In early May, the nation received a stark warning that reproductive rights and access to health services would shortly undergo massive restrictions. Today, we received the official confirmation. We remain equally committed to protecting the rights of women to access the full range of reproductive health services and make important health decisions as individuals.
Like other foundations in California (East Bay Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the David & Lucille Packard Foundation), we stand with all women and health advocates fighting on their behalf to safeguard reproductive freedoms and access to safe and affordable health care.
Equal access to healthcare is fundamentally rooted in racial and social justice. When others erect barriers to prevent the delivery of high-quality reproductive services, they eliminate a critical component of health care and further diminish women’s equal participation in society.
Restricting access to reproductive care also further exacerbates existing disparities women face in accessing health care, effective birth control options, and access to childcare and paid parental leave, and disproportionately affects women at or below the federal poverty level as well as women of color, and reduces their economic security and mobility.
The Turnaway Study, which has tracked two cohorts of women for more than ten years, “pinpointed the lack of abortion access as the turning point in women’s economic trajectories.” (PBS, “Here’s how the right to abortion is also an economic issue,” May 5, 2022)
We should not forget that access to health services, including abortion access, has significantly contributed to the rise of women in the labor force. As cited in the New York Times, “labor force participation went from about 43 percent in 1970 to 57.4 percent in 2019.” (New York Times, “How Roe Shaped the World of Work for Women,” May 7, 2022).
Further, those gains particularly benefited single Black women. (David E. Kalist, 2004. “Abortion and Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence Before Roe v. Wade,” Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 503-514, July.)
A number of state and regional funds provide financial and mental support for women seeking reproductive services, like the Lilith Fund in Texas and Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama and Mississippi. A comprehensive curated list is available at https://bit.ly/AbortionFundsTwitter.
A number of national organizations – such as Indigenous Women Rising, Keep Our Clinics, National Abortion Federation, Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, The Brigid Alliance, and Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE) – also work with local providers and help with out of state travel and clinic fees. Last, East Bay Community Foundation curated a list of organizations led by and serving communities of color.
We will continue to advocate for women’s access to healthcare services and reducing health disparities for under-resourced populations.