Impact of Texas’ 2021 Abortion Ban on Women In The Workplace

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Author’s Note: I use the term “women” in this piece but recognize that many different identities can be affected by lack of access to abortion.

Babies aren’t magically dropped from the sky. They are nurtured for nine months, a job solely one with a uterus can do. One with a uterus can do powerful things such as carry a pregnancy, yet it seems society has deemed us incapable of making choices for our own bodies.

A new law, known as SB8, was signed in September in Texas banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Six weeks is well before many women even know they’re pregnant, not to mention the ban makes no exception for rape or incest. In addition, the legislation opens the door for private citizens who don’t hold any official or public position, to sue abortion providers or anyone trying to help someone get an abortion (1). During the bill signing ceremony, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was captured on video stating, “our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion” (2). Yet what the governor may be failing to realize is that those with a uterus have rights too, and this law violates them extensively. The violation of these rights impacts the lives of those affected in many aspects, including the workplace.

Effect of Abortion Restrictions on Employment

Studies have shown that access to abortion can help women stay in the workforce or education, allowing them to attain the degree and the skills that they desire to be able to do specific work or reach a higher financial state (3). The ability of women to have access to abortion is deeply connected to their ability to pursue their desired career choice and advance in their field. Another study has revealed that of “nearly 1,000 American women who sought abortions, 40% cited financial reasons as a factor in their decision” (4). With abortion restrictions such as the Texas Abortion Ban, women are more likely to give up their employment which harms their financial stability and feeds into the stereotype that women can not hold long-term jobs because they are bound to motherhood.

Restrictions on abortions can also reduce paid sick days used specifically for seeking abortion care. Women living in Texas without paid sick leave for abortion purposes are likely to have to sacrifice their employment to seek abortion assistance elsewhere, which can mean uncomfortable and timely travels. A 2016 study reported that when a 35-year-old woman in Alabama had to work on the day her abortion was scheduled, she drove 40 miles to attend the visit and had to tell told her employer she had a doctor’s appointment for a kidney infection (5). Consequently, she missed half the workday and lost 50 dollars in wages. Similarly, the Texas Abortion Ban will create financial burdens and increase the struggle to seek abortions for women with inflexible work schedules.  

Unsupported workplace policies such as these are even more harmful to low-income women of color who are now forced to carry unplanned pregnancies to term. On average, Black and Hispanic workers are paid less and have fewer savings and access to wealth than white workers (6). As a result, many can not afford to lose wages and jeopardize their employment or education to gain abortion access that has been restricted.

Moving Forward

Where we go next from here depends not only on the Supreme court, which has allowed challenges to the Texas law to move forward, but also on business owners and their treatment of women in the workplace regarding abortion access. First, business leaders must make sure their workforce that has been affected by what’s happening in Texas is adequately supported. For example, companies like Lyft and Uber are providing affected workers in Texas with relief funds and other measures. Businesses should also be open to paid sick leave for those seeking an abortion and assisting them with relocation if they want to leave the state and seek abortion access elsewhere. Lastly, it is crucial for business leaders to share their opposition to the Texas Ban on Abortion. Although companies may be reluctant to publicize this thought because of possible backlash from certain members of the public who disagree, it is necessary that they stand up for their workers and attempt to prevent the negative consequences this law will bring to the workplace.

Works Cited

  1. McCammon, Sarah. “What the Texas Abortion Ban Does - and What It Means for Other States.” NPR, NPR, 1 Sept. 2021,
  2. Najmabadi, Shannon. “Gov. Greg Abbott Signs into Law One of Nation's Strictest Abortion Measures, Banning Procedure as Early as Six Weeks into a Pregnancy.” The Texas Tribune, The Texas Tribune, 19 May 2021,
  3. Todd, Sarah. “Why Abortion Rights Are a Workplace Issue.” Quartz, Quartz, 16 Sept. 2021,
  4. Todd, Sarah. “Why Abortion Rights Are a Workplace Issue.” Quartz, Quartz, 16 Sept. 2021,
  5. “Paid Sick Days Enhance Women's Abortion Access and Economic Security.” National Partnership for Women and Families, National Partnership for Women and Families, May 2019,, Sarah. “Why Abortion Rights Are a Workplace Issue.” Quartz, Quartz, 16 Sept. 2021,
More posts by Haily Rosario.
Impact of Texas’ 2021 Abortion Ban on Women In The Workplace
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