AFT Resolution

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers is committed to ensuring that women, girls and others who can become pregnant maintain their reproductive choice and have access to all reproductive health services, as far back as a 1981 policy resolution; and

WHEREAS, bodily autonomy is essential to liberty, dignity, equality and self-determination; and

WHEREAS, the right to liberty is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution; and

WHEREAS, on June 24, 2022, six United States Supreme Court justices, three of whom testified in their confirmation hearings that Roe was “settled law,” issued an outrageous, radical and extreme decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn long-standing precedent in Roe v. Wade; and

WHEREAS, this decision takes away already established rights for women; this ruling will undermine all other freedoms and disparage women as second-class citizens; and

WHEREAS, pregnancy-related mortality in the United States affects approximately 700 women per year at various stages of gestation, with one-third of pregnancy-related deaths occurring during pregnancy, one-third occurring at delivery or one week after, and one-third occurring one week to one year postpartum, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and

WHEREAS, women of color are the primary victims of pregnancy-related mortality despite their minority representation in the general population, with Black women accounting for 41.7 percent, Indigenous women accounting for 28.3 percent, Asian and Pacific Islander women accounting for 13.8 percent, and Hispanic or Latino women accounting for 11.6 percent, per the CDC; and

WHEREAS, procreation and child rearing are personal and intimate matters fundamental to our freedom and our aspirations, are lifelong responsibilities, and should not be imposed by the state against the express consent of the individual or forced on people who have been traumatized or who are otherwise unwilling or unable to assume this responsibility; and

WHEREAS, several states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, have enacted or are contemplating ultra-restrictive abortion bans without exemptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking regardless of age; and

WHEREAS, having the right to decide when and whether to reproduce is associated with better relationship stability and satisfaction, the likelihood of completing a college education, more work experience, and greater earning potential among women, which contributes to a well-functioning society, and where freedom has been recognized in law as the ability of a person to have agency over one of the most fundamental and intimate decisions one can make—when and whether and with whom to have a child:

RESOLVED, that the AFT will defend the rights of our members and all women, girls and others who can become pregnant against forced birth, and the AFT calls on the Senate and state lawmakers and voters to codify the right to choose abortion established by Roe v. Wade into federal and state law as is being done in California, Michigan and New York; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work to secure reproductive freedom throughout the nation by working with lawmakers, candidates, advocacy groups and activists to support legislative efforts and executive action at the state and federal levels; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT calls for a Week of Action for Reproductive Freedom in September, and the AFT will use personal, political and economic means at our disposal to support the mobilization of our members in teach-ins, sit-ins, walk-ins, rallies and demonstrations, especially those led by impacted communities, to educate the public about this erosion of their basic rights; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will use its voice to fight the criminalization of reproductive healthcare, including patients seeking care, abortion providers, counselors, advocates, family members and friends who provide advice or transportation; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will engage our members in local and statewide organizing and get-out-the-vote efforts in the 2022 midterm elections to elect candidates who reflect our values and respect the right of people to make their own decisions about when, whether and with whom to have a child, including through activist and volunteer recruitment, voter registration, phonebanks, text-a-thons, door-to-door canvassing, workplace conversations, ballot chase efforts, election turnout activities and voter protection, to ensure their elected leaders respect and defend their fundamental freedoms.

(July 15, 2022)

(2022)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.