Interview: Abortion Rights Benefit Workers

Natascha Elena Uhlmann

Over the past year, workers have seen our lives irrevocably changed. The Supreme Court’s landmark Dobbs decision gutted a fundamental right to bodily autonomy and plunged millions into crisis and uncertainty. Almost immediately, a litany of horror stories emerged. 

Doctors denying life saving care for fear of retribution; women trapped with their abusers or killed for accessing abortion care; children — already subjected to unspeakable violence — forced to seek the procedure in the shadows, lest they bear children of their own.

Since the ruling, 14 states have implemented full abortion bans, and several others are working tirelessly to restrict access.

Not content with their unprecedented assault on reproductive autonomy, some Republicans have moved swiftly onto their next target: birth control. It’s abundantly clear that these assaults will continue unabated until we’re strong enough as a movement to stop them. So, how the hell do we get there? 

For Sara Nelson, the answer is clear: our movements need to be willing to show up for each other like never before. The attack on abortion rights is at its core an attack on working people.

Poor people are more than five times as likely to face an unwanted pregnancy, and Black women in the U.S. are almost three times more likely to die during pregnancy than women of another race.

Forced parenthood traps families into lifetimes of poverty and trauma — and unsurprisingly, the states that have moved most swiftly to restrict abortion rights are also those who do the least to support new parents through parental leave, pregnancy protections at work, and a liveable wage. 

Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL – CIO, spoke to In These Times on the fight for abortion rights and labor’s duty to take a strong stand. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

This is a segment of a blog / interview that originally appeared in full at In These Times on September 4, 2023. Republished with permission.

About the Author: Natascha Elena Uhlmann is the Audience Engagement Editor at In These Times. A writer and organizer, her work has appeared in The Guardian, Truthout, Rewire News, and Teen Vogue. She is also the author of Abolish ICE.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.