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Limiting reproductive freedom will undermine 50 years of progress, and endanger the futures of young women of color
(Washington, D.C., September 20, 2021) — Today, YWCA USA filed an amicus brief joined by Girls Inc., Supermajority Education Fund, and United State of Women (USOW), urging the Supreme Court to protect the fundamental right of women to decide whether or not to have a pre-viability abortion.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, challenges the right of women today and future generations of women to make decisions about their own bodies, lives, and futures. The groups argue that limiting reproductive freedom would undermine progress that women have made over the last 50 years, with devastating consequences for the constitutional rights, educational and economic futures, and health and safety of young women— consequences that are even more stark for young women of color. If the Supreme Court upholds Mississippi’s ban, 24 states would be poised to ban abortions. Across half the country, young women, who are the most likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy and the least likely to have the financial resources to travel to obtain an abortion, would lose access to care.
The following statements are from the signers of the amicus brief:
Elisha Rhodes, Interim CEO and COO, YWCA USA:
“Young women would face significant harm as the first generation in half a century to enter adulthood without the fundamental right to make the decision of whether and when to have children. The stakes for this decision couldn’t be higher: the right to access safe and legal abortion is essential to the pursuit of gender and racial justice. Armed with the knowledge that the right to determine their reproductive future was protected by Roe, young women have been able to invest in their education, training, vocations, and careers. Abortion bans could push young women out of the workplace and limit their education and careers, with lifelong consequences for themselves and their families. Everyone should have the freedom and power to make personal decisions about their lives, families, and futures. We must stand firmly for the right to safe, affordable, accessible abortion care.”
Stephanie J. Hull, Ph.D, President and CEO, Girls Inc.:
“Girls Inc. is committed to supporting girls’ rights and choices, and to their access to comprehensive sex education and reproductive health care services. Girls’ and women’s bodily autonomy is critical to their dignity as human beings and their right to be safe in the world. Not only is the Mississippi law unconstitutional; it also disproportionately affects already vulnerable groups such as low-income women, communities of color, sexual violence survivors, and youth. Access to safe, high-quality reproductive health care is essential for young women to take charge of key areas of their lives, including their health, education, career, and overall economic security.”
Amanda Brown Lierman, Executive Director, Supermajority Education Fund:
“Every woman across the country, no matter their race or their zip code, should have access to safe and legal abortion care. We must uphold the rights of women to make their own healthcare decisions. If we do not, we are not only stripping women of their autonomy, but also putting their lives at risk. The Supermajority Education Fund stands in solidarity with YWCA USA in calling on the Supreme Court to uphold our right to make our own healthcare decisions because our bodies should be respected.”
Jordan Brooks, Executive Director, United State of Women:
“Without reproductive freedom and abortion access, young women do not have the ability to control their own destinies, their educational journeys, or their economic stability. The United State of Women believes that every issue is a gender issue and reproductive justice is central to that. This moment is a part of our movement, and we staunchly support the amicus brief.”
Young women today recognize and care deeply about protecting Roe’s promise. In YWomenVote 2020, YWCA USA’s most recent report exploring the opinions of diverse groups of women across the country, young women overwhelmingly supported Roe v Wade. In fact, 72% of the women aged 18 to 22 (part of Generation Z) and 68% of women aged 23 to 38 (part of the Millennial generation) viewed protecting Roe v. Wade as being “very important.” More than 69% of Black, Latina, Asian and Pacific Islander, and American Indian and Alaska Native women consistently expressed to protecting their right to abortion is “very important.”
For more information on this decision and to find out how you can help stand with young women at the Supreme Court, please visit www.ywca.org/amicusbrief.
About YWCA USA
YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We are one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families. YWCA has been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements for 160 years — from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform. Today, we combine programming and advocacy to generate institutional change in three key areas: racial justice and civil rights, empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls, and health and safety of women and girls.
ABOUT GIRLS INC.
Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. We work with schools and in communities to provide the mentoring relationships, safe spaces, and evidence-based programming that are proven to help girls succeed. Girls build the knowledge, skills, and confidence to lead change in their lives and effect change in the world. Girls Inc. also works with and for girls to advance legislation and policies that increase opportunities for all girls. Together with partners and supporters, we are building a new generation of leaders.
ABOUT SUPERMAJORITY EDUCATION FUND
Supermajority Education Fund focuses on research about the role and standing of women, educates the public about issues of importance to women, and supports policies that advance women. We are making the case and building the demand for the Majority Rules, a set of values that if true, women would have equality in this country. We are shifting the way people think about women’s political power, imagining a different future and using that vision to ignite women’s civic participation.
About the United State of Women
USOW aims to create a world in which all women and marginalized genders can thrive. Through education, community, and action, USOW amplifies issues at the intersection of gender and racial justice and galvanizes organizations, public figures, and everyday feminists of all genders to drive policy and culture change. Learn more here.