The Roe v Wade ruling disproportionately harms black women, experts say


WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) – The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a constitutional right to an abortion is expected to have a disproportionate impact on black women and other women of color, who traditionally face overwhelming costs and logistical obstacles to getting an abortion to receive reproductive health care, experts said.

The inverse of Roe v Wade allows state governments to decide whether abortion is legal. While some states have recently reaffirmed abortion rights, 26 states are likely or certain to ban abortion in most or all circumstances. Continue reading

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.

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For example, Blacks make up about 38% of Mississippi’s population according to the most recent census data, compared to about 13% of the US population as a whole.

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

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

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

“There is no denying that this is a direct attack on all women, and black women are disproportionately affected by the court’s egregious attacks on basic human rights,” said Janette McCarthy Wallace, general counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Blacks (NAACP).

If more black women are forced to carry pregnancies, there will be a disproportionate increase in black women’s deaths in childbirth, finds a study published by Duke University Press.

According to the White House, more American women die each year as a result of childbirth than any other developed country. Black women are more than three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as white women, White House data shows.

A total abortion ban could further increase black mother deaths by 33%, compared to a 21% increase for the general 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 communications officer for Black Women’s Health Imperative, a nonprofit focused on improving black women’s health.

US Representative Cori Bush, speaking about having an abortion at 18, said: “The assault on reproductive rights and abortion care is a public health emergency and, if left unaddressed, will continue to endanger the lives of our most marginalized communities.” “


Women who are forced to have an unwanted baby are more likely to live in poverty and suffer years of financial hardship, with higher rates of evictions and bankruptcies, research shows, including a 2000 paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research 2020

When a woman is unable to obtain an abortion, the psychological impact of such an action inhibits productivity, it said. Women also bear medical costs related to prenatal care, childbirth and postpartum recovery, in addition to costs related to raising a child, which typically exceed $9,000 a year, the study showed.

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

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Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Edited by Heather Timmons and Josie Kao

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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