Like many across the country, we are appalled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and reversing nearly 50-year legal precedent to the right to abortion. Abortion care is health care, and the Court’s action is inextricably linked to economic and racial justice in this country. Today, we lend our blog to our partners at Montana Women Vote, and we stand with them and the many organizations fighting for economic and reproductive justice in our state and across the country.
From Montana Women Vote Executive Director SJ Howell:
We stand with the millions of Americans mourning the loss of a fundamental constitutional right, the right to access abortion care. At Montana Women Vote, we remain unmoved in our convictions: abortion care is health care. All people deserve fundamental reproductive rights, and abortion is an economic and racial justice issue.
The decision to overturn Roe has created a patchwork of legality, restrictions, and outright bans on abortion from state to state across the country. In Montana, abortion is still legal, and we must continue our fight to ensure it remains that way. But in many states, including all the states bordering Montana, the right to legal abortions will be limited or eliminated.
This reality will not impact all people equally. People with the financial means and flexibility to travel, take time off work, navigate bureaucracy, and pay for health care out of pocket will still be able to access abortion care. Low-income folks and those living in poverty will not.
Access to abortion care is not just about if and when to start a family. Finishing school, staying in the workforce, leaving an abusive or unsupportive partner, and taking care of one’s individual health and wellbeing can all be impacted by pregnancy. Decades of data and research show a difficult but uncomplicated truth: being denied an abortion can and does push people into poverty. A study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, concluded that the denial of abortion, “. . .creates economic hardship and insecurity which lasts for years.” The study goes on to outline that being denied access to abortion care increased debt, bankruptcies, evictions, and negative credit scores, and that “years after an abortion denial, women were more likely to not have enough money to cover basic living expenses like food, housing, and transportation.”
This is a particularly hard truth to confront in a state without mandated paid sick days, paid family/medical leave, or universal pre-k education, and in which childcare, housing, and healthcare are increasingly unaffordable and unavailable.
These are hard times, and it may feel difficult to find hope today. But we must hold on to our vision for a future in which all people have the rights and resources they need and deserve. We must remember that our communities are strong and resilient, that organizing works, and that change can and will come.
MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.