American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley has issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a woman's constitutional right to an abortion:
“Yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to safe and legal abortion is a wake-up call to everyone who ever thought our rights as Americans would never be taken away.
“This Supreme Court has chosen to take away choice from American women. This Supreme Court has decided that women should not have control over their own bodies or the practice of their own religions. Rather than acting to protect our rights and uphold precedent, the right-wing majority on the Court has eliminated rights that Americans have relied on for half a century.
“The right to safe and legal abortion is a personal right, a right of privacy, but it is also an economic right that has allowed Americans to make their own decisions about family size and career. In a nation that fails to provide any economic support for the costs of raising children – no guarantee of paid family leave, no guarantee of health care that covers the costs of pregnancy or childbirth, no guarantee of education beyond K-12 – forcing women to bear children against their will is an outrage.
“Abortion rights have always been union rights and now, as a result of this decision, employers will have to compensate for at least some of the costs this decision has imposed on American families. The federal government, as a model employer, must immediately agree to provide paid leave and cover the travel costs of any federal or D.C. government employee who must leave their state of residence in order to obtain an abortion.
“Justice Thomas’s concurrence promises that this Court will soon try to take away the freedom to marry for LGBTQIA+ Americans and strip away our right to contraception. These actions, along with the decision on abortion, gun control, the right to vote, and the right of unions to collect agency fees, are all of a piece; they all turn back the clock on a generation of social and economic progress in this country.
“There is an old labor song whose lyrics tell us clearly what the task before us must be:
‘Freedom doesn’t come like a bird on the wing,
Doesn’t come down like the summer rain,
Freedom, Freedom, is a hard won thing
And every generation has to win it again.’
“Our generation has to win the right to safe and legal abortion again. And we will do so.”