By Amalia Luxardo
Published as an opinion in the Arizona Daily Star
As a mother of three young children recently returning from maternity leave, I’ve been processing that I have returned to work with fewer rights than when my son was born just five months ago. Pima County’s decision to resurrect the 1864 law prohibiting abortion has sent us back in time.
My return to the Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona is clouded with despair, and I have been suffocating with my thoughts about what’s next. What’s next for me, for the collective we, and for the future of women, girls, and birthing people throughout our state?
The Foundation is deeply concerned that abortion access restrictions take away personal decision-making. This could not be more contradictory to our nation’s spirit of freedom and self-determination.
The recent ruling by the Pima County Superior Court puts Arizonans in a position of being forced to carry a pregnancy to term. It re-affirms a law that predates our statehood, discounting advances in medical standards and how families are formed in the context of the modern day and age in which we live. Our communities deserve better.
Research shows that decisions about when or whether to parent significantly impact our economic well-being. People should have access to the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion, to make the best decision for them.
Every pregnant person’s circumstance is unique, but we do know that extensive research shows:
- Access to reproductive health resources is an economic issue that impacts women in every demographic, especially low-income women and women of color.
- Unplanned childbearing is associated with higher poverty rates and less family stability.
- Birthing people denied abortions are four times as likely to experience economic hardship and live below the federal poverty line for at least four years compared to women who received an abortion.
- Children born to women denied abortions are more likely to live in households without enough money to pay for basic living expenses like food and housing.
- Women denied an abortion are more likely to stay in contact with a violent partner, resulting in increased risk for their children and themselves.
Simply said, when people can make their own decisions about their health and pregnancies, they are more likely to be economically independent or on the path to self-sufficiency. They have better opportunities to further their education, participate in the labor market, and increase their earning potential – factors that can also narrow the gender wage gap. With this ruling, we will now see more people living in poverty.
The Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona strongly opposes this decision, which strips away people’s ability to make their own decisions about their health and their future and threatens the pursuit of an equitable Arizona.
We commit to continuing the work for the social and economic supports that impact birthing people in our community, including access to abortion and other reproductive health services.
WFSA has announced the Century Fund as a family support fund for individuals impacted by the Dobbs verdict. We recognize that pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting come with significant financial responsibilities and have established this fund as a resource for those who need it.
Recipients of this funding are trusted to use the award in a way that best supports their unique circumstances. Nonprofit organizations can apply for funding up to $15,000 to support family planning & support services and individuals can apply for $1,500 in family support funding. People can apply for funding or donate to support the fund at womengiving.org/century.
It is our time and our turn to meet this moment. We join the larger reproductive justice movement and stand firmly with advocates in full support of creating an Arizona where women, girls, and birthing people of all identities thrive. This can only happen when we have the freedom to make decisions about our bodies, our health, and our futures. If you do not have control over your own body, then no other freedom matters.