As Florida has tightened its abortion laws and passed policies that restrict access to reproductive health care, nearly 40 Black women in the state have formed a coalition to push back against these measures that are disproportionately harming them.

The working group, known as Black in Repro, includes doulas, midwives, public health professionals, medical practitioners and other Black women advocates. They began working together last April, just before the Supreme Court’s plan to end the federal right to abortion was revealed to the public.

In a state where Black women suffer pregnancy-related deaths at nearly twice the overall rate, the group came together because they knew there needed to be a statewide coalition to work on behalf of the reproductive health needs and concerns of Black women. Their latest point of concern: a six-week abortion ban that has so far been held up by litigation but that poses higher health risks to Black women in the state.

About 30 members of the group gathered in Tallahassee this spring, shortly after Florida passed the ban in April. During the convening the group shared educational information related to the needs of pregnant and postpartum people. They also engaged in policy training to learn more about how to lobby their legislators and advocate for policy change. While at the state capitol building, members of the group were able to attend legislative committee hearings.

Rachel Logan, a public health researcher who is involved with Black in Repro, notes that during the gathering, she was told that some legislators had assumed that there would be no need to meet with Black in Repro representatives because the six-week ban had already been passed. She made clear that that was not the case. “Black communities – for us, it has never been just about abortion. It can’t be. Like Audre Lorde said, there is no single-issue life,” she said.

Read the full article about Black-led reproductive justice advocacy by Rebekah Barber at The 19th.