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Roe and work

We’re living through a notable period of history. This week’s Supreme Court leak is a lot: an early opinion by a noted constitutional originalist on the court which indicates that Roe v Wade will be overturned.

For people with a uterus in particular, this decision carries much emotional weight. It’s an emotive topic that speaks directly to their agency over their own bodies, after two long years of a global pandemic that disproportionately affected women and people of color, set against a backdrop of rising nationalism and discrimination. Injustice against tragedy against injustice.

It’s been a lot, yet many businesses want those same people to leave politics at the door, seeing these discussions as an inconvenient distraction that could divide offices and undermine performance. It’s a lot to ask for, and belies a position rooted in privilege: an obliviousness to how heavy this issue is, and how much of an effect the discussion necessarily has. If you feel like you’re being subjugated, the ask to ignore that subjugation for eight hours a day in support of someone else’s profits is offensive. Doubly so when those who profit are not subject to the same restrictions.

Those situations are discriminatory to people from vulnerable communities and harmful to almost everyone. If injustice must be compartmentalized away, the only possible outcome is a reinforcement of the status quo.

It’s important to make space for team members who need to take care of themselves; to reflect; to care. It’s important to feel like you can bring your whole self to work, and to feel like work is a safe place to be. It’s important to have the time and space to process in order to progress. A workplace that doesn’t make these allowances will always create psychological friction. In a world where every knowledge worker is working from their own space, letting their workplace into their homes, that’s even more important.

While the leak has been confirmed as real, it’s not necessarily a reflection of the final Supreme Court decision. As of writing this today, abortion is still legal. But that’s not the point: it’s the simple fact of the conversation that, for many, is an assault. And enforcing a denial of that fact is an assault again.

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