The Huffington Post published an article that Venable Professor of Law Michele Gilman contributed originally to The Conversation.
In “How Limiting Women’s Access to Birth Control and Abortions Hurts the Economy” (Huffington Post, April 28), Gilman writes that access to a full range of reproductive health options — family-planning services, contraception and sex education, as well as abortion — is essential not only to women’s physical health but also to their economic well-being.
She points out that the Supreme Court acknowledged this in 1992, stating in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey: “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”
Writes Gilman: “However, it seems that state and federal legislators, certain politicians running for president as well as some conservative Supreme Court justices have forgotten the meaning of this sweeping language.
“As a consequence, the right to control their reproductive health has become increasingly illusory for many women, particularly the poor.”
Continues Gilman: “In addition to its widely recognized health and autonomy benefits for women, contraception directly boosts the economy. In fact, research shows access to the pill is responsible for a third of women’s wage gains since the 1960s.
“And this benefit extends to their kids. Children born to mothers with access to family planning benefit from a 20 to 30 percent increase in their own incomes over their lifetimes, as well as boosting college completion rates.”
She laments the inanity of politicians who promise to improve the U.S. economy while simultaneously trying to limit women’s access to abortion, birth control and sex education.
Writes Gilman: “Our nation’s economic health and women’s reproductive health are linked.”