Unanswered questions around Roe vs Wade
The response to repealing Roe Vs Wade was visceral. Anger, sadness, and triggered responses of old traumas revisited. My body, my choice. The injustice of it has rocked the world. Non-Americans are equally horrified because they see that it could easily happen in other jurisdictions. Individuals need support, but after the rage there are unanswered questions around Roe vs Wade which need immediate attention to stop an even further erosion of rights of this already vulnerable group.
One key differentiator between Europe and the US, is that the US is surprisingly probably the worst country in the developed world to support women and parents. Few states offer paid maternity or paternity leave. Some women have no health insurance which is frequently provided by companies. Many organisations don’t do that.
So we will see an increasing number of women being forced to give birth and accept the consequence of bringing unwanted babies into into a system which is already profoundly flawed. Maternity and post maternity benefits are poor. Few organisations offer safe return to work support following childbirth, such as subsidised crèches or breastfeeding spaces.
This will extend the cycle of deprivation and force women to seek other solutions which maybe illegal and dangerous.
Support and doubts
Accompanying that rage, people offered immediate support in three key areas, although as with everything others are flagging up grey areas for caution. The unanswered questions around Roe vs Wade raise a number of concerns.
- Individuals from states where this legislation would applied, leapt to offer support of accommodation, no questions asked. But how do we know they can be trusted and our activities won’t be monitored?
- Corporations agreed to extend reproductive benefits to those in need, with offers to pay medical and travel expenses. Once again who has access to this information?
- Companies are also offering to relocate employees out of abortion banning states.
More unanswered questions around Roe vs Wade
There are further gaps which need addressing urgently to avoid creating further exploitation of a group which has had their rights eroded:
- Will these benefits apply to all employees? Suggestions that it may only apply to senior professional women, this deepening the racial gender divide is already being hotly debated. Black women frequently need abortions more than other demographics, although the differences are not as significant as we imagined, except in states such as Alabama, Mississippi, and The District of Colombia. They will be driven towards illegal abortions more than ever. A black woman is three times more likely to dies in childbitrh as it is than a white woman.
- Will women working part-time or via contract be included with full health care provision?
Leap of faith
Now companies are suggesting that women share their most confidential personal information which they only usually share with their inner circle. Sometimes not even then. If a woman is pregnant because of rape or incest this means handing over deeply private data to a third party. How do they know they will be protected?
The question will also apply to unplanned pregnancies, or those with complications. What legal steps will they take to guarantee their privacy? Will this knowledge be held against them in future promotion assessments?
Many corporations are also political donors.
Women need to vote
Women vote to keep men in positions of political authority and power, which allows them to finance, sponsor and advocate for each other. They help each other build and maintain wealth which guarantees all policies which benefit the “boys club.” This includes controlling women and creating the domestic pipeline of babies which can be put up for adoption. The decisions of five people, one woman and a black man in that number, have effectively controlled the lives and bodies of millions.
When women work for powerful corporates what we also want is not just personal support, but for those organisations to champion and lobby for change. We don’t want our data shared or sold and we don’t want our social media activity monitored. We definitely don’t want our doctors imprisoned.
Individuals of course need support, but the unanswered questions around Roe vs Wade needs immediate attention to prevent a further erosion of rights. This is important outside the U.S. because it reopens old conversations in other places. More than ever women have to step up and be their own champions, everywhere.
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