Last Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Court removing the constitutional right to abortion deals a devastating blow to the basic human right to safe healthcare services. Women of color, especially Black women, transgender, and non-binary people already disproportionately face higher barriers to accessing safe, quality reproductive health services. With more restrictive options and outright bans of medically safe procedures in a growing number of states, barriers and risks continue to grow.

SJI’s mission and vision are rooted in the belief that supporting people in disenfranchised communities is key to economic advancement and to building careers that allow them, their families, and communities to thrive. While we support universal access to comprehensive and affirming healthcare, we want to highlight the economic inequities this decision will exacerbate.

  • Carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term quadruples the odds that a new mother and her child would live below the federal poverty line. Little if any additional investments are being proposed to address child poverty.
  • Echoing the thoughts of our partners at Jobs for the Future, women of color disproportionally work in lower-wage essential jobs and access can mean the difference between economic insecurity and economic advancement.
  • Up to 80% of women report experiencing some form of sexual violence in the workplace during their lifetimes. Those that are victims of assault and rape (again disproportionately women of color) will be left without recourse as states pass incredibly restrictive laws on both abortion and modern contraception.

The economic impacts of the Court’s decision and reflexive state legislation will restrain poor women and trans men excessively, but the full burden will be felt by all Americans. Regardless of wealth, as Tressie McMillan Cottom so powerfully states, when women and people who can become pregnant, “cannot move freely across this nation, sure that they have basic human rights as they migrate, we are all anchored to the poverty of their choices.”