In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s radical departure from established law to end federal protections for access to abortion services, the Massachusetts Teachers Association remains fully committed to protecting the recipients and the providers of reproductive care.
“The MTA’s history is one of relentlessly fighting to uplift human rights — and fighting against any attempts to control and marginalize women,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy. “The extremist right-wing supermajority on the Supreme Court used the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case to move an agenda aimed at preserving this country’s white supremacist patriarchy. We have no doubt that a systematic and wholesale assault on civil, women’s and LGBTQ+ rights is on the horizon.”
People have fundamental rights to control their bodies. The intensely personal decision about when, how and whether to create a family is not the purview of judges and politicians. The Dobbs decision is a stark reminder that we have not come so far from the times when women were forced out of their careers — including those in education — when they became pregnant.
“The MTA’s history is one of relentlessly fighting to uplift human rights — and fighting against any attempts to control and marginalize women."MTA President Merrie Najimy
Based on action by delegates to our recent Annual Meeting, the MTA is launching a task force this month to explore ways to protect reproductive rights in this country. MTA members will be reaching out to a variety of organizations to find out how we can best help those living in states where abortion is banned or severely limited.
The task force will make recommendations on how the MTA, on its own and with other unions, can support people from other states seeking abortion care in Massachusetts — through funding travel, housing and other forms of support. The task force will also look beyond the immediate emergency and explore ways to protect reproductive rights and health.
And the MTA has signed on to the Massachusetts Beyond Roe Agenda launched by Reproductive Equity, which is fighting to ensure that reproductive choice is protected here in Massachusetts.
Access to abortion services in particular — and gender-affirming care and health care in general — must be protected. The Dobbs ruling will hurt the most vulnerable among us and once again make America a country where women and any person capable of bearing children are treated as a subservient class without control over their own bodies.
The Dobbs ruling transcends unionism, but our union must take a stand to express support for all of those who stand to experience the dire consequences of this decision — including our union siblings everywhere, our students and their families.
Whereas it once seemed unthinkable that Roe v. Wade would be overturned, we must now stand prepared for all manner of abuses against human and civil rights.
The MTA acknowledges that personal views on abortion vary. We are hopeful that the distinction between protecting human rights and holding personal beliefs will resonate among MTA members and radiate throughout our communities. If we have learned anything in the fight to ensure equality for all people, it is that we are stronger and capable of more for our students, our communities and ourselves when each and every person is free to live up to their full potential.