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#OneRouge Friday Community Check-In (Week 107)




Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in EBR, The Walls Project has been hosting weekly video calls with leaders of nonprofits, foundations, city government, and local businesses from a

cross the parish. The intention of these weekly community check-ins is to share information and resources to help the Baton Rouge community respond and recover from the pandemic. Weekly topics range from access to basic needs such as food, medical care, and safety to thought-leaders' insights on equitable opportunities for youth enrichment, nonprofit financial solvency, surge in unemployment, and the disproportionate impact on impoverished neighborhoods in regards to accessing fresh food.


 

Exploring the Economic Reality post-Roe v. Wade Society

Meeting Notes Prepared by Walls Project


Summer Steib - Director Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (LSU Women's Center)/Adjunct Professor/Power-Based Violence Trainer

This conversation is often framed in terms of being pro-life. I know some folks in here attended and participated in the webinar by Southern University. They did a phenomenal job of starting this conversation. This is not a single-issue based conversation. This is not a conversation about abortion and abortion access. What does the rights landscape look like? What does economic impact look like? It’s nearly impossible to detangle those. Starting with history, it’s important to know that when we talk about law we have so many multiple levels that impact our lives daily. From local ordinances, to state laws, and then federal laws. When something is not specified in federal law, it’s really open to state law and for states to interpret. That’s one of the things we’re seeing with Roe v Wade, which originates in Texas. That case worked its way to the supreme court and they ruled that abortion is a right to all persons in the US and the 14th and 15th amendments were set. It supersedes what states can do. Included in the leaked brief is also the Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The US was founded on coverture concept. A woman’s civil identity is under her husband. When women got married they took their husband’s name and they ceased to have a legal identity. It’s not until the early 1990s that this is no longer a legal reality. Violence against women act in 1993 requires every state to have marital rape as a crime. This is a requirement of every state. The other side is Planned Parenthood vs Casey. If a married woman is seeking an abortion they had to notify the partner and the court ruled that’s an unnecessary burden. If this is overturned we see a path for coverture to come back into existence. The leaked brief also contains legal precedence by William Hail, a justice from the 1600s. Legally women don’t have full rights and autonomy over our bodies and that is open to the control of the state for lack of access and also to potential men/partners/spouses. When we think about this we think about it contemporarily, but if this is overturned then every other case based on similar precedent is open to being challenged. It’s access to birth control, same sex marriages. It opens the door to all of those things and the roll back to rights.

Tanya Rawal - Vice President, Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR)

Economic impact - it will inevitably pull women out of the workforce. Women will slip away from leadership roles and economic positions. It will negatively impact wage growth for everyone. Every 10% increase in females in the labor force is a 5% median wage increase for both men and women. To overturn Roe is to knowingly and forcibly create a recession. With women out of the pay workforce there will be less competition and wages will go up. In no scenario is a decline in job opportunities a good thing. So how do we see this decline? Women and girls who are coerced into having children especially in their youth, will avoid the education and economic advancement. Our economy risks operating without 51% of our population. That population will and can create more jobs. By protecting Roe we will see more women entering the workforce and we will see wages increase. The goal is to have a healthier economy. Things like better healthcare access, healthier workplace cultures. It is not lost on me that this strategy of focusing on the GDP takes away from the human side of this. Women who were turned away and went on to have birth went on to have household poverty for years. Women were more likely to not have money to pay basic living expenses. Being denied lowered a woman’s credit score and increased their negative public records like bankruptcies. By overturning Roe, we will restrict people’s power to make decisions of their own body. This means we will no longer be living in a democratic society.

Megan Simmons - Director, National Birth Equity Collaborative

We center our work on a culturally specific demographic. Black women are disproportionately impacted by abortion in this country. More than half of Black Americans live in the south and the de-abortion laws are more restrictive in the south. The transportation barriers. Some of those states are landlocked around states with restrictive laws. If you can’t get there in a car you’re going to have to fly, which lends itself to economic impact. States with access will be more impacted. Some states will see even more folks. Even in those states it’s not as accessible. If you are in California you’ll even have to drive a long way sometimes to get to a clinic. Economic impact on women who will have to raise unwanted children. There’s not a lot of support in the way of housing, education, or food. 49% of abortions were by people living below the poverty line. Black women are disproportionately affected by the wage and wealth gap. What is it going to look like economically? Childcare, transportation, loss of wages. Even if you have the opportunity to gain access, the actual cost of having the procedure. 13 states have trigger laws, so if it is overturned then some will automatically make it illegal. A lot have no exception for rape or incest or people with terminal illnesses. It’s not a cut and dry situation. Outside we’re just autonomous beings who should be able to make our own decisions, the law doesn’t lend itself to what some people may be facing.

COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS

Flitcher Bell - if you missed the conversation yesterday we had a very dynamic group of speakers. Please go to our website and review it. We were trying to get across all of the impact Roe would make as far as every area of a person’s life. If you start down that slippery slope, you’re starting to overturn things that a lot of us have over the past 50 years as one of our landmark decision cases. Then you look at Plessy v Ferguson, Brown v Board of Education, Loving v Virginia; if one landmark case can be overturned, what else can be overturned? We are going to have a follow up part 2 to that session and another one with the end of the legislative session. The importance of voting. I don’t care who you vote for, but vote. Your nonvote is a vote for the other side. People fought and died for this right. I look at the last judicial race and the judge who won by 2 votes, which was only 4% of the population. We have more people at the football games than people who are voting on the people who are making decisions about our lives.

Morgan Udoh - Often these conversations are centered around people who are not intending to have children or will have economic hardship. These laws will have ripple effects for all people. The bills coming out treating atopic pregnancies being illegal and then that makes me talk to my partner about even trying to have a child at all, because if that were to happen it would be a death sentence for me.

Rev. Anderson - The message and the messenger. The idea that we are not paying attention to judges the way we should. Most of what’s happening now is voter disengagement and judicial mandates. Half of these cases only got to the supreme court because who was at the seats on the lower level. If it becomes a one dimensional conversation. That’s one of the really critical things. I want to see the conversation get bigger.

Megan Simmons - You can’t say enough about how state government is ignored. Whether you participate or not, you’re still subject to those same laws. We need to be cognizant of that. While federal law is important, we need to look at our state laws.

Tanya Rawal - We should use the First Amendment while we still have it. Speak up and have the conversation. The 2006 Trigger Law that Blanco signed in specifically says that providers will not be able to provide this type of healthcare. Is that because the doctors and medical world got behind this? Medical students not being trained in basic healthcare services? I wonder what the trickle effects are about this.

Summer Steib - I think now more than ever it’s critical that we have comprehensive sex education. In Louisiana we have some of the most restrictive laws about sex education. How do we really lean on our elected officials that we have comprehensive sex education in the US. It’s staggering what they don’t know about their own body. If access is going to be blocked, then we have to shift and focus on massive public education campaigns around prevention and access. This is absolutely an economic issue. Women who are in a similar situation as me. This is really about who are we controlling and why are we controlling them. We are talking about under resourced citizens. Systemically excluded members of our population. What’s going to happen to the American undercast that keeps this country running.

Pamela Johnson - We can talk about the judges, but the judges do not make the laws. Legislature makes the laws. Who are we going to have in state government and who are we sending there. Looking at the bills we had in the state legislature, they’re not going to change because they are going to be more empowered. In Louisiana, the law books say marriage is between a man and a woman, so even though that’s not the law of the land, that’s Louisiana law. Judges don’t make laws, they enforce them. Let’s talk about the law makers and let’s change the law makers.

Alfredo Cruz - It seems HB 813 will be put back on House calendar with amendments. it's interesting if you read the fiscal note for this bill (which explains how much this law will cost the State) is clear any actual conviction will cost $26.39 per day/per offender in adult local "housing" and $83.23 per day/per offender for State facility. That's equal to about $800/month for local rent and $2,532/month in State facility rent. Wow!

-I’m always interested in saying how much these laws will cost us. Every day that somebody sits in jail because they had an abortion, it’s like $800 a month for rent and a state facility is over $2500 a month for rent. How do we not help people with rent when they’re facing those circumstances when they made that decision based on finances to begin with? We need to change the lawmakers. There is going to be a local fee, those fees will come to the local jurisdiction and what those fees should be used for.

Casey Phillips - The economic conversation, I would love to hear from the speakers about where’s the voice from the healthcare system? Where are our insurance providers and our healthcare providers? What’s the economic impact on additional government funding on the burden on that system of more people needing government assistance? My wife said something yesterday, the men who are on this call, if you do not get your voice loud, you’re complicit. It shouldn’t have to be the case that men have to speak up, but that’s not where we are. Women should not have to need male voices in this conversation. However, where we are right now, if you sit on the sidelines you are complicit. We have to pick the phone up. Stand up and get loud.

Nicole Scott - We have a lot of conversations going on right now about ethics and what that means for doctors. There are all sorts of issues for us


 

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