WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court today issued a decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, National Education Association President Becky Pringle released the following statement:
“The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the women they know and love should have the right to determine their own family planning and reproductive health. But today’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade shows once again how the current majority of the Supreme Court is continuing to put their radical ideological agenda above our basic human rights and freedoms.
“To all those who are out there scared, worried, and angry, I see you. I hear you. And I stand with you.
“This decision strips away from millions across race, place and gender identities, the right to make their own health care decisions and about when and how to have a family. The devastating results will be the loss of health, economic security, and even life for women and their families. Today’s decision strips away the fundamental freedom to decide for ourselves the care we need, and hands that power to state legislatures instead.
“It is an attack on rights deeply rooted in the promise of America, one that puts at risk fundamental civil liberties protected over the years through landmark Supreme Court decisions – including the right of interracial couples to marry, the right of unmarried people to use contraception, the right of same-sex couples to marry, and other rights that have been the bedrock of American society for generations.
“And this is another example of how, over the last few years, we have seen the same faction of politicians working overtime to reverse decades of progress on racial justice, on women’s rights, on worker’s rights, on LGBTQ+ rights, on voting rights, on our right to privacy, and on our students’ freedom to learn in our public schools.
“These attacks on our freedoms are designed to do one thing – consolidate unfettered power into the hands of a few. We must stand up for all of our rights.
“Together, we all must do our part to preserve our democracy and help our nation live up to the beautiful poetry of our Constitution. When we say, ‘We the people,’ we mean ALL the people. It is time for all of us to demand our freedoms by marching, by speaking out, and most importantly by voting for pro-public school, pro-freedom candidates up and down the ballot.”
NEA has a long history of advocating for the rights of our members – 78% of which are women — and that includes their reproductive freedom.
NEA develops policies at its Representative Assembly, the largest democratic gathering in the country. Each year, thousands of delegates (NEA members elected by their peers) debate and vote on establishing positions. Since 1978, we have supported the right of our members to choose whether to have children and how to have a family. Our official resolution says, “The National Education Association believes in family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom.”
Over the years, NEA has participated in litigation on behalf of members based on Roe v. Wade, including the cases of:
- Jeanne Eckmann, a teacher who studied to be a nun, became pregnant as a result of rape, and was fired by her school district for choosing to have a child out of wedlock. (NEA relied on Roe to argue that it violated her right to reproductive freedom for the school to fire her for exercising her right not to have an abortion.)
- Linda Littlejohn, a Kentucky member fired for getting a divorce. (The Sixth Circuit agreed with NEA that her firing violated the right established in Roe to privacy in matters relating to procreation and marriage.)
- Janice Dike, a Florida member denied the right to breastfeed her baby during her duty-free lunch period. (The Fifth Circuit agreed with NEA in relying on Roe’s recognition of a fundamental right to decide how to nurture and raise children, referring to breastfeeding as the “most elemental form of parental care.”)
NEA has also supported reproductive freedom in amicus filings in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
NEA will continue to support the freedom of its members to choose whom they will love and marry, when they will try to have a child and a family, and how they will raise their children.
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at www.nea.org.