Last week, the leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft majority opinion signaled a potential overturn of Roe v. Wade, and the federal right to abortion it guarantees. If this becomes the official ruling, Black and brown women will be hardest hit by it. Why? Because abortion bans will push more Black and brown women into poverty or debt as pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting can come with a price tag well beyond their means.
Let us look at the facts:
- Black and brown women have the highest abortion rates: with 24 abortions per 1,000 for Black women, and 12.0 abortions per 1,000 for Hispanic women. Combined, women of color are the largest group of women who rely on abortion services to legally terminate a pregnancy, and to receive financial assistance when needed to assure a safe, medically approved procedure.
- Minority women who seek abortions are often young females in their early 20’s; an age where decisions about one’s education, career, and parenting choices can determine one’s economic security over a lifespan. Data shows that women who parent at an early age are less likely to complete college, which now is an indicator of economic mobility for minority women.
- Black and brown women are the most economically marginalized group in the U.S. Today, brown women earn 57 cents and Black women earn 65 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. This “gap in earning” leaves women of color with far less resources to meet their basic needs and that of their family.
- Black and brown women receive lower quality care for all health conditions, but particularly pregnancies. Women of color are more likely to experience health complications during pregnancy and childbirth, to die of maternal causes, and have poor maternal and infant outcomes in situations of unintended pregnancies.
- Black and brown women often lack health insurance and live in states with tight abortion restrictions or that are “abortion deserts,” communities with too few services and miles between them. Some states even restrict abortion at time intervals (six weeks) before a woman knows that she is pregnant.
- For Black and brown women, having an abortion is rarely a decision of convenience, but of survival. It is a decision with short- and long-term implications, it is a woman’s right and choice, not outsiders.
Protecting minority women’s right to have an abortion is an economic and health justice issue!
If Roe v. Wade is reverted, access to abortion services will be unevenly defined, administered, and funded across states. In fact, abou 32 states will be certain or likely to outlaw abortions. Unfortunately, abortion bans will not stop abortions, it just will make it less safe for poor, minority women who return to “back alley” solutions.
As we take on this fight, it is imperative that we see, and call out the real issue—this is a fight against white supremacy in the U.S. While race and economic status are never mentioned by legislators and pro-lifers, who are largely white men, the war on reproductive choice is their attempt to control the bodies of Black and brown women, while limiting their economic mobility. To this we say, no more!
As voters abroad, any effort to return America to a time when abortions for any woman are outlawed by conservation-leaning politics, it is our time to say, no way!
Now is your time to
--lift your voice in opposition…join the Reproductive Justice Team
--vote for more progressive leadership in state level elections.