How abortion bans could harm women at work

How abortion bans could harm women at work

Roe v. Wade it is almost certain that it will be annulled, which could effectively make abortion illegal in about half of US states. If that happens, historical data show that it will not only affect women personally, but will also endanger their professional lives.

That decision, whose draft it was leaked to Politico earlier this month, it affects a woman’s likelihood of working at all, what type of job she does, how much education she gets, how much money she earns, and even the hopes and dreams she has for herself. In return, her career affects almost every other aspect of her life, from her likelihood of living in poverty to her view of herself.

And depriving women of the opportunity to make that decision can undo decades of progress that women have made in the workforce, which has cascading effects on the place of women in society.

As Caitlin Myers, a professor of economics at Middlebury College, said, “Having children is the only economically most important decision most women make.”

We know all this because of decades of research on how abortion bans harm women – a study by Myers, along with more than 150 other economists, stated in the amicus’ submission to the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationthe Mississippi case it is probably to upend Roe v. Wade. In addition to long-term studies that specifically address the outcome of women who have not been able to have abortions compared to those who have, there are even more reliable data on the negative cause-and-effect effects of having children on women in general. It’s also just common sense, says Jason Lindo, a professor of economics at the University of Texas A&M.

“Anyone who has had children or has seriously considered having children knows that it is very expensive in terms of time and money,” Lindo said. “Of course, restrictions that make it difficult for people to have children or that increase the number of children they have will have serious consequences for their careers and economic opportunities.”

Even in the absence of a national ban, state measures against abortion have been a major burden for women and society as a whole. Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) estimated that state-level constraints cost those economies $ 105 billion a year in reduced labor force participation, reduced wages, increased turnover, and leisure time among the first able-bodied women.

The ban on abortion will not affect all women equally. Myers says that in regions of the country where abortion is banned and where travel distances will increase so that women can have abortions, about three-quarters of women seeking abortion will continue to do so. This means that about a quarter of the women there – in Myers’ words, “the poorest, most vulnerable, most financially fragile women in the vast deep south and midwest” – will not receive their health services.

Because the United States is facing a constant shortage of labor – partly led by the women they have left the workforce to care for children and the elderly during a pandemic – the expected decision of the Supreme Court will worsen the situation and potentially change the experience of women in the workforce in the years to come.

1) The participation of women in the labor force could be reduced

Access to abortion is the main force it has increased the participation of women in the labor force. At the national level, women’s labor force participation rates have started from about 40 percent before Roe v. Wade it was passed in 1973 almost 60 percent before the pandemic (the participation of men at that time was almost 70 percent). Abortion bans could thwart or even nullify some of these gains.

Using data from Turnaway Studysignificant research comparing outcomes over time for women across the country who have received or been denied an abortion, University of California, San Francisco professor Diana Greene Foster and fellow researchers found that six months after they were denied an abortion, women are less likely to be employed full-time than those who had abortions. That difference remained significant four years after these women were denied an abortion, a gap that could affect their future employment prospects.

2) Lower education

Education rates are the foundation for career and salary prospects. A 1996 study authors Joshua Angrist and William Evans look at states that have previously liberalized abortion laws Roe v. Wade i it has been found that access to abortion leads to higher education rates and labor market outcomes. Kelly Jones, a professor of economics at the American University, used data from state regulations on abortion to determine the legal approach to abortion for young women who have become pregnant. increased their education in almost a year and their probability of graduating by about 20 percentage points. The evidence is largely driven by influences on young black women.

Other research Jones and Mayra Pineda-Torres found that simply exposing themselves to targeted restrictions on abortion providers or TRAP laws reduces the likelihood of young black teens attending or graduating from college. In turn, lower education affects the jobs for which women are qualified.

3) The types of jobs that women get will be more limited

Having children significantly affects the types of jobs that women get, often directing them to part-time work or lower-paid occupations. While a broader ban on abortion is imminent, many individual states have already adopted TRAP laws that make abortion more difficult. This law also enabled a natural experiment for researchers such as Kate Bahn, chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a nonprofit research organization that found that women in these states they are less likely to move to better paid occupations.

“We know a lot from previous research on the initial expansion of birth control and abortion pills in the 1970s that when women have a little more security in family planning, they simply make different decisions,” Bahn told Recode.

This could lead to more occupational segregation – overrepresentation of women in certain areas such as health care and teaching, for example – which reduces salaries in these fields, even when education, experience and location are taken into account.

4) All of the above negatively affects revenues

Reducing the jobs that women get, separation from the labor force, less education – all this harms women’s wages, which are already on average lower than men’s wages.

One paper economist Ali Abbouda who dealt with states where abortion was previously legal Roe v. Wade found that young women who had abortions to delay an unplanned pregnancy for just one year had an 11 percent increase in hourly wages compared to the average. Jones’s research found that legal access to abortion for pregnant young women increased their likelihood of entering the professional profession by 35 percentage points.

IWPR estimates that if existing abortion restrictions are lifted, women across the U.S. will earn an average of $ 1,600 more per year. Lost income affects not only women who have unwanted pregnancies, but also their families and their existing children. Income, in turn, affects poverty rates not only for women who have to go through unwanted pregnancies, but also their existing children.

5) Lack of access to abortion limits women’s career aspirations

Perhaps most insidiously, the lack of access to abortion severely limits women’s hopes for their own careers. Building on her team’s research in the Turnaway study, Foster found that women who have not been able to have an abortion of their choice are significantly less likely to have one-year employment goals than they are, probably because those goals would be much harder to achieve while caring for a newborn. They are also less likely to have a one-year or five years old aspirational goals in general.

Restricting women’s autonomy in terms of their reproductive rights reinforces women’s unequal status in ways that are both concrete and transient, Nicole Mason, president and CEO of IWPR, told Recode C.

“It’s a very psychological, emotional, psychological feeling – to feel and understand that my equality, my rights are less than my male counterparts,” she said. “It simply came to our notice then. The Supreme Court does so. ”

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