Before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 24 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationmore than five decades of liberating access to contraception and abortion care had demonstrable effects for women’s economic outcomes in the wake of the previously precedent-setting Supreme Court decisions in Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade. These economic outcomes are now under threat.

Women today make up almost half of the overall U.S. labor force, compared to just one-third in 1950, and are the backbone of maintaining family incomes. These outcomes were influenced at least in part by the ability of people to have more autonomy over planning if and when to start a family. Access to reproductive care and control over family planning provided rightful bodily autonomy to people to control their lives and decisions, and enabled more women to participate in the labor force and pursue higher education—and thus earn higher wages and match into jobs that are more fulfilling for them.

Even before the Dobbs ruling, the right to access abortion and contraceptives more broadly—legalized in the early 1970s—faced restrictions in various states and picked up following the 2010 midterm elections that ushered conservatives into power in state legislatures across the country. These restrictions were already limiting women’s economic opportunities based on where they live. After the June 24 Dobbs decision, women’s economic opportunities will only worsen in these states and perhaps be further exacerbated by other attacks on rights and freedoms in the future.

wide body of research demonstrates that access to reproductive care is fundamental in ensuring economic well-being for women and their families. This research also finds that access to reproductive healthcare is particularly critical for women of color, who face additional economic barriers imposed by structural racism, such as longstanding and widespread occupational segregation.

Read the full article about abortion access by Kate Bahn and Emilie Openchowski at Washington Center for Equitable Growth.