In the wake of Alabama banning all abortions (even in the case of rape and incest) and Georgia outlawing the procedure after six weeks (aka before most women know they are pregnant), there should be little doubt that abortion rights are under attack in the United States. If you’re looking for even more proof, the Guttmacher Institute has it.
The research group released a map last month showing that 28 states introduced legislation in the first quarter of 2019 that would, in some way, curtail a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body.
In addition to the bill approved by the Alabama Senate yesterday (not yet reflected on the map), large swaths of the South (Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi) and the midwest (Ohio, Missouri, North Dakota) are enacting restrictive legislation in the hopes that a more conservative U.S. Supreme Court will hand down a favorable ruling in responsen to legal challenges.
Such a scenario would spell the end of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established that a woman’s constitutionally protected right to privacy included whether or not to have an abortion before a fetus is viable outside the womb, usually about 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
According to the institute’s analysis of the abortion rights landscape, seven states are currently “very hostile” to abortion rights; 14 states are “hostile”; 25 states are in the middle-ground; three states are “supportive”; and only California qualifies as “very supportive.” This is a marked change from the 2000s when no states were “very hostile” and only four were “hostile.”
Currently, 29 million U.S. women of reproductive age (43% of the total number) live in hostile and very hostile states.
While this may not seem like a business issue, it very much is. As Fast Company reported, a recent survey found that about two-thirds of full-time employees over the age of 25 believe women’s reproductive freedom is key to their success in the workplace, and that companies should publicly show their support for women’s reproductive rights. Additionally, 60% of people surveyed said they would be more loyal to a company that helped cover prenatal care, family planning, and abortion care.