Gore, South Kern Sol

Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) released a press release after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade stating that they are enraged by the ruling but determined to keep fighting. 

“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,” ERA stated in the release. 

The release explains that the Dobbs v. Jackson’s ruling threatens the lives and health of millions of people and the economic impacts it will have on parents. They point out that women who are forced to carry are three times more likely to leave the workforce and that they will have more health risks. 

“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.” said ERA in the release linking to the CDC maternal mortality rates. “Forced births also have a dire impact on the economic security of women, as well as transgender and nonbinary parents.”

ERA states that the decision was not just to ban abortion but to restrict women to steryotypical gender roles, espeically since meausres are not being added to support working mothers. 

Measures that would help 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. 

“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,” stated ERA.

The release goes on to say that the supreme court will not stop at abortion but it will go after other rights of privacy sucah as contraception and same sex marriage. 

The release ended with the following demands to protect reproductive rights: 

▪ 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. 

“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,” said ERA.