NCL denounces today’s SCOTUS ruling overturning Roe v. Wade

June 24, 2022

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC— Almost 50 years since the Supreme Court ruling in 1973, Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, the protections provided by Roe were overturned today by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The ruling is a devastating blow to women, girls, and their families who have long fought for equal access to reproductive health services – health services which includes access to safe abortion, says the National Consumers League (NCL).

“Many women will suffer and will suffer unnecessarily from this egregious ruling by SCOTUS,” says Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of NCL. “This decision is an attack on poor women or low-income woman, who represent 75% of abortion patients,” according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

The final opinion is strikingly similar to the draft that was leaked in May of this year and authored by Justice Samuel Alito. In the opinion, Alito writes, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

In the wake of this June 24 ruling, 26 states are expected to ban all or nearly all abortions.

Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, laid out a vision that fomented fears about what other rights could disappear: the same rationale that the Supreme Court used to declare there was no right to abortion, he said, should also be used to overturn cases establishing rights to contraception, same-sex consensual relations and same-sex marriage.

In their joint dissent, the three liberal justices of the court, argued that the ruling will affect “countless life decisions.” They also noted that, “It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of.”

“NCL applauds responses from many employers, including JPMorgan Chase, which is clarifying its health care benefits in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday, saying that abortion has long been a covered service for the bank and starting in July will be included under the company’s health care travel benefit,” says Greenberg. “We applaud Levi Strauss & Co — the 169-year-old jean company — stands strongly against restricting access to abortion and said it will continue to protect employees — making sure they have access to the care they need regardless of where they live.

NCL also thanks officials in many states and the District of Columbia that have pledged to provide abortion access and safe havens including New Hampshire, Michigan, New York governors along with New York Attorney General Letitia James and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.

In his address to the nation today, President Joe Biden expressed his disappointment over the SCOTUS ruling: “This is a sad day for the country in my view, but it doesn’t mean the fight is over.” He also added that his administration will use all its appropriate lawful powers and that “Congress must act.” He went on to say, “with your vote, you can act.”

NCL believes that women’s reproductive rights is fundamental and must be protected; this radical decision by the Supreme Court is vastly out of step with American public opinion and a disastrous for women’s rights and freedoms.  We will continue to advocate for federal, state and local protections for women across the country, in keeping with NCL’s long history of championing the rights of women and children, especially those among us who are most vulnerable.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL) 

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.

NCL backs the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to curtail workplace discrimination

June 21, 2022

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC— The National Consumers League (NCL) believes it is imperative that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065), introduced by Representative Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), is enacted by Congress. In the uphill battle for equity in the workplace, NCL views H.R. 1065 as essential to protecting pregnant workers against unjustly losing their jobs and ensuring they receive pregnancy and post-partum accommodations to stay healthy.

Despite the steady decline of births in the United States since 2016, the number of federal pregnancy discrimination cases filed has steadily risen 67% from 2016-2020; and lawsuits are projected to set a new annual record this year. Workers lose approximately two thirds of the cases filed due to gaps in the current legal framework. H.R. 1065 will close loopholes in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act which requires pregnant workers to demonstrate that other workers are benefiting from comparatively similar accommodations before gaining approval from their employe

Women of color are more likely to work in physically demanding jobs, which also places the baby at  increased risk for preterm birth, low-birth weight, preeclampsia, birth defects, and more. While these health problems can be severe, long-term, and even deadly, studies illustrate how low-cost and basic accommodations for pregnant and postpartum workers can significantly reduce their risk. These include providing access to a chair to decrease time spent standing and basic accommodations for breastfeeding parents, such as a private space and additional break time to pump.

NCL strongly supports H.R. 1065. It will ask employers to provide reasonable accommodations for workers affected by medical conditions relating to pregnancy and childbirth. This will not only reduce health-related risks, but also improve workers’ economic security by safeguarding their jobs, income, health insurance, their baby’s health and more. Furthermore, by directly targeting discriminatory employment practices, H.R. 1065 represents a strong step in addressing sexism and racism in the workplace.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL) 

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.

NCL applauds federal funding for maternal health in 2022 appropriations

March 18, 2022

Media contact: National Consumers League –  Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC— The National Consumers League applauds the passage of the 2022 omnibus appropriations act. The appropriations bill, signed into law, includes over $1 billion in federal funding to support critical maternal health provisions needed to address the nation’s alarming maternal mortality rates.

We are pleased that many provisions of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 were included in the FY 2022 appropriations bill. The new law provides a significant increase in funding for the CDC’s safe motherhood & infant health programs. This additional support will help to identify drivers of maternal death rates in the states and expand evidence-based programs and interventions at hospitals and birthing facilities across the nation. The bill also includes a significant funding increase to the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which will assist state and local health entities in providing the essential health and social services that our most vulnerable birthing people and babies need.

Provisions from the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act were also included in the fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill. These provisions provide funding that supports health professional schools to train future health care professionals about perceptions and biases in maternal health, which currently contribute to inequities in maternal health outcomes. In addition to racial bias, it is critical to invest in diversifying and expanding the perinatal workforce to include nurses, doulas, behavioral health professionals, and other practitioners. In a recent blog post, NCL Health Policy Associate Milena Berhane discusses the importance of diversifying the workforce and the negative impacts of racial bias on the quality of care for racial and ethnic minorities.

We recognize that perinatal suicides, which occur during pregnancy or up to one year postpartum, are a leading cause of maternal mortality in the United States. We are pleased that this appropriations act provides increased federal funding for maternal mental health programs. The additional funding will be critical in expanding access to community-based treatment and recovery services for pregnant people and new mothers who struggle with mental health or behavioral health conditions. The spending bill also funds additional necessary mental health resources, by increasing funding for the 24/7 maternal mental health hotline that is available to pregnant people and new mothers.

NCL applauds Congress for providing funding for critical maternal health provisions within the FY22 Omnibus bill. We will continue to advocate for the passage of additional maternal health provisions in future legislation and spending bills until we end the maternal mortality crisis in our nation.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL) 

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.

What California is doing to lower maternal mortality

Nissa ShaffiThe United States currently has the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world, at 26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 9.2 in the United Kingdom, 8 in France, and 5.5 in Australia. To put this in perspective, the United States currently has a higher maternal mortality rate than Saudi Arabia and Libya and is barely better than Mexico, Iran, and Russia. An even more devastating reality is the maternal mortality rate among black women, who are 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes than women of any other race in America.

There is some good news amid these grim numbers. The state of California has successfully worked in collaboration with public and private healthcare stakeholders to decrease the maternal mortality rate to seven deaths per 100,000 live births.

In 2006, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) worked together to assemble a multidisciplinary committee of clinical experts to investigate this epidemic. This committee’s focus was to determine the causes of maternal deaths and the demographics of women most affected, along with identifying opportunities to turn the numbers around.

Within the first two years of its launch, the committee was able to identify placenta accreta and preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure) as the two most preventable causes of maternal mortality.  Placenta accreta is a condition in which the placenta affixes to the uterine wall and fails to separate postpartum, which results in severe obstetric hemorrhaging. Upon discovering a correlation between the rise in cesarean sections (C-sections) and placenta accreta cases, the CMQCC sought to reduce the number of C-sections that were medically unnecessary.

Additionally, the CMQCC revamped California’s hemorrhage guidelines to help make childbirth safer for mothers in the state. As a result, California has created a state model that has resulted in a dramatic decrease in maternal mortality, while the rest of the country continues to experience an increase in rates.

California has set an example for the rest of the country. Other states would do well to take a page from its example and turn around this alarming trend of increased maternal fatalities. In addition, a bill currently being voted on in Congress, the Maternal Health Accountability Act (S.1112), would be a federal remedy to help address this issue. The bill would require states to monitor and assess pregnancy-associated deaths and develop appropriate measures to improve the quality of maternal care. We should all ask our members of Congress to help pass the Maternal Health Accountability Act (S.1112), a bipartisan bill that could potentially save countless lives and reverse the damaging trend of maternal mortality in the United States.