VBSR Statement on Reproductive Liberty

In light of today’s Supreme Court decision to end the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, VBSR is reiterating its position on reproductive liberty as most recently addressed publicly in April. Following are comments from Jordan Giaconia, VBSR’s Public Policy Manager, on April 14, 2022, given to express VBSR’s strong support for Vermont’s reproductive liberty amendment. His statement was made at a press event for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE).

“VBSR is a statewide business association with a mission to leverage the power of business for positive social and environmental change. We represent over 650 Vermont employers, from solopreneurs to our state’s largest and most iconic brands. While I’m sure many of you have heard about the public health and ethical motivations to preserve reproductive liberty for all, as business leaders we also want Vermonters to be aware of the economic benefits as well.

In short, a Vermonter who can make decisions about their own reproductive health care, including whether to become a parent, use temporary or permanent birth control, or seek abortion care, is a Vermonter with greater control over their economic well-being. Having access to the full range of reproductive health care helps them control their lives, their health, and their futures, and we are all better for it. 

Not having enough money to care for a child or support another child is the most common reason people give for wanting to terminate a pregnancy and Vermonters are justified in being concerned about the financial consequences of carrying a pregnancy to term. Because the responsibility of raising a child born after being denied an abortion falls disproportionately on women, restricting abortion access threatens their economic security.

In fact, someone who is denied access to abortion and forced to give birth is more likely to experience household poverty lasting at least four years; more likely to not have the resources to cover basic living expenses like food, housing, and transportation; more likely to have lower credit scores and higher debt loads; and their children are more likely to live below the federal poverty level.

On the other hand, states that have adopted policies that afford their citizens more control over their bodies are also the states where women have more opportunity in the labor market. 

  • Women living in states with a stronger reproductive health care have higher earnings and report less occupational segregation compared with women living in states that have more limited reproductive health care access.
  • Women in states with strong reproductive health care climates are also less likely to work part time, providing them higher earning potential; more robust benefits such as paid leave and paid sick days; and more upward mobility in the workplace.
  • Reproductive rights and health care access also reduce ‘job lock,’ or the lack of labor mobility between jobs. Women who live in states with strong reproductive health care access, as measured by publicly available funding for abortion, are more likely to transition between occupations and from unemployment into employment.

Together, these findings only begin to paint a picture that clearly shows that a person’s ability to access the full range of reproductive health care services is strongly tied to their economic mobility and well-being.

Yet, across the country we are seeing direct attacks on reproductive rights and access to care is quickly approaching a crisis point. In 2021, state legislatures set a disturbing record of 108 abortion restrictions enacted across 19 states. In 2022, we’ve seen hundreds more restrictions put forward with new ones enacted in states like Oklahoma, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, South Dakota, Wyoming, and beyond. Within the next few months, the U.S. Supreme Court is also expected to issue a ruling on reproductive rights, one that could potentially overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The need for strong decisive action to permanently protect reproductive care has never been more urgent. Let’s ensure that reproductive health care decisions are centered on a patient’s health and financial well-being and not on a politician’s beliefs. Let’s put ourselves on the right side of history. Let’s ratify the Reproductive Liberty Amendment.”