As the Supreme Court weighs the fate of Roe v. Wade, advocates and health care providers fear that ending access to abortion will lead to more pregnancy-related complications and deaths that disproportionately affect blacks.
Why is it important: Black women in the US are already three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. And states willing to ban or severely restrict abortion already have poor health outcomes and fewer welfare programs for mothers and children.
Game state: Black women have less access to resources such as contraception and prenatal care, due in part to income inequality. according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
- Compared with white women, they are more likely to experience pregnancy-related complications and deaths and have higher risk of miscarriage.
- Black women also face everyday discrimination in healthcare facilitiese.g. symptomatic relief and misconceptions about racial differenceswhich could negatively affect their birth process, said Yolanda Barksdale, spokeswoman for the Campaign for the Poor.
- More states are expanding Medicaid coverage of maternity services for low-income women, including extending the postpartum period. More than half have taken recent steps to extend postpartum beyond 60 days.
- But that hasn’t lessened concerns that more black women are being forced to conceive in states that ban access to abortion, and that this could put them at increased risk.
What they say: “Because of the increased risk of mortality and morbidity that black women and women in labor face, it is especially bad faith to force unwanted pregnancies,” Jamila Perrit, an ob/gyn who leads the Physicians for Reproductive Health group, tells Axios.
- The most dangerous medical scenario for a woman is not abortion, but childbirth, says Dazon Dixon Diallo, founder of reproductive justice organization SisterLove. “Abortion becomes one of the most dangerous procedures only when it is no longer legal and safe.”
- Abortion also matters because it is “about our right to control our body, because we have been fighting for it since we were brought to these shores,” she added.
Back side: Sherilyn Holloway, president of racial justice nonprofit Pro-Black Pro-Life, said Axios abortion will not address the systemic inequalities that force black women to undergo the procedure in the first place.
- A high maternal mortality rate “is not a sufficient argument for why abortion should be legal. This is a sufficient argument for why we need to address systemic racist issues in healthcare and underlying bias in healthcare,” she said.
- “If you make a choice because you feel like you have no other choice, it’s not a choice,” she said. Abortion is a temporary solution that her group hopes to make unnecessary, she added.
Big picture: Black advocates across the spectrum are already organizing both nationally and locally.
- “We’re going to focus on the most vulnerable women, making sure they don’t die while these slow trials are going on,” reproductive rights activist Loretta Ross tells Axios.
What are we watching: Doctors warned that Rowe’s tipping could cause undue stress on the child. an already overburdened social safety netincluding the foster care system and efforts to reduce domestic violence.