Roe v Wade ruling disproportionately hurts black women, experts say

  • The Roe v Wade ruling allows governments to decide whether an abortion is legal.
  • Twenty-six states will likely or certainly ban abortion in most or all circumstances.
  • Health experts attribute the relatively high rate of abortions among black women to unequal access to health care.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a constitutional right to abortion is expected to have a disproportionate impact on black women and other women of color, who have traditionally faced overwhelming costs and logistical hurdles in obtaining reproductive health care. according to experts.

The reversal of Roe v Wade allows state governments to decide whether an abortion is legal. While some states have recently reaffirmed the right to abortion, 26 states will likely or certainly ban abortion in most or all circumstances.

More black women live in states that are likely to ban abortion, and those living in southern states — with the most restrictive laws — will bear the brunt.

For example, according to recent Census data, black people make up about 38% of Mississippi’s population, compared to about 13% of the total US population.

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Black women in the United States are nearly four times more likely to have an abortion than white women, while Latina women are twice as likely, according to 2019 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health experts attribute the relatively high rate of abortions among black women to disparities in access to health care, including a lack of health insurance and contraceptives in underserved communities.

In Mississippi, black women were responsible for 74% of abortions in 2019, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Janette McCarthy Wallace, general counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said:

There is no denying that this is a direct attack on all women, and black women will be disproportionately affected by the court’s brutal attack on basic human rights.

If more black women are forced into full term pregnancies, the number of deaths among black women during childbirth will increase disproportionately, according to a Duke University study.

More American women die from childbirth each year compared to any other developed country, according to the White House. Black women are more than three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, data shared by the White House shows.

A complete abortion ban could further increase black maternal deaths by 33%, compared to a 21% increase for the overall population, the Duke study found.

The Supreme Court ruling “marks the beginning of a new public health crisis for black women,” said Michelle Webb, chief of communications for the Black Women’s Health Imperative, a nonprofit organization focused on improving the health of black women.

US Representative Cori Bush, speaking about getting an abortion at age 18, said: “The attack on reproductive rights and abortion care is a public health emergency, and without action it will take the lives of our most endangering marginalized communities.”

Long-term financial problems

Women who are forced to have an unwanted baby are more likely to live in poverty and experience years of financial hardship, with higher evictions and bankruptcies, research shows, including a 2020 paper published by the National Bureau of Economics. Research.

When a woman cannot get an abortion, the psychological impact of such action hinders productivity, it said. Women also face medical costs associated with prenatal care, birth and postpartum recovery, in addition to the costs associated with raising a child, which typically exceed $9,000 a year, the study found.

“Abortion rights are economic rights,” said Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute. “This decision represents a loss of economic security, independence and mobility for abortion seekers,” she said, which will impact women of color the most.


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