Standing up for Young Women and Young Women of Color at the Supreme Court
For more than fifty years, YWCA USA has supported the reproductive freedom of all people to make fundamental decisions about whether and when to have children. We are striving to create a world in which all women—especially women of color—are free from racism and sexism, and can thrive. We refuse to sit on the sidelines during this historic moment; read more HERE.
Frequently Asked Questions
YWCA USA leadership, with the full support of the YWCA USA Board of Directors, decided to stand up for the rights granted in Roe v. Wade by serving as the lead organization on an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the upcoming Supreme Court case. YWCA Dayton’s president and CEO, Shannon Isom, is a member of the YWCA USA Board of Directors.
YWCA has stood for reproductive freedom for more than 50 years. This amicus brief response is a bold public stance, but is not a deviation from any past positions.
YWCA USA, and YWCA Dayton locally, have a long history of advocating for the reproductive autonomy of women. Long before Roe v. Wade, YWCA affirmed a woman’s right to choose. Notably, in 1967, the YWCA Convention adopted the first of three abortion resolutions leading to freedom of choice.
In the 54 years since then, YWCA has time and again reaffirmed women’s freedom to make fundamental decisions about whether and when to have children. In the early 1970s, for instance, YWCA Dayton’s Board of Directors issued similar statements of support.
We have consistently advocated to protect access to the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion, and opposed efforts to limit the ability of reproductive health service providers to provide accessible, safe, and comprehensive services to patients.
YWCA has boldly led, time and time again, to secure rights that are essential to the pursuit of gender and racial justice. The vision of YWCA is a world in which all women and girls, especially women and girls of color, are free from racism and sexism, and can thrive. This case threatens that vision. We are a voice for women and girls, and we cannot sit on the sidelines during this fight.
Reproductive autonomy is critical to women’s stability. As the only provider of domestic violence shelters in Montgomery and Preble counties, we know that reproductive coercion is frequently experienced by victims of intimate-partner violence. According to Futures Without Violence, approximately one in five young women say they have experienced pregnancy coercion and one in seven say they have experienced active interference with contraception.
And, rape-related pregnancy has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a public health problem where sexual violence and reproductive health connect, with almost 3 million women in the U.S. impacted in their lifetime. YWCA Dayton is the only accredited rape crisis center in Montgomery and Preble counties.
Banning reproductive freedom would also specifically harm young women and young women of color, core constituencies that YWCA Dayton advocates for and serves.
Restrictions on abortion care hurt working-class and low-income women the most: women who are denied an abortion are four times more likely to live in poverty than women who can access care. Black women are more than twice as likely as white women to work in service occupations and make up 37 percent of the home care workforce — all jobs paying little more than minimum wage with very limited access to paid leave.
Serving as the lead on an amicus brief is a major opportunity for YWCA to elevate our work as a voice for women and girls and to further amplify our commitment to gender equity and racial justice. As a local association of YWCA USA, YWCA Dayton is proud to stand with YWCA USA leaders in this moment.