At our AFT, 1931 general meeting in November, the membership unanimously voted to pass the following resolution reaffirming reproductive justice and gender equality. In the wake of the assaults on reproductive rights in Texas and at the Supreme Court level, AFT 1931 stands firmly against these efforts to roll back basic human rights and freedoms. Below is the full text of that resolution:
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE AND GENDER EQUALITY
Whereas, the Mission Statement of the American Federation of Teachers Guild, Local 1931 (AFT Local 1931) states that the Guild is dedicated to achieving and maintaining the highest quality educational environment provided for our students and a respectable and equitable work environment for our employees.
Whereas, AFT Local 1931 recognizes that achieving equity requires the dismantling of institutional racism, sexism, and homophobia as well as societal and economic barriers facing students and all workers in our member units.
Whereas, Texas recently passed Senate Bill 8 ending almost all abortion access and care in the state, on September 1, 2021. The Supreme Court refused to block the law, which is the most restrictive reproductive rights law in the country. Similar restrictive laws have been signed in 13 other states and more will be passed by states in the coming weeks. In response to these laws, Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed legislation to make California a “reproductive freedom state.” And the San Diego County Board of Supervisors also voted to declare San Diego a “champion of reproductive freedom.”
Whereas, restrictive reproductive laws and policies deepen the community college drop-out crisis for both men and women. For example, the National Study of Youth and Religion found that dropping out of college due to unplanned pregnancy was especially prevalent at community colleges, where nearly half of all students, both men and women, have experienced an unplanned pregnancy. Thus, 61% of community college students who have children after enrolling do not finish their education. Additionally, according to a 2013 University of California, San Francisco study, one in seven women who sought reproductive services said that it was in order to continue their education. Also, research published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 30% of women college dropouts cite “pregnancy” and “parenthood” as key reasons for discontinuing their education.
Whereas, regulatory policies restricting access to reproductive health care are anchored to social and ideological coercion, not budgetary considerations for public health. Unwanted pregnancies, regardless of the pregnant person’s decision, have significant economic consequences. These economic consequences disproportionately affect working-class, Black, Indigenous, People of the Global Majority (BIPGM) as an outcome of inequitable access to reproductive education and health care.
Whereas, physical health is severely compromised when pregnant persons, including transgender persons, are denied reproductive freedom, with the mortality risk being 14 times greater for those denied abortion. Denial of reproductive freedom has also historically resulted in unnecessary deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated the number of illegal procedures went from 130,000 to 17,000 between 1972 and 1974. In these same years the mortality rate for nonwhite women was 12 times that of white women. In 1972, 39 of those women died. Since that year, the number of deaths from illegal abortions has plummeted. To restrict reproductive freedom is to endanger pregnant persons’ lives.
Whereas, mental health is essential to the overall well-being of individuals. Abuse, whether physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual, can have long-term effects on a individual’s mental health. Denying individuals the right to a safe and legal reproductive health services adds fear, stress, and cruelty to an already difficult and personal decision. The implementation of SB 8 has devastating effects on the physical and mental health on low-income and women of color who are unable to travel out of state for reproductive health services.
Whereas, discrimination on the basis of sex and gender is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.Various reproductive freedoms have been established and upheld as constitutional rights through U.S. Supreme Court decisions including Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), Roe v. Wade (1973), Casey v. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania (1992), and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016). Fundamental to these decisions is the concept of personal privacy as a constitutional right within the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty.
Resolved, that the AFT Local 1931 stands with the San Diego Board of Supervisors and the Governor of California in championing reproductive freedom and categorically opposing any legislation that would diminish reproductive freedom.
Resolved, that the AFT Local 1931 affirms that women’s, LGBTQIA+ rights and pregnant persons’ rights are human rights. We are students, workers, families and members in our community concerned about equitable working conditions, access to health care, including reproductive services, and safety in our communities from violence against those who attack us for our gender identification and our reproductive choices.
Resolved, that the AFT Local 1931 will create a Gender Advocacy group to provide recommendations to the CFT’s Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Committee and provide educational opportunities to our membership on the issue of gender and sexual rights.