By Jovonne Ledet
With the Roe v. Wade decision expected to come down this week, activists warn of the detrimental impact that overturning abortion protections will have on Black women, per ABC News.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black women are seeking abortions at a substantially higher rate than their white counterparts — for every 1,000 Black women, there are nearly 24 abortions, compared to seven abortions per 1,000 white women.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned as the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion foreshadowed, abortion decisions will be left up to the states. Over 20 states throughout the South and Midwest are set to severely hinder access to abortion, leaving Black women in the South more vulnerable than ever.
Georgia activist Monica Simpson told ABC News, “If it’s obliterated then we’re not only dealing with an access issue. In a bigger way, we’re also dealing with criminalization possibilities.” Simpson added, “And that’s a very scary thing in particular for Black folks in this country who are already over-criminalized in so many ways.”
Many Black advocacy groups assert that the SCOTUS decision is closely linked with race. Gynecological experiments and forced sterilizations have historically impacted Black women in the U.S., per ABC News.
“We all need to be able to determine how many children we’re going to have if we’re going to have children. We all have a human right to make decisions about our bodies,” said Toni Bond, the scholar who coined the phrase “reproductive justice” in the 90s to separate the concerns of Black women from those of white feminists.
Black women are also more likely to die from childbirth than white women. A federal study reports that college-educated Black women are five times more likely to die from pregnancy than white women who went to college.
The access and expense of health care and police brutality are other factors that especially concern Black women.
“When you look at all of that in its totality, then yes, it’s going to feed into the decisions that black women make,” Simpson said. “And if that decision is that they choose not to bring a child into this world right now, that is a decision that is a human right to make, and they should not be shamed for that decision.”
Advocates say that the unique challenges minority communities face are being ignored.
“They want us to bring babies into this world, but they have not proven to us or shown us in any way where they have walked with our folks in our community through their lives,” Simpson said.