By Kaycie Goral on June 24, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2022
“This ruling is a reminder that we need more women in power.”
Takoma Park, MD - (June 24th, 2022) Represent Women released a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
SCOTUS Overturns Roe v. Wade
Washington, D.C. — The Supreme Court today issued a decision effectively overturning Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old landmark decision that recognized women’s constitutional right to privacy and abortion. RepresentWomen released the following statement:
“This is a challenging day for American democracy. Today, the Supreme Court's opinion assumes that elected officials in state legislatures are representative. They are not,” said Terrell. “This ruling is a reminder that we need more women in power. This is what happens when women are not at the decision-making table. It’s time to take action on strategies that can ensure fair representation in our lifetimes,” said CEO and Founder Cynthia Richie Terrell
By “turning this decision to the states,” the Supreme Court has forced a decision on abortion’s legality by proxy. Abortion bans are unpopular: currently, 61 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while only 37 percent, roughly one-third of Americans, say it should be illegal.
Despite this, over half of states are certain or likely to ban abortion without Roe. Notably, as seen in the map below, rates of women’s representation are much lower in states that are likely to ban abortion. Women make up only 26 percent of state legislators in states that are likely to ban abortion, versus 37 percent of state representatives in those states unlikely to ban abortion. There is a clear relationship between representation rates and the likelihood of banning abortion.
RepresentWomen’s research shows state legislatures are vastly white and male. On average, women hold just 31 percent of seats in state legislatures. There 25 women (17 Democrats and eight Republicans) who serve as president or president pro-tem of state senates, and only five women (four Democrats, one Republican) serve as speakers of statehouses.
RepresentWomen’s 2021 Gender Parity Index found that over half of states (30) receive a D grade or worse for gender balance, meaning that women’s state-level political representation ranges between 0-25 percent for over half the country. Representation is even worse for women of color: only 9 percent of state legislators are women of color.
Our state legislatures are overwhelmingly white and male due to the structural barriers built into our political system.
PACs underfund women candidates.
Our plurality elections are wrought with barriers that prevent women from winning.
Single-winner districts used to elect most state legislators and the House Representatives protect incumbents who are mostly White and male.
“The underrepresentation of women in Congress and state legislatures makes the whole notion that “people’s elected representatives” should decide the issue of abortion for these women an absolute farce. This ruling is a reminder that we must invest in data-driven strategies that address the built-in, structural barriers women face as candidates in order to advance women's representation & leadership in all levels of government. It’s time to take action on proven systems strategies that ensure fair representation and prohibit minority rule. ” Terrell said.
RepresentWomen, is a research-based advocacy group that promotes the use of data-driven strategies to identify and eliminate the structural barriers women face in seeking elected office and advance women's representation and leadership in the United States. As a leading national Think Tank for women’s representation, we aim to fill knowledge gaps in the gender equality and electoral reform sectors. We work in concert with our allies to address political barriers women face in politics to ensure that more women can RUN, WIN, SERVE & LEAD.
Learn More at RepresentWomen.org and follow our Twitter.