Science for a Post-Roe Workplace

For US and Global Companies

This resource center is still under construction. Future enhancements may help to illustrate the body of industrial-organizational psychology knowledge on topics related to health and wellbeing in the workplace, women and underrepresented populations in the workforce, etc. 


The United States Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which effectively overturned Roe v. Wade, has broad implications that affect employees’ ability to contribute fully at work.

Nearly 1 in 4 women in the United States will have an abortion by 45 years of age (American Journal of Public Health, 2017). Data from the CDC (2019) indicate that 60% of women who have abortions are already mothers, and poor women (those below federal poverty level) accounted for 49% of abortions in 2014 (American Journal of Public Health, 2017). Over half a million abortions were reported to the CDC in 2019. Given the prevalence of abortions in the U.S. and abortion bans being implemented in many states since the Supreme Court’s decision, there will be less access to abortion and fewer safe abortions, which has wide-ranging implications for working people and their ability to contribute fully in the work domain.

Accordingly, related organizations SHRM and the APA have responded and shared resources. As I-O psychologists, we are uniquely suited to support organizations, managers, and employees during this time. SIOP members and organizational partners have been studying caregiving responsibilities, stigmatized work identities, gender disparities, and related issues impacting work for decades. We have compiled a list of impacts, recommendations, and resources.

Note: Throughout this document, we will use technical language to inclusively refer to those most impacted by this decision as “employees who can become pregnant” or “people who can become pregnant.” Although most people who can become pregnant also identify as women, not all people who can become pregnant identify as women, and not all people who identify as women can become pregnant. The majority of research to date regarding the impact of pregnancy and caregiving and their impacts on the work domain refers to women or mothers as the population of interest and sample studied. We occasionally refer to women/mothers as the focal group of research in this document accordingly.

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Possible Impacts of the Decision by Group

Employees Who Can Become Pregnant

  • There may be fewer people who can become pregnant in the workforce.
    • Increased caregiving responsibilities will prohibit some from working.
    • More people who can become pregnant will die from unsafe abortions due to lack of access to safe abortions, effects from forced childbirth, death during childbirth or by suicide to avoid forced childbirth, ectopic pregnancies, or death at the hands of the sperm provider.
  • Anxiety/stress/fear/anger due to lack of reproductive autonomy and accompanying issues may affect overall employee engagement and productivity.
  • Those working may be more burdened with caregiving responsibilities while working.
    • The “motherhood penalty” where having children results in worse career outcomes for women, may be exacerbated.
    • Unanticipated or unwanted caregiving may result in underemployment or unemployment.
    • The issue of limited time off post-partum (or post-miscarriage) will impact more people.
      • Parental leave in the United States is especially limited for low income and hourly workers.
      • Unpaid childbirth/parental leave may impact workers within the same company in different ways based on where they live and ever-changing laws.
    • Limited access to lactation options at work, especially for low-wage jobs, persists and may become more challenging with even more workers needing such accommodation.
  • The possibility for economic hardship due to the need to travel a long distance for medical care or becoming a single parent will increase.

All Employees with Caregiving Responsibilities

  • Financial strain/economic instability and hardship may increase due to:
    • Caregiving expenses (unplanned for or unaffordable)
    • More dependents than planned
    • Schedule conflicts, particularly for single parents without support
    • Unplanned child support payments
    • Additional time off to care for sick children
    • Increased housing costs and other living expenses
  • There may be a reduced ability to family plan and therefore career plan.

Employees from Other Underrepresented or Stigmatized Groups

  • Increased anxiety/stress/fear around the  lack of ability to family plan may exacerbate pre-existing career disadvantages (e.g., promotion, access to mentors).
  • There may be new fears that additional  rights will be taken away by future Supreme Court decisions (e.g., marriage equality, interracial marriage).
  • Transgender people may face an even more complicated and less supportive reproductive healthcare environment.

Organizations, Executive Leadership, Talent Acquisition

  • Implications on War for Talent/Great Resignation:
    • Employees may flee to states that protect abortion rights.
    • Organizations’ communication, or lack thereof, about this issue could affect their attractiveness to job candidates.
    • A lack of investment in support (abortion, caregiving, lactation, parental leave) could also affect attractiveness of the organization to job candidates.
    • A reduced number of available people to hire due to pregnancy, childbirth, caregiving responsibilities, and childcare shortages could exacerbate the labor shortage.
  • Succession planning may become more complex and difficult to plan effectively due to employees’ lack of family planning autonomy.
  • A workforce with fewer people who can become pregnant means less diverse organizations, with implications:
    • There is a potential for fewer women role models in companies, resulting in reduced attractiveness as an employer.
    • Fewer women in leadership, which research shows will result in less productivity/lower-quality decision making for the organization.
  • When and how the organization responds is important, and the response will be most effective if thoughtful and intended for all employees
    • Reproductive rights is a divisive issue, and there are people with strong views, therefore, the response needs to be supportive of all and not alienating those in support of the decision.
    • Leaders and individual managers must be able and willing to discuss this issue thoughtfully with employees.





Practical Recommendations by Role

Organizations/Executive Leadership

-          Consider if your organization will issue a statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling. The effective overturning of Roe v. Wade is viewed by some as a human rights issue that affects all employees. Any statement should emphasize the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace.

-          Pay a living wage and offer affordable health insurance (with coverage for comprehensive reproductive healthcare) to all employees.

-          Provide (or enhance) caregiving services/accommodations offered by the organization.

-          Subsidize employees’ childcare, offer onsite childcare, and/or offer flexible schedules and family-friendly office environments.

-          Consider covering costs of travel for medical care to states where abortion is safe and legal.

-          Offer (or update) flexible work policies to be more accommodating for employees with existing and/or unanticipated caregiving responsibilities.

-          Invest in the communities in which you operate. Consider donating to reproductive rights groups, adoption/foster care networks, pregnancy centers, caregiving facilities, and/or other organizations that align with your company’s values.


-          Familiarize yourself with the organization’s related statement, policies, and resources, including caregiving support, mental health offerings, travel covered for medical procedures, etc. Ensure employees know how to leverage these resources.

-          Communicate support for all human rights to your team.

-          Create a safe space for employees to share candidly and to listen compassionately.

-          Demonstrate family-supportive supervisor behaviors (e.g., no meetings during typical child drop-off and pick-up times, encourage flexible work arrangements).


-          Advocate for a diverse workgroup and an inclusive work environment for all (e.g., speak up when you see discriminatory behavior, challenge common practices that have unintended consequences).

-          Educate yourself on the impacts of the Supreme Court’s decision.

-          Provide social support. Make yourself available to serve as a confidant and listen compassionately; avoid diminishing others’ experiences.

-          Offer to help colleagues in need when unexpected caregiving issues arise (e.g., trade shifts, present on their behalf, partner to help them complete their work by a deadline).

-          Explicitly invite other potential allies to join advocacy efforts. Share the information you learn with others to raise awareness of the implications of this decision.



Popular Press and White Papers

Cai, W., Johnston, T., McCann, A., & Walker, A. S. (2022). Half of U.S. women risk losing abortion access without Roe. The New York Times. Retrieved from:

 Rock, D., & Grant, H. (2016). Why diverse teams are smarter. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from:

 SIOP - From Insult to Injury: The Case for Organizational Compassion in Modern Workplaces 

 SHRM - How managers can help stressed workers:

APA - Supporting employees with low socioeconomic status and/or caregiving responsibilities:

 Peer-Reviewed Research Articles

 Correll, S. J., Benard, S., & Paik, I. (2007). Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty?  American Journal of Sociology112(5), 1297–1338.

 Henle, C. A., Fisher, G. G., McCarthy, J., Prince, M. A., Mattingly, V. P., & Clancy, R. L. (2020). Eldercare and childcare: how does caregiving responsibility affect job discrimination?  Journal of Business and Psychology35(1), 59-83.

 Jones, K.P., Brady, J.M., Lindsey, A.P.  et al. (2022). The Interactive Effects of Coworker and Supervisor Support on Prenatal Stress and Postpartum Health: A Time-Lagged Investigation.  Journal of Business Psychology, 37, 469–490.

 Kelly, K., & Grant, L. (2012). Penalties and premiums: The impact of gender, marriage, and parenthood on faculty salaries in science, engineering and mathematics (SEM) and non-SEM fields. Social Studies of Science, 42(6), 869–896.

 King, E. B. (2008). The effect of bias on the advancement of working mothers: Disentangling legitimate concerns from inaccurate stereotypes as predictors of advancement in academe. Human Relations, 61(12), 1677–1711.

 Kossek, E. E., Pichler, S., Bodner, T., Hammer, L. B. (2011). Workplace social support and work-family conflict: A meta-analysis clarifying the influence of general and work-family-specific supervisor and organizational support. Personnel Psychology, 64, 289-313.

 Munsch, C. L., Ridgeway, C. L., & Williams, J. C. (2014). Pluralistic Ignorance and the Flexibility Bias: Understanding and Mitigating Flextime and Flexplace Bias at Work. Work and Occupations, 41(1), 40–62.

 Rudman, L. A., & Mescher, K. (2013). Penalizing men who request a family leave: Is flexibility stigma a femininity stigma?  Journal of Social Issues69(2), 322-340.

Sherf, E. N., Tangirala, S., & Weber, K. C. (2017). It is not my place! Psychological standing and men’s voice and participation in gender-parity initiatives.  Organization Science28(2), 193-210.