November 29, 2022

The argument that abortion is no longer needed because women can balance work and family was advanced last week before the Supreme Court. 

The court is considering  a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. Mississippi’s attorney general, Lynn Fitch, argued in a brief to the court that women could have successful careers while having children.

More:Texas abortion law catches eye of Ohio lawmakers but Mississippi SCOTUS case could make it irrelevant

According to Fitch, the idea that abortion could help level the playing field for women, and allow them “to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation,” as decided in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, was now outdated.

Women don’t need abortions, Mississippi’s attorney general claimed, because they already have it all.

Mytheli Sreenivas is associate professor of history and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, as well as director of the South Asian Studies Initiative at The Ohio State University. She also is the author of “Reproductive Politics and the Making of Modern India.”

This argument is wrong on the facts. As many parents know, the so-called balance between work and caring for your family is impossible for some people, and difficult for nearly everyone else.

The United States is one of only six nations in the world which has no federally mandated paid parental leave, and it spends far less on public preschool and daycare than other wealthy nations. When it comes to the care of young children, the expectation is that parents, especially mothers, are on their own.

This hits poor women and women of color the hardest.

More:Columbus files brief with Supreme Court for 29 cities and counties opposing Mississippi abortion law

Studies show that women take on a heavy economic burden when they have children. Mothers lose thousands of dollars in lifetime earnings, a “motherhood penalty” that generally does not impact fathers’ incomes.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed suit in June against PBMs and drug makers she blames for artificially keeping the price of insulin high.

One study comparing women who were able to get an abortion with those who were denied found that women who could not get abortion care were three times more likely to be unemployed and four times more likely to have household incomes below the poverty level.

It’s true that some women can have children without losing their economic security, but our society has a long way to go before this is possible for all women. For this reason alone, abortion needs to be a choice that people can make for themselves.

Moreover, a pregnant person’s choice to have an abortion is not always, or only, about financial costs.

https://www.dispatch.com/story/opinion/columns/guest/2021/12/08/what-could-consequences-15-week-abortion-ban/8879409002/