The high-end, high desirability fashion brand Gucci is most commonly in the limelight for its luxury handbags. Now, Gucci issues a statement, joining a growing list that has spoken out in support of women’s reproductive rights in the United States.

Credit: WWD

As the law becomes uncertain in the US as the Supreme Court threatens the annulment of Roe vs Wade. In response, Italian fashion house, Gucci, is taking action alongside other massive brands. Others include Tesla, Levi’s and Mejuri. Although, it’s not only the major fashion lines and companies that are taking a stand. Smaller companies and even start-ups are pledging to donate to organisations like The Center for Reproductive Rights, The Roe Fund and The National Network of Abortion Funds.

The potential ruling may lead to 26 states banning abortion. Support for Roe V. Wade remains strong, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans saying the Supreme Court should keep the law as is.

What is Roe V. Wade?

A young woman holds a sign demanding a woman’s right to abortion at a demonstration in Madison, Wisconsin. April 20, 1971. | Credit: Insider

In 1973, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision to legalise abortion access across the United States. The case created a framework to govern abortion regulation based on the trimesters of pregnancy.

1st Trimester- The choice to end pregnancy was entirely up to the mother.

2nd Trimester- The government could regulate but not ban abortion, in order to protect the mother’s health.

3rd Trimester- The state could prohibit abortion to protect a fetus that could survive outside the womb, except when the mother’s health is in danger.

The decision ruled that unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional. A majority opinion, written by Justice Harry A. Blackmun held that a set of Texas statutes criminalising abortion violated a woman’s constitutional right of privacy. Also found to be implicit in the liberty guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment, (“…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”).

What will the overturn of Roe V. Wade mean for Australians?

Norma McCorvey, (left) Jane Roe in the 1973 court case and her attorney Gloria Allred (right) | Credit: Scott Applewhite AP News

Fifty-eight per cent of Australians support unrestricted access to abortion, compared with 42 per cent of Americans. This percentage responds to women’s right to abort due to personal choice.

In Australia, laws regarding abortion are very different to America. Subsequently, the general consensus among the public is strongly pro-choice.  Then, do we have to be concerned about Australia’s abortion rights?

August Mulvihill of Iowa at a rally to protest abortion bans in 2019 | Credit: Charlie Neibergall AP News

Although it’s unlikely we’ll be debating the right to an abortion in the political space, that doesn’t mean we’ll be safe from the problem forever. Experts, including Dr Tania Penovic, a Senior Lecturer in gender and sexuality for the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University, saya we must not be complacent.

“Although abortion has been largely decriminalised in Australia, the politicisation of abortion in the US has not left Australia untouched.

We see this process in the US where the politicisation of abortion by the Christian right started in the 1970s, and it’s reaching a peak now. And who pays the price? Pregnant people and the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the community, those who experience intersectional discrimination and disadvantage.”

What is Gucci doing?

Currently, Gucci is supporting its employees in the US by committing to cover the costs associated with access to reproductive healthcare. This means Gucci will reimburse the cost of travel when an employee needs access to healthcare. When this is not available in their state.

However, this kind of support is not new for the Italian fashion brand. Gucci has long supported projects across the globe. The company has raised funds for the nonprofit organisation International Planned Parenthood Federation in support of services for sexual and reproductive rights since 2013. A whopping $19 million was raised for hundreds of projects, including partners such as Equality Now, the Global Fund for Women.

“My body, my choice” was the powerful stamp on the back of blazers in 2019. Alessandro Michele showed a 97-piece Cruise collection at Gucci with embellished dresses and sequined ovaries.

My body, my choice 2019 | Credit: NSS Magazine

The date “22/05/1978“, when Italy officially decriminalised abortion was also exhibited on capes. Alessandro’s high-profile position was used to promote freedom of choice with his focus being on women’s rights.

Women “should be free to choose what they want and terminate a pregnancy … [It] is the most difficult choice for a woman to make and I respect that choice,” he told reporters at a post-show press conference at the Palazzo Nouveau museum.

Gucci will continue to support partner organisations, that enable access to reproductive health, especially for the vulnerable, like the Chime for Change campaign.

Community response

Now, beyond forcing women into potentially dangerous pregnancies and controlling their bodies, the ramifications of Roe V. Wade being overturned are colossal.

Here’s what people have had to say:

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