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Women Need Abortion Rights to Participate Equally in Workforce

Abortion rights protect women’s fundamental equality, not just philosophically (women are as smart as men and deserve the dignity of controlling their bodies—good grief! do we still have to say that?) but practically, economically. Labor Notes writers Alexandra Bradbury and Sara Hughes call on labor unions to stand up for reproductive rights because women need to be able to control their bodies and their pregnancies to participate freely and fully in the workforce:

…abortion is a labor issue.

How so? For one thing, workers who get pregnant are penalized at work.

Pregnancy discrimination is very real. Many jobs make it tough to get light duty or accommodations. And parenthood brings the “mommy tax”—a lifetime loss of income for women who have children, thanks to stingy parental leave and unaffordable childcare.

Missed opportunities, resume gaps, reduced work hours—all these impinge on women’s equality at work, not to mention their union participation.

Labor must fight to change all that; even a wanted parenthood shouldn’t carry such steep penalties. But the current reality is that forced pregnancy will absolutely harm workers at work [Alexandra Bradbury and Sara Hughes, “Yes, Abortion Rights Are a Union Issue,” Labor Notes, 2022.07.27].

The next time you hear some Republican like Kristi Noem covering her misogynist theocracy with the claim that she’s committed to protecting women, remind that Republican that equality in the economy depends on recognizing women’s right to make decisions about there own bodies.


  1. 96Tears 2022-07-31 11:20

    If there’s one positive aspect to the SCOTUS ruling on Roe v. Wade it’s that it removes the shield that has protected the Taliban Wing of the Republican Party.

    Prior to the ruling and Justice Clarence “Long Dong Silver” Thomas’ statement that gay rights and contraception rights should be next on the chopping block, Republicans could introduce the whackiest legislation with the safe knowledge that nobody would take them too seriously because SCOTUS would knock their proposals down. Now, Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court seems fully prepared to reverse constitutional protections dating back to Dred Scott.

    In other words, voting really, really, really matters more than ever.

    South Dakota voters told us twice they strongly oppose removing the protections of Roe v. Wade. This is why Governor Noem is running like a chicken from holding a special session. There has been a ton of creepy bills introduced over the years to hammer away at abortion rights and rigging constitutional protections to give zygotes full protections of living people. Now that Thomas has earmarked protections for non-hetero people and basic contraception for destruction, the 2023 session will be downright freaky. Might be a good idea for Noem to resign so she can keep her focus on the presidency and not get swept into the vortex with the nutjobs.

    She’s going to need a faster horse.

    This makes it all the more disappointing that Democrats in South Dakota badly flunked the competency test when it came to recruiting candidates for the Legislature. SCOTUS has made serving in state legislatures more important than ever. Perhaps, even more critically important to protecting basic rights than serving in the U.S. Congress. This is an opportunity that was sadly squandered.

  2. Bob Newland 2022-07-31 12:08

    Notwithstanding 96’s optimistic appraisal, I can’t see a single good thing about the Roe reversal. The deleterious effects will resonate when my grandkids’ grandkids start voting. Which will be about the time the six stooges on the court age out.

  3. O 2022-07-31 13:12

    Shall we assume that fully-paid maternity/child leave will be part of the next legislative session from our mother-loving GOP? Certainly this will be part of a thoughtful legislative agenda that addresses all of the social/medical/legal/labor consequences of mandatory delivery of all pregnancies in SD.

    In the absence of GOP leadership, the Democrats need to be advocating for practical reform moving forward in the new Post-Roe landscape of SD. Pining for the the old days will neither help women nor will it be effective politically. Certainly, birth control will be the next GOP take-away, so forced motherhood needs to be addressed in pragmatic terms.

  4. larry kurtz 2022-07-31 13:37

    The KKK’s long march to erasing the power in DC is nearly won and the Balkanization of the United Snakes almost complete so praise the whored and pass the ammunition.

  5. All Mammal 2022-07-31 14:43

    Certain discussions been wringing these from me out of nowheres. So here goes

    Dog days a’fleeting
    Standing room- no seating
    Shuffle in closer
    Pressed shoulder to shoulder
    We know why we are gathered here
    Summertimes the killing season
    ‘It’s hot out f ucker’ is a good enough reason
    We know why we are gathered here today, yes
    Dread heavy as lead without peace lain to rest
    We know. We dug the hole
    Knee high by the fourth of july
    Knee high is too young to die
    The heat in the tomb loosens the neckties
    Unconsciously the freed necks make it more clear
    We know why we are all here
    We hate being here and want to quarrel
    We want a physical pain and life sentence without parole
    Collective murder death suicide
    Two trite pallbearers assert our actions will be justified
    Baked leather would be more tender
    The dogs and the day and the cain never say surrender
    Strike up the requiem and join me in a bender
    We will be here forever getting gassed
    in the burning of the yowling yellow dogged day no thing can outlast
    Thats why we are all here a’feeling useless
    Summertime’s livin is easy like slipping and skipping rope into nooses
    Lazily the pup’s shadow remains short for stretched hours
    We know why we stand here with necks like snapped stems of sunflowers
    We are gathered here in condemnation and know why
    Our congregation planted flat-footed in this skillet whilst we fry
    Too spiteful to the dirt to shed a itty bitty tear
    Without spite our high-noon fugal state wouldn’t have brought us all here
    Damn the thirsty hallowed ground
    She ate our kids and wound up round
    We are gathered here today dead and grey ashes and dust
    To pay
    our final respects before the pain and rage combust
    Our sincerest beseeching denied will burn the whole damned thing sky high
    Let it be done
    Let the dog days lie.

  6. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-31 15:22

    ll Mammel–Keep writing…you may be the e.e. cummings of our age.

  7. Edwin Arndt 2022-07-31 15:38

    And if no one is willing to have children, eventually there will
    be no work force. Do you people ever think ahead?

  8. mike from iowa 2022-07-31 15:48

    It is a short, precipitous step from forced birth to forced pregnancies. Kristian Nationalists can easily AI young girls between 8 and 10 years old. After a couple of forced pregnancies and forced bitrths it be comes second nature to a woman’s body and mindset.

  9. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-31 16:45

    ED–don’t worry..people won’t stop having children..As Lawrence pointed out in “Wives and Lovers” procreation is the force which spins the Earth on its axis. We’ve conquered bacteria caused fatal childhood disease, polio, whooping cough, typhoid, tuberculosis, lockjaw, scarlet fever and many more, which allows children to grow to adulthood. Before antibiotics, parents had 8 or 10 children hoping that half would survive to adolescence and assist materially in the earnings produced by the household. As we have an economy based of technological mastery and critical thinking rather than manual labor, and as birth control has given families control over reproduction and the number of children they choose to have, parents are choosing to have fewer children at later ages. This is a response to economic reality. There will be enough workers. Whether those workers are properly nourished, provided a meaningful education, and are adaptive enough to change professions as the economy demands, is the question and the challenge.

  10. mike from iowa 2022-07-31 17:29

    Sorta on topic, Marlboro Barbie chatted with Larry krudlow abiout how the scotus trimmed the sails of the EPA and said we had to get rid of so many government regulations. No mention of forced births or any oither undue burdens magats, through their stranglehold on the judiciary, place on the women of America’s rights.

  11. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-31 17:41

    Governor Noem is the uncrowned Queen of intrusive Government regulation.

  12. mike from iowa 2022-07-31 18:18

    NHere, according tgo Sheila kennedy, is where white scumacyst, kristian Nationalists like Noem are leading their states with veto proof mahorities in the lege.

    It don’t look good for democrazy.

  13. All Mammal 2022-08-01 01:21

    Gratefully, my dear, favorite bossman informed me of the undecipherable lines I wrote earlier today. Mr. Blundt confirmed this truth in his appreciated, kind and elegant comment.
    Pardon my failure to give much needed context. Such a messed up message deserves a little narrative to serve any meaning.

    I don’t much like poetry but it happened when I I wrote about sharing a space with a whole community filled with utter grief, ready to spew oceans of dismal despair during a murdered 6 year old’s funeral in Pine Ridge while the hot sun is beating down. A poem is what my description of that hell looks like.

  14. M 2022-08-01 06:50

    Edwin, why don’t we just have human baby mills like they do with hunting dogs in S.D. ?

    For all you to know, not all women want children and in fact some men don’t either. Some women and some men make lousy parents.

    I knew when my mother explained the facts of life to me in 3rd grade that I DID NOT want kids and guess what? I don’t. I’ve never met a man whose kid I would want. They don’t stick around long enough to care for them in my world.

    I cooked and cleaned for 3 brothers while my Mom worked and I had not one minute with her. My brothers did nothing. I figured it out real quick. 66 and single and I love it.

    Thank science for birth control……hope we can save that from the likes of Edwin and others. Check out the unwanted children in foster care and for adoption. Not to mention on the street, sex slaves for the rally riders and don’t forget those who disappear and are murdered.

    Yes, breed women breed so there are enough workers……

    While the men who sired them sew their seed elsewhere.

    Young man here died recently, 28 years old who left 5 children from 3 women. Life in the best country in the world.

  15. P. Aitch 2022-08-01 07:52

    A woman without a husband and children isn’t a project to be fixed by a male. – “Persuasion” by Jane Austen.

    After Roe v. Wade, more college students want contraception vending machines on campus.

    New England college students are organizing to have vending machines with emergency contraceptives installed on campuses following the high court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last month. – Boston Globe

  16. Edwin Arndt 2022-08-01 09:16

    Is having sex really regarded so cheaply?
    Makes me sad. It appears that moral standards
    are a thing of the past.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-01 09:20

    Hey, Edwin, what business of the state’s is it to know, much less try to influence, how you or I regard the sex we may be having?

    And Edwin, if you’re worried about the workforce, are you contending that the state has the right to command women to procreate?

  18. larry kurtz 2022-08-01 09:22

    Democrats = safe sex

    Republicans = cheap sex

    It’s just that simple.

  19. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-01 09:26

    The point, Edwin, is that women deserve autonomy so they may participate equally in the workforce. As explained in the original article, pregnancy interferes with women’s equal employment opportunity, creating unique challenges and discrimination that men never face. We men impose these difficulties on women, and then we lack the courtesy to allow women to choose whether they will continue bear these difficulties.

  20. Jenny 2022-08-01 09:40

    Edwin, sex is just cheap tawdry sex for a lot of people and actual porn studies have shown that it is actually the red states that top the lists for most porn viewing and pornographic subscriptions. Red states also have the most gay porn hits.
    Geez, talk about hypocrisy.
    Dems want responsible safe sex, sex education, affordable birth control and women’s right to choose and LGBTQ acceptance.
    Pubs think taking sex education out of public school will stop teens from having sex.
    Pubs are the ones that pretend to be the holier than thou when really they have the most repressed issues with sex and sexuality.

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-01 09:42

    Arlo offers the proper realistic response to Edwin’s ill-thought-out population-crash concern. Procreation is a deeply seated drive of all organisms. Our intelligence and science have helped us optimize our reproductive outcomes—lower infant mortality, less need to breed just to produce enough offspring to survive smallpox and malnutrition so they can tend the crops and cows and fight off the neighboring warlike tribes. Our survival as a species does not depend on keeping women in a constant state of pregnancy.

    But suppose it did. (Edwin wants to consider extremes, so let’s do so.) Suppose coronavirus and monkeypox mutate into a deadly airborne pathogen that wipes out 99.999% of the population. (Read Stephen King’s The Stand.) A month from now, Sioux Falls has five people left: five men, five women. Those ten survivors get together and try to figure out what to do with themselves and their corpse-strewn city. One of the men proposes requiring the women to get pregnant and start making babies to repopulate the Sioux Empire. One of the women says, no thanks, she didn’t survive the Plague just to be tied down by men or fetuses; she wants to stay slim and healthy so she can outrun any cannibals. She grabs her rifle and bandoliers and heads for I-29. Can the men (and maybe some of the women who approve of the men’s plan and don’t want to be left bearing the burden of repopulation alone) restrain the aspiring Amazon and force her to remain in Sioux Falls as breeding stock to fulfill her obligation to the species?

  22. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-01 10:20

    Yikes! Bad typo here in that last line. Fixed—thanks, Linda!

  23. Edwin Arndt 2022-08-01 11:30

    Jenny, you actually read these kinds of studies?
    I’m currently reading a biography of Alexander Hamilton.

  24. Edwin Arndt 2022-08-01 11:33

    Who did those studies anyway?
    And who paid for them?

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-01 12:28

    Edwin, neither of your responses to Jenny affect the core question of whether women should control their own bodies and pregnancies.

    I’ll go out on a limb and say men consume more pornography than women.

  26. Edwin Arndt 2022-08-01 17:06

    Who does the studies, Jenny?

  27. Edwin Arndt 2022-08-01 17:08

    The point is, if anyone on this blog cares, is that history
    shows that amoral societies do not long endure.

  28. larry kurtz 2022-08-01 18:10

    Of the 25 best states for women 22 of them are blue according to the latest rankings from WalletHub.

    My home state of South Dakota still holds 51st place for the number of women who own businesses, 49th in percentage of women who voted in 2020 but tied for 1st with North Dakota for lowest unemployment among women.

    The bottom 8 states for women’s well-being are red.

    WalletHub sez jobs are still hard to find in Albuquerque and Rapid City but less difficult in Sioux Falls even as New Mexico and my home state see negative growth in gross domestic product. Sioux Falls is the 12th hardest working city in the United Snakes but is that even healthy?

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