A pivotal moment
The Supreme Court held oral arguments yesterday in a case about a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. During the proceedings, the court’s six conservative justices signaled they are comfortable with the Mississippi law, although upholding it would be at odds with Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion up to 23 weeks.
Mississippi has made the case that women have progressed enough economically since the 1970s to make abortion unnecessary. Before Roe v. Wade, “there was little support for women who wanted a full family life and a successful career,” Mississippi’s attorney general, Lynn Fitch, said in a statement summarizing a brief filed to the court. Now, parental leave, flexible work setups and other policies mean that “women have carved their own way to achieving a better balance for success in their professional and personal lives,” she wrote.
The Times’s Alisha Haridasani Gupta, a gender reporter, considers this argument:
While some progress has been made, the idea that the benefits Mississippi describes are available to most women is still a stretch.
Parental leave is rare. The U.S. is the only rich country without national paid maternity leave. Family leave is only available to 20 percent of private sector workers and 8 percent of low-wage workers, according to government stats.
The option to work from home is not widely available. Even with the pandemic closing down offices, in 2020 less than half of U.S. workers had the flexibility to work from home.
Should the court overturn Roe v. Wade — a decision is not expected until next summer — at least 20 states have laws or constitutional amendments already in place to ban abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. That could affect abortion access for 41 percent of women of childbearing age, with implications for the workplace as well.
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING
Markets look up, for now, after another Covid-linked drop. U.S. futures were in the green this morning, after indexes fell for a second day amid fears that the economic …….