labor Labor Condemns Supreme Court Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade
On June 27, The Supreme Court, by a 6-3 Majority took the extreme step of denying an existing constitutional right by overturning Roe V. Wade. This decision to deny women the right to an abortion is an attack on all women, is an attack on all working people The statements below by numerous labor organizations all make that point and all point to the necessity to resist and to organize.
No Justice, No Peace -- CLUW Response to the Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe v Wade!
Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)
The Coalition of Labor Union Women was founded in 1974, the year after Roe v Wade confirmed a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. The CLUW founding mothers believed in a woman’s right to a safe termination of her pregnancy and we still believe every woman has that right. The six Supreme Court justices who leaked their intent to overturn Roe v Wade and then made it final today have no justice in their hearts for women’s reproductive rights. We will march, we will protest — and most importantly, we will vote!! We will mobilize millions of women across the country to exercise their right to vote out any elected official who stands in the way of our freedom to choose what happens in our bodies!
There is an old saying that goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” — we say, “Hell hath no fury like pro-choice women at the ballot box!" Get ready, because we are coming for every anti-choice candidate and we will vote you out so consider yourself warned!!
We invite all pro-choice people to join us in our work to affirm reproductive freedom!
Peace, love and solidarity forever,
Elise Bryant, President
Pride at Work
The decision of the radical right-wing majority on the Supreme Court in Dobbs vs. Jackson, that denies the fundamental right of women to make their own healthcare decisions will go down as one of the worst decisions in the history of the court.
With this decision, the extremists on the court have forfeited any remaining semblance of their claims to nonpartisanship, and have fully embraced the extreme agenda that does not represent the vast majority of Americans. The right to choose is fundamental to bodily autonomy and basic human freedom. We cannot let this stand.
The extremist majority on the Court shows it is willing to overlook decades of precedent to set aside the right to choose, and clearly shows where their future intentions lie. Obergefell, which legalized marriage equality nationwide, which was only decided less than a decade ago, is clearly in the crosshairs.
Even more concerning is the possibility of overturning Lawrence v. Texas, which banned draconian sodomy laws nationwide. 15 states have refused to repeal their sodomy laws since that decision in 2003. Justice Clarence Thomas directly referenced that these two decisions protecting LGBTQ+ rights should be overturned in his opinion. We must fight back now.
We can’t predict how future cases will be decided by this Court, but this bombshell ruling makes clear that nothing is safe from this radical conservative majority.
Pride at Work will fight every day until the right to choose is codified into law nationwide. Congress must act to protect access to abortion. If they won’t, then this November we must elect a Congress that will.
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
Today, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling on Dobbs v Jackson’s Women Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision which established a constitutional right to abortion. Effective today, nearly 40 million women, girls, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people in 26 states will lose access to to abortion, a vital form of healthcare. APALA, as the first and only national organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander workers, condemns this decision and stands ready to join the fight for reproductive justice.
The resulting abortion ban disproportionately impacts AAPI access to abortion. Sixty-six percent of Asian Americans and 30 percent of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders speak a language other than English at home and experience difficulties in accessing health care due to language barriers. In addition, a third of AAPI pregnancies end in abortion, underlining the necessity of this care in our community. In 2019, APALA passed a resolution on bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health that reaffirms our belief that “every that individual have a fundamental right to make personal reproductive health decisions free from coercion, discrimination, and stigma.”
The violence of patriarchy obscures the root cause of this issue which is to control the bodily autonomy and family making decisions of working people. Bodily autonomy is essential to our freedom and is a working a class issue. APALA will continue to stand in solidarity with people of color and other marginalized groups fighting for this freedom. As the Movement for Black Lives wrote in their statement, “Black women, girls, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people have been subjected to a long history of reproductive control rooted in the brutal legacy of enslavement—and denying access to safe, legal abortion and gender-affirming health services is a continuation of that troubling history.” APALA stands in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and recognizes the disproportionate impact this decision has on our black and brown siblings.
Jessica Tang, APALA National Treasurer and President of the Boston Teachers Union Local 66, said: “This ruling removes access to vital healthcare services, putting the health of women across the country at risk. In my journey to building my family, I was devastated to face choices that no expecting pregnant person wants to make. Due to a rare fetal anomoly that took a turn for the worse in my third trimester and medical complications resulting from this, I had to travel thousands of miles out of state to get a late term abortion. Access is already very limited, and I was lucky to have the ability and access to safe healthcare treatment, but under this ruling, many millions of families will be cut off from the treatment they need and it will become even more difficult for those who find themselves in situations like this. It is an economic justice issue and it is a health care issue, and our country has now gone backwards.”
Alvina Yeh, APALA Executive Director, said: “As a mother and someone who had an ectopic pregnancy that put my life in danger, I am grateful that I was given safe, legal options to terminate the pregnancy. Abortion access shouldn’t depend on how much you money you have or where you live. Yet, for too many, abortion is already too difficult to access. The Supreme Court’s opinion confirms our worst fears: the control of our bodies at the hands of the state. Reproductive justice is a worker’s right issue.”
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
LCLAA is highly disappointed and dismayed to learn about the Supreme Court decision, ending almost 50 years of federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, access to abortion will likely be banned or severely restricted in most states.
The loss of this right is part of the broader continued attack on women of color and other marginalized groups. LCLAA has worked diligently to promote inclusion and diversity in the workforce through efforts like our Latina Equal Pay and Trabajadoras campaigns and our involvement with the Paycheck Fairness Act Coalition. Our work has taught us that access to reproductive health services, including birth control and bodily autonomy, lead to higher education attainment and economic security.
Women denied control of their bodies are more likely to have an income below the federal poverty level, more likely to receive public assistance, and less likely to be working full time. Women’s economic options are further limited by the lack of affordable childcare and paid family leave policies nationwide. This is an economic issue; any restriction of this right will fall disproportionately on women of color and will prevent them from achieving their full potential.
LCLAA is concerned that this decision will allow and justify a massive rollback on fundamental rights that we have all collectively fought for. In the initial draft, Supreme Court Justice Alito supported the majority opinion stating that “until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for the constitutional right to obtain an abortion.” This language endangers us. If the Court sees progress as lacking precedence, it threatens the rights of the LGBT+ community and communities of color who have only gained many of their rights and liberties during the Civil Rights Movement. Who is to say that the right to abortion will be the only right that we lose?
The action of the Court today only shows us the repercussions of privilege, making a decision to strip the rights of communities that many of them have never been part of. We must remain vigilant, ready to mobilize the instant our labor rights and civil rights are jeopardized. LCLAA’s dedication to the labor movement is unwavering. We will not let the work of our movement, the progress that has taken communities decades to build, be undone so easily.
Statement from AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:
Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is a devastating blow to working women and families across this country. We strongly believe that everyone should have control over their own bodies, including decisions over their personal reproductive health care. At a time when we should be focused on expanding equity for all working people, particularly for marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, this ruling will only deepen racial and economic disparities. The burden of this decision will undoubtedly fall on low-income women and gender-oppressed people, and no one should be forced into financial insecurity because they have been denied reproductive health care. Our government also must prioritize overdue and necessary investments in our child care system, and family and medical paid leave; it must end the gender wage gap and increase access to jobs with high wages and good benefits.
This is just the latest in a harmful string of attacks on our fundamental rights, including the right to vote and to collectively bargain in the workplace, and points to an alarming trend that other well-settled rights like marriage equality may be taken away. The current conservative majority of the Supreme Court is bent on limiting bodily autonomy, freedom and self-determination to a select few, and that is fundamentally undemocratic. America’s unions remain committed to the fight for gender justice and economic equity for all people.
Actors' Equity Association
Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has issued the following statement in response to the news that the Supreme Court of the United States has issued a ruling repealing Roe V. Wade:
“Knowing that this decision was likely imminent has not made this news any less painful. This is a catastrophic step backwards for human rights in this country. Equity once again affirms that abortion is a necessary and often life-saving medical procedure that requires safe, legal and open access.
“Equity’s thoughts are with our members, knowing that populations that are already marginalized by society will suffer the most as a result of this ruling, and the anti-abortion movement especially targets groups like women and LGBTQ+ Americans. However, this is not a time to mourn, but a time for action. The union is determined to do everything in our power to serve our members, which includes helping them access abortion care.
“So much in the future is uncertain, as some states have already set into motion legislation that not only criminalizes abortion, but outlaws even providing care related to abortion access. Access to reproductive care is a labor issue, and a safe and sanitary workplace is not possible without the right to bodily autonomy. We are determined to find ways to protect our members, many of whom tour the country to earn a living, or who live or work in states that are about to become far more dangerous for those needing reproductive care. This will include connecting them to whatever resources are available that will help them secure abortions when they need them.”
“We also know that this fight will not stop with abortion. We will lend our voice to the important work already underway to protect abortion access, and we remain committed to combatting legislation that seeks to capitalize on this ruling and further impinge on human rights in the United States.”
American Federation of Musicians (AFM)
In one of the most stunning reversals in the modern era of the US Supreme Court, a majority of the Court overturned a nearly 50-year precedent in Roe v. Wade and gave states a license to ban abortion. This ruling is an attack on women’s reproductive health and a dangerous setback for fundamental human rights.
The International Executive Board of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada believes that everyone should be able to make their own decisions concerning their reproductive rights, health, and future. We are at a time in our country’s history when voting is more important than ever. Our elected officials are making decisions that impact us for generations to come.
As we head into mid-term elections and prepare for the 2024 national election, ask your elected officials and local candidates where they stand on reproductive rights, demand commitments to protecting abortion access, and spread the word to other voters. Among the states banning abortion are those least likely to provide access to health care for low-income families and adequate safeguards for our most vulnerable children.
As a society, we must do better than this. We remain optimistic that we will see once again a future where every person is guaranteed access to quality and comprehensive reproductive care.
Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA)
Today, the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Sara Nelson released the following statement:
"If you believe women are equal, build your union with urgency."
President Nelson's statement from May 3 stands:
"The Constitutional right affirmed by the Court in 1973 to safe access and the legal right to an abortion was transformational for women's rights and our jobs. Cabin crew fought executives who exploited our sexuality and pushed gender inequality to undermine the dignity of our work and push the value of our labor into their own pockets. We organized to define our careers, keep our personal choices as our own, and lift up our role in saving lives as aviation’s first responders.
"Choice and self-determination are at the foundation of why we formed our union 75 years ago. In the earliest days of commercial aviation, we were allowed few choices in the workplace. Every part of our bodies and our lives were dictated by management. Airlines only hired white, single, childless women under age 32 who met specific height, weight, and male defined appearance standards. Even if you met those "standards," getting pregnant, having a baby, choosing to marry or gaining a few pounds meant giving up your job and handing in your wings. Our first demands as a union were seniority-based scheduling, to stop managers from using schedules to coerce us to choose between sexual exploitation and earning a living.
"Today anyone with the heart of a Flight Attendant can choose this career, and through our unions we have a voice and legal standing on the job to protect our rights.
"Not everyone will make the same choices, and AFA's members hold a wide range of personal beliefs about the topic of abortion. But the right for each of us to make our own choices about our jobs, our bodies, and our futures is fundamental. That includes the right to protect safe, legal options to anyone who seeks reproductive healthcare. As union members, we understand democracy in our workplaces and in our public square. Americans overwhelmingly support safe, legal abortion. This is not just a radical assault on our rights and settled law, it is an attack against the majority of this country and the ideals upon which it was founded.
"The Justices will not stop here. They will work to strip Americans of other freedoms we have fought for. They will strip the freedom to marry from our LGBTQ colleagues and neighbors. They will strip away our rights to birth control. They have already gutted the right to vote, and our right to fair elections free of corporate influence. Our union will continue fighting for equality and freedom for all.
"We call on airline management to stand with us and for equality, anti-discrimination, and mutual respect. It is not enough that corporations espouse these principles as core to their missions - now is the time to demonstrate this commitment to their employees and passengers. This is about our safety and our freedom. We cannot work if we are not safe."
American Federation of State County Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
AFSCME President Lee Saunders issued the following statement Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the landmark abortion-rights case Roe v. Wade:
“The Supreme Court’s decision overturns a precedent that has stood for nearly half a century, stripping away a foundational freedom that has allowed generations to enjoy dignity and economic security. The court’s opinion is also undemocratic, in brazen defiance of the views and values of a clear majority of people across the country.
“Reproductive rights are workers’ rights. Reproductive justice is economic justice. The decision about when and whether to bear children is fundamental to the ability to pursue self-sustaining work. That’s why AFSCME has worked to protect reproductive rights and access to family planning services of all kinds. And we have opposed any policies, legislation, regulation or constitutional amendment to restrict these core freedoms.
“Reproductive rights are an issue of life and death. The court’s ruling is an attack on individual humanity, autonomy and personal liberty. It will mean chaos and desperation in the lives of so many people. And the burden will fall most heavily on communities of color, low-income families, immigrant populations, people who are already marginalized. There will also be a chilling effect throughout the health care industry, affecting how providers can care for their patients.
“The court said today that the most deeply personal choices about your bodies, your health care and your future are not yours to make. We trust people to make the right decisions for themselves and their families – guided by their own moral and religious beliefs and not the political views of six judges.
“More than half of the states are poised to enact or implement cruel, draconian laws undermining the privacy rights and personal freedoms of millions of people. Working with coalition partners, AFSCME will do everything in our power to neutralize the impact of this decision, including working to elect candidates this year who will make it a top priority to protect reproductive rights.”
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the U.S. Supreme Court decision today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade and ruling that there is no constitutional right to abortion:
“In the span of one week, an extremist-dominated Supreme Court decided it has the authority to divine who in America has rights and freedoms and who does not.
“Upending decades of long-settled precedent that will impact the lives of millions of people, the court’s conservative majority this week took away the rights of those who rely on the constitutional separation of church and state to freely practice religion, took away the rights of states to protect children and families from gun violence, and, today, took away the rights of women and anyone who can get pregnant to decide when to have a family. In the span of 24 hours, this court ruled that states can’t regulate gun owners but can regulate the bodies of anyone who can reproduce.
“This revanchist view of their authority by extremist judges is a threat to freedom everywhere. Whose freedom is the Supreme Court coming for next? Justice Clarence Thomas already has a pen aimed at marriage, contraception and more. This decision has massive, far-reaching implications for every person in this country, and puts those of us who teach students, take care of patients and serve our communities in particularly precarious positions. We knew this decision was coming, but the damage of reversing Roe is shocking nonetheless. This is a dark day in American history.”
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International President John Costa released the following statement condemning the Supreme Court ruling stripping away nationwide abortion rights in the U.S by rescinding the landmark 1973 case establishing the right to an abortion, citing the negative impact on women and workers.
“The unconscionable decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a massive step backward for women and workers in our country. While our members hold a variety of personal beliefs regarding abortions, this decision is an attack on the freedoms and rights of women and working people. Access to healthcare, including the full range of family planning services, without fear is everyone’s right and reproductive freedom is a worker’s rights issue.
“At the bargaining table, and while on strike, the ATU fights to ensure our members can determine when they will start a family and how they will care for them. In order to ensure that our members can make their own decisions, we fight for family-supporting wages, comprehensive employer-paid family health insurance, paid parental leave, and paid family and medical leave. By placing our members’ family planning and medical decisions in the hands of state legislators and governors, the Supreme Court has abolished the fundamental rights of working people.
“This criminalization of reproductive healthcare will fall hardest on working-class people, particularly communities of color and low-income families in those states that are poised to immediately restrict reproductive rights and access to a full range of family planning services. Their only option will be to travel across state lines in order to get the health care they need. Unfortunately, our members who operate the nation’s interstate buses will witness firsthand the impact of this wrongheaded decision as they carry over long distances passengers in precarious health trying to cross state lines in order to exercise their right to make their own family planning and medical decisions.
“The right to make decisions about our health and families is at the heart of what we fight for as a union. Our Union will work to elect leaders who will condemn this attack on our constitutional rights and advocate for the low-income workers who will be hit the hardest.”
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
In its outrageous decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, SCOTUS has abandoned a 50-year precedent and the will of 70% of the American people to impose one of the worst contractions of freedoms in modern US history. Make no mistake, this will directly harm the welfare of our union sisters and kin, and therefore we must respond strongly.
We know well the catastrophic consequences that follow when authoritarians legislate control over our wombs, bodies, and lives. Taking away the option to receive compassionate reproductive care in the form of safe, legal abortions will disproportionally harm working-class people, force unwilling parents into poverty, worsen the already unacceptable maternal mortality crisis, imprison innocents for their biological functions (including miscarriages), and cut short far too many bright careers and lives.
If extremist justices will blatantly ignore established legal precedent and lie about it in their confirmation hearings, how far will they go? The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision shows the court is prepared to nullify the rights Americans fought and died for.
We stand together as sisters, brothers, and kin to ensure liberty and justice for ALL. Lawmakers at all levels must defend reproductive healthcare and Americans’ fundamental freedoms immediately, or face being replaced by those who will.
IATSE Women’s Committee Statement
The IATSE Women’s Committee believes in the right of all persons to make life choices based on the best information they have that impacts their immediate decision.
Having lived in this country as women, many of us know too well the injustices and inequities that we’ll face under this authoritarian move. Not that long ago, we fought for contraceptive insurance coverage, and it’s still not comprehensive. We still fight for equal pay. We still don’t have equal representation in our so-called halls of justice.
Let’s not forget that just a few short months ago we saw many Americans stealing the pro-choice slogan “My Body, My Choice” when it was convenient for them. Our bodies are no less valuable. Our contributions to this country are no less valuable. Our choices are equally significant. This is about controlling women.
The Women’s Committee is primed to take back that slogan and stand with the 70 % of Americans who support choice. We will stand together with our sisters, brothers, and kin to ensure …liberty and justice for ALL.
IATSE VP & Chair of IATSE Womens Committee
IATSE DEI Committee Statement
The DEI Committee is dismayed and outraged by the Dobbs v. Jackson decision overturning Roe vs Wade. All five justices in favor spoke to Roe vs Wade being an established precedent in their confirmation hearings, and now blatantly ignore that precedent. BIPOC and working-class people will bear the brunt of this decision; autonomy and choice will be taken away, with no exceptions in at least 20 states across the USA.
The language of the decision and blatant disregard of established precedent is disturbing, and leaves opportunities to repeal established Civil Rights legislation on interracial marriage, marriage equality, equal opportunity and Title IX, and even Brown v. Board of Education. Decades of hard-fought progress on voting rights, equality, humanity and equity-building are at risk from the a stroke of a pen.
We must not let this happen. We will work together to protect choice and our collective Civil Right
― IATSE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
The IATSE Pride Committee Stands with Our Sisters and Kin
As we prepare this weekend for the New York City Pride March, fifty-three years after the events of Stonewall, we are once again facing the uncertainty of our rights to live and love.
Today the US Supreme Court handed down a devastating decision, overturning fifty years of precedent that gave people agency over their own bodies via access to safe abortions. To be clear, this decision does not end abortion. It ends safe abortions and will be especially harmful to those that are already struggling to survive. The IATSE Pride Committee strongly denounces this decision, and we stand with our kin and commit to fighting this rollback of fundamental rights for people to make their own healthcare decisions.
We must also underscore that this is only the beginning. Conservative Justice Thomas made clear that other past rulings that should be overturned are Griswold (right to contraception), Lawrence (same-sex activity), and Obergefell (same-sex marriage).
Rights for which we have fought for over decades, can be taken away overnight. This weekend, as we march, we must remember that pride began as a protest. And as we watch rights being stripped away, we need to stand together to once again protest as if our life depends on it. Because, for many, it absolutely does.
The IATSE Pride Committee
International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) strongly condemns the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the longstanding precedent, Roe v. Wade, that protected reproductive health care rights for Americans for half a century. Since the late 1930s, the Supreme Court has expanded rights; this decision to take rights away represents a dangerous shift for all Americans and the rights we take for granted.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade is a direct attack on people’s fundamental right to reproductive health care and bodily autonomy. The impact of the criminalization of reproductive health care that some states will enact in the wake of this decision will be borne disproportionally by working-class people and people who do not have the means to travel to states with more rights.
It is clear from Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion that the Supreme Court is not going to stop here and the extremists on the Court intend to take more rights away from Americans. Justice Thomas explicitly calls on the Court to reconsider precedents that protect the rights to contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage.
The vast majority of Americans overwhelmingly support reproductive rights. Five of the nine sitting Justices were appointed by presidents who did not win the popular vote. The anti-majoritarian features of our Constitution are being wielded by the extreme right-wing to block policies supported by the majority.
The ILWU stands firmly in solidarity with all of those impacted by this decision and the right of all people to have access to reproductive health care and bodily autonomy. We urge Congress to pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land.
An Injury to One is an Injury to All.
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers (BAC
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers (BAC) President Tim Driscoll issued the following statement today after US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade:
"Today's Supreme Court decision to eliminate women’s constitutional right to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions is a direct assault on the right of individual self-determination -- the essential right to control one’s own body without government interference.
"Labor unions are dedicated to the proposition that workers have a voice in promoting the physical, economic, and social welfare of their members and all other workers. And the right of workers to control their own bodies cannot be separated from the right of workers to control their own labor.
"BAC will remain engaged to support the right of women, and all workers, to make their own decisions about their health and body."
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades General President Jimmy Williams, Jr. issued the following statement in the wake of the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade:
“Today is a sad day for democracy. The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe is a direct attack on the working people of this country. This decision, made by unelected and unaccountable people, will hurt millions of people, particularly women, the poor, and disadvantaged. The extremists on the Supreme Court who don’t believe in reproductive rights also don’t believe in the most basic labor rights.
The unelected Supreme Court is intent on rolling back long-standing rights in an effort to advance their partisan agenda. Their majority opinion and concurrences imply that they are far from satisfied and intend to further erode our rights including access to birth control, to marry who we please, and love who we choose. This court could very well extend rulings leading to nationwide right to work in a similar manner.
I believe that we all have a responsibility to take part in the fight to come. Make no mistake, the courts have no intention of stopping here. The same Justices that are intent on overturning decades of rights believe firmly in eroding our rights at work. The labor movement cannot be silent on this issue, because it is coming for us too.”
National Education Association (NEA)
The Supreme Court today issued a decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, National Education Association President Becky Pringle released the following statement:
“The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the women they know and love should have the right to determine their own family planning and reproductive health. But today’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade shows once again how the current majority of the Supreme Court is continuing to put their radical ideological agenda above our basic human rights and freedoms.
“To all those who are out there scared, worried, and angry, I see you. I hear you. And I stand with you.
“This decision strips away from millions across race, place and gender identities, the right to make their own health care decisions and about when and how to have a family. The devastating results will be the loss of health, economic security, and even life for women and their families. Today’s decision strips away the fundamental freedom to decide for ourselves the care we need, and hands that power to state legislatures instead.
“It is an attack on rights deeply rooted in the promise of America, one that puts at risk fundamental civil liberties protected over the years through landmark Supreme Court decisions – including the right of interracial couples to marry, the right of unmarried people to use contraception, the right of same-sex couples to marry, and other rights that have been the bedrock of American society for generations.
“And this is another example of how, over the last few years, we have seen the same faction of politicians working overtime to reverse decades of progress on racial justice, on women’s rights, on worker’s rights, on LGBTQ+ rights, on voting rights, on our right to privacy, and on our students’ freedom to learn in our public schools.
“These attacks on our freedoms are designed to do one thing – consolidate unfettered power into the hands of a few. We must stand up for all of our rights.
“Together, we all must do our part to preserve our democracy and help our nation live up to the beautiful poetry of our Constitution. When we say, ‘We the people,’ we mean ALL the people. It is time for all of us to demand our freedoms by marching, by speaking out, and most importantly by voting for pro-public school, pro-freedom candidates up and down the ballot.”
NEA has a long history of advocating for the rights of our members – 78% of which are women — and that includes their reproductive freedom.
NEA develops policies at its Representative Assembly, the largest democratic gathering in the country. Each year, thousands of delegates (NEA members elected by their peers) debate and vote on establishing positions. Since 1978, we have supported the right of our members to choose whether to have children and how to have a family. Our official resolution says, “The National Education Association believes in family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom.”
Over the years, NEA has participated in litigation on behalf of members based on Roe v. Wade, including the cases of:
- Jeanne Eckmann, a teacher who studied to be a nun, became pregnant as a result of rape, and was fired by her school district for choosing to have a child out of wedlock. (NEA relied on Roe to argue that it violated her right to reproductive freedom for the school to fire her for exercising her right not to have an abortion.)
- Linda Littlejohn, a Kentucky member fired for getting a divorce. (The Sixth Circuit agreed with NEA that her firing violated the right established in Roe to privacy in matters relating to procreation and marriage.)
- Janice Dike, a Florida member denied the right to breastfeed her baby during her duty-free lunch period. (The Fifth Circuit agreed with NEA in relying on Roe’s recognition of a fundamental right to decide how to nurture and raise children, referring to breastfeeding as the “most elemental form of parental care.”)
NEA has also supported reproductive freedom in amicus filings in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
NEA will continue to support the freedom of its members to choose whom they will love and marry, when they will try to have a child and a family, and how they will raise their children.
National Nurses Union (NNU)
Registered nurses understand that abortion is a basic health care service, and as a union of health care providers dedicated to advocating for the best interests of our patients, National Nurses United opposes any efforts to restrict our patients’ control and choices over their own health care and their own bodies. The basic tenets of ethical medical care dictate that patients should enjoy autonomy, self-determination, and dignity over their bodies, their lives, and the health care they receive. Singling out this exception, the right to end a pregnancy, that targets only people with reproductive capacity, is not only bad health policy, it is immoral, discriminatory, misogynist, violent, unacceptable, and violates the nursing ethics we nurses pledge to uphold.
The Supreme Court’s overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a shameful and dangerous assault on women, other child-bearing people, and families at a sweeping scale. This decision is part of a coordinated rightwing effort to undo hard-won human and civil rights in the United States, and to control working people by removing their power and bodily autonomy. This decision goes against the beliefs and values of the vast majority of people in the United States and is an attack on democracy itself.
“Abortion is health care. Plain and simple,” said Jean Ross, RN and president of National Nurses United. “It’s outrageous and completely unacceptable to single out this one health care service, that’s only needed by people who can get pregnant, as illegal. We nurses have a duty to always advocate for our patients, and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do: fight for our patients’ rights to make their own health care decisions and control their own bodies. We won’t rest until this right is restored to all.”
As nurses, we know that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will have devastating effects on our patients’ most basic access to health, safety, and well-being. For the more than 20 states that have trigger laws or constitutional amendments already on the books, abortion will be immediately banned. Yet as health care providers, we know from experience that abortions will not stop. They will continue underground because they are a vital medical necessity, a basic health care service. Abortions will simply become more expensive, harder to access, and in many cases unsafe. Those with money and resources will continue to be able to get safe abortions, and those without will not. Those who cannot find safe, clinical spaces to get abortion services will resort to DIY methods. As one of our nurse practitioners said, “Many people will unnecessarily die.”
This denial of health care will most violently harm and deepen existing inequalities for low-income people, and people who already suffer from lack of and inadequate health care, such as Black, Latinx, and immigrant women. We believe overturning Roe is only a first step: Reversing an almost half-century old health care right opens the door for the extremist Supreme Court and the authoritarian right to attack numerous other liberties that many take for granted, such as the right to contraception, interracial marriage, and LGBTQ+ rights. These assaults on basic human rights hurt all working people.
As a union representing a profession of predominantly women that has advocated relentlessly for gender and health care justice, we are keenly aware of how reproductive rights and justice are inextricably linked to our careers and work lives. Reproductive health care justice – which is bound together with economic, racial, and gender justice – is a priority for nurses and must be a priority for all working people. Organized attacks on abortion rights, reproductive decision-making, access to health care, and bodily autonomy are part of an anti-worker, anti-democratic, sexist, and racist political agenda.
“The responsibility to reverse the impact of this horrible Supreme Court decision rests squarely with the U.S. Congress,” said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN. “A majority exists in both the House and Senate to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade but it will require the Senate to eliminate the filibuster to allow for a vote. Senators who say they want to protect a woman’s right to control her own body must be willing to change Senate rules so a vote can be held on this crucial issue. Senators are faced with a stark choice: maintain the anti-democratic, archaic Senate filibuster rule or protect a woman’s right to choose. Now is the time to take a stand for women and for reproductive health care justice.”
Reproductive justice is requisite for any democracy where working people truly have a say in our workplaces and communities. For us to have a voice at work, to provide for our families, and to advocate for ourselves politically, we must have the human right to maintain bodily autonomy—to be able to make decisions about when and whether to have children, and to parent children in safe and healthy communities. As Rebecca Goldfader, NP, who is one of our members and a longtime reproductive justice activist, said, “The ability to have choice and ownership over our reproductive capacity is at the basis of a free society.”
Nurses and other health care workers advocate tirelessly for our patients and have won safe staffing ratios, Covid-19 protections, and countless other improvements to the health care system through collective action. However, all these advances are at risk as the authoritarian right encroaches on our most basic liberties.
Nurses will not tolerate these assaults. We will continue to act in solidarity with our coworkers , our patients, and our communities to defend the human rights that workers have fought for and won over centuries of struggle in the United States. And we will continue our relentless fight for social, political, and economic justice by working collectively, participating in our local and national elections, and never relenting in our workplace struggle to create an equitable and high-quality health care system.
National Nurses United is the country’s largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses, with more than 175,000 members nationwide.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“We are angered and disgusted by today’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Joining hands with Republican politicians, the extremist majority of the court has taken away women’s fundamental right to abortion, sending us back 50 years. This reckless decision is yet another example of the nation’s highest court jettisoning its own precedent to cater to powerful right-wing and corporate interests while rolling back the rights of working people.
As a direct result of this ruling, more women will be forced to choose between paying their rent or traveling long distances to receive safe abortion care. Working women are already struggling in poverty-wage jobs without paid leave and many are also shouldering the caregiving responsibilities for their families, typically unpaid. This radical decision will impact all of us, especially those who already face barriers to accessing health care because of structural racism, sexism and corporate greed. Without the ability to determine whether and when to have children, essential workers serving their communities as child care providers, home care workers, health care workers, janitors and fast food workers can’t hope to join the middle class.
Right-wing politicians claim to support families, but they have taken every opportunity to undermine the progress made by working women and mothers, whether it’s taking away our reproductive freedom or failing to invest in child care and home and community care. SEIU’s 2 million members stand with our partners in the reproductive justice movement, with clinic workers who continue to provide essential services and with the people who need their care. We will keep fighting. This ruling is further motivation for working people to vote in record numbers at the midterms and elect leaders who will defend the rights of working women and all of us.”
The NewsGuild (TNG-CWA)
The NewsGuild-CWA vowed today to continue to fight for access to abortion as a fundamental health care right and as a matter of personal choice.
“The Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade strikes a devastating blow to the right to privacy and the right of women and all people to control their own bodies and make decisions about their own health care,” said NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss. “The court’s decision on abortion is likely the start of the destruction of many of our rights, including the right to marry.”
“We are encouraging our members to respond to this assault on their personal freedom and essential health care by doing what we do best: organizing to protect our rights in the workplace,” he said.
After a draft of the Court’s decision was leaked to Politico in May, Guild leaders said, “Comprehensive, reliable and affordable health care is a human right and access to abortion is a crucial component of comprehensive health care.”
NewsGuild members and staff have been meeting since then to develop bargaining approaches that provide coverage for abortion care in collective bargaining agreements and to equip our membership with the tools to organize their coworkers to take action on this core labor issue.
“It’s important for members to review their collective bargaining agreement to know their contractual rights and to understand any specific limitations that may have been bargained into the contract,” said Marian Needham, the Guild’s executive vice president. “However, members have a protected right to discuss any issues related to their union and their working conditions, within the context of what members are doing to address those issues. What could be more central than the scope of the medical coverage employees receive?”
Alongside concerns about diminishing rights, many of the Guild’s journalist members have expressed concern about their ability to speak openly about abortion access without being penalized by management for engaging publicly on a so-called “partisan issue.” When the draft decision was leaked, some employers sent notices asking people to refrain from tweeting about the decision. The federal National Labor Relations Act gives most private-sector workers the right to unionize and take collective action, including protecting the right of workers to speak publicly about their working conditions.
United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers (UAW)
Our union has historically fought for equal access to voting, accommodations, jobs, and health care. Today’s misguided decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a giant step backwards that will create gross inequities for women and all working families. By taking the power to make reproductive choices from women and putting them in the hands of state legislators, the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively set up a system where the well-connected and privileged will be able to make reproductive choices by traveling to states or countries that respect those rights while other women without resources will be left powerless and vulnerable. This decision will only increase existing racial and economic disparities at a time when we should be fighting for equality for all. This is not progress. This is not right.
By disavowing a well-established right, the U.S. Supreme Court has also put everyone on notice that nothing is safe or secure. Elections have consequences, and we are seeing that bear out in front of our eyes. The political agenda of the far-right is now the template of juris prudence and that means the rights to join a union and collectively bargain for good wages, benefits, and safe working conditions are less secure today than they were yesterday.
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE)
UPDATE: On Friday, June 24, the Supreme Court officially released a decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which conforms in all important ways to the leaked decision condemned by the UE officers in this statement.
We condemn unequivocally the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade that was leaked on May 2. It is an indefensible attack on the right of women and pregnant people to control their own bodies, one of the most fundamental of liberties. Furthermore, the leaked draft opinion, which overturns a half century of settled law, signals that this unelected group of six right-wing justices sees none of our rights as untouchable.
UE policy, approved overwhelming by elected rank-and-file delegates at our 77th Convention in September, “Supports the right of all those seeking reproductive healthcare, regardless of economic status, to choose whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy, to have access to free, confidential, and effective birth control and family planning services, to be protected against forced sterilization, and not be discriminated against because of reproductive health issues.”
Laws that criminalize abortion do not reduce its frequency, they merely make reproductive health care more expensive and dangerous, with the burden falling disproportionately on working-class women and women of color. Without the right to control their own bodies, women will face increased barriers to participating fully in society, including in their unions. Without the full participation of women, the unity that is essential to winning gains for workers and the working class will be weakened. As UE policy notes, “Until women have full and equal rights, all workers are held back.”
The attack on reproductive rights is being waged, cynically and hypocritically, by politicians who know that they and their families will always be able to access reproductive health care, and who regularly invoke “freedom from government intrusion” as a reason to oppose pro-worker legislation. Their aim is not to protect “life,” but to create cover for a pro-corporate political agenda that is unpopular with voters. Those who campaign most vociferously against women’s reproductive rights also refuse to support universal healthcare and paid family leave, and are some of the labor movement’s bitterest enemies.
In his draft opinion, Justice Alito argues that only those rights commonly understood to exist in 1868, when the 14th Amendment was ratified, have constitutional standing. Alito specifically notes that constitutional rights to contraception, same-sex and interracial marriage, and freedom from government intrusion into our bedrooms do not meet this criteria. His claim could just as easily be used to justify undermining New Deal legislation establishing labor rights, the minimum wage, and Social Security — all of which were challenged as unconstitutional in the 1930s and survived only after massive outcry and widespread strikes convinced the court to change its mind.
This draft decision is also a product of some of the most undemocratic features of our political system, and of some of the most unethical political machinations in recent history. Three of the six justices joining the majority opinion were appointed by a president who did not win the popular vote, and two of those were confirmed by the votes of senators who collectively represent fewer Americans than the senators who voted against confirmation.
The blatant use of the Supreme Court to further a right-wing political agenda is a threat to all of our rights, including the rights of LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, people of color, and all workers. It must be met by militant, collective action by working people and our allies, and by a demand to bring greater accountability to the least democratic branch of our government. UE stands with all those who are being attacked by this likely Supreme Court decision, and with all people who may come under attack in any future decisions by what has become a dangerously undemocratic institution.
United Farm Workers (UFW)
We want to recognize the heavy emotions faced by our communities in the United States given the recent news of the Supreme Court overturning Roe. V. Wade.
These issues cut across age, race, gender, and socio-economic status – and most certainly will have a wide impact on immigrant communities who already face barriers to health care. You may never know who this impacts, often a friend or family member who may be too afraid to ask for help or share their story. It is fundamental that our communities have access to the healthcare they need.