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.