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How Reversing Roe v Wade Destroys Economic Freedom

Last Tuesday, May 10th, the Senate confirmed economist Dr. Lisa Cook to serve on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors.

She’s the first Black woman to hold this position.

How Racism Hampers the Economy

Some of Dr. Cook’s most well-known research focuses on the impact of lynching and racial violence on African American innovation and broadly, the economy.

The research highlights that the racial violence that Black people experienced suppresses their ability to contribute innovations to business and technology, limiting economic growth.

Dr. Lisa Cook testifies before Congress
Dr. Lisa Cook testifies before Congress

Violence in the form of segregation, lynching, and other forms of state-sponsored oppression have all hampered not only the prosperity of the Black community, but the entire country.

A History of Violence

An example of this type of violence and its resulting impact is the 1921 massacre that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma when a mob of white supremacists destroyed a wealthy Black neighborhood.

It is important to note that the mob had the support of government officials and was in fact state-sanctioned violence.

Black and white photo of Black residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma during 1921 massacre
Black residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma during 1921 massacre

An interesting piece of her research seems to suggest that if white people had been subjected to such violence, then their household wealth, and the wider economy, would also have taken a significant hit.

Reproductive Freedom Enables Economic Freedom

This issue relates to Reproductive Justice because the government is actively engaged in state-sanctioned violence as legislators across the country seek to attack, restrict, and restrain the bodily autonomy of women and birthing persons.

Photo of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifying before Congress
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before Congress

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently stated that eliminating access to abortion would have “very damaging effects” on our economy.

According to Yellen, access to reproductive health care directly leads to more participation of people in the labor force. Essentially, lack of abortion access will keep persons with an unwanted pregnancy from living the lives they want to live, pursuing the education and careers that they want.

Reproductive Autonomy Grows the Economy

Restricting abortion access is violence, plain and simple.

Forcing people to carry unwanted pregnancies is a form of violence. Restricting access to care is a form of violence.

Dr. Cook notes that when violence declines, economic activity actually increases. Existing abortion bans have already taken an economic toll on those who already struggle with money and who will now need to figure out how and if they can travel for the procedure, pay for the procedure and any other related costs.

Woman at abortion clinic with two medical staff members
Restricting access to abortions is a form of state-sanctioned violence

Imagine how marginalized communities could thrive if we increased access to abortion, if we lived lives where our autonomy wasn’t policed, if we were allowed to live free from the threat of reproductive violence?

To combat this oppression, we need to address the white supremacist thinking behind the patriarchal weaponization of law control and how these attitudes inform public policy and shape the values of our society.

Economic justice is inextricably linked to Reproductive Justice.


For 33 years, SisterLove has fought to protect access to abortion rights and other reproductive health services.

But we cannot do it alone.

We need everyone to join the fight at every level. Right now, abortion is still legal, and people in our communities need it.

You can help increase access to abortion right now by Donating To SisterLove.


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