Roe v Wade disproportionately hurts Black women, experts say

A person holds placards as Black Feminist Future and SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, accompanied by a range of civil rights and Black-led partner organizations, hold a “Black Bodies for Black Power” rally in Washington, U.S. June 18, 2022. REUTERS

WASHINGTON — The U.S. 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 have traditionally faced overwhelming costs and logistical obstacles in obtaining reproductive healthcare, experts said.

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 an abortion, 26 states are likely or certain to ban abortion in most or all circumstances. read more

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More Black women live in states that will likely ban abortion, and those living in southern states – with the most restrictive laws – will bear the brunt.

For example, Black people make up about 38% of Mississippi’s population, according to recent Census data, compared to about 13% of the U.S. population overall.

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, according to 2019 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Health experts trace the relatively high rates of abortion among Black women to disparities in healthcare access, including lack of health insurance and contraceptives in underserved communities.

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