Statement from Audra Wilson, President and CEO of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law
June 30, 2022
It has almost become clichéd to talk about the unprecedented times in which we live. But given last Friday’s Supreme Court decision, which reflects the ever-widening political and racial divide in our country, such a statement feels quite accurate.
The opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reads less like a traditional reasoned decision and more like an ideologically motivated missive. Precedent has always been our protection, especially surrounding the rights enjoyed by people in the communities that we serve. Yet the principles that guided the decision were not based on precedent, but personal views and political dogma instead.
Dobbs affects the ability of women to take care of themselves and the children they have, now or in the future. It will disproportionately impact people with low income and people of color. And because women are essential to our economy, overturning Roe v. Wade has staggering economic implications. The gender pay gap, lack of affordable childcare, and lack of a national paid leave policy have pushed women out of the workforce during the pandemic at higher rates than men, with women of color leaving at the highest rates.
No time has been as politically and racially fraught since the Shriver Center on Poverty Law’s inception nearly 60 years ago. Attacks on civil liberties for the most vulnerable Americans have increased, with no end in sight. The responsibility to address these problems is on each of us. We must vote in every election we can—and urge others to follow suit. And we must elect bold leaders who take action to advance racial and economic justice.