Giving Compass' Take:
- The reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision will impact millions of Black women in Southern states who now have limited to no abortion care or access.
- How can donors support reproductive justice efforts that intentionally help those living in Southern states?
- Learn about funding the frontlines of abortion access.
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In the weeks since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, an abortion desert has ballooned in the US South, where bans are hitting Black women hardest.
Across the country Black patients have an abortion rate roughly four times that of their White peers, in part due to lower use of contraception that leads to higher rates of unintended pregnancies. In the states that have moved quickly to enact restrictions, Black women make up a far larger proportion of abortion seekers than in places where abortion remains legal.
In Mississippi, Black patients accounted for 74% of all abortions in 2019, far above the national average of 38%, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, the state has a total abortion ban, and its only clinic plans to relocate to New Mexico.
In neighboring states, where bans or extreme restrictions are proliferating, the figures tell a similar story. Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas — where Black women seek abortions more than any other demographic — have all enacted near or complete bans this year.
All told, abortion access is now in jeopardy for 10 million Black women of childbearing age across the US. Many of them live in the South, where Black women are statistically likely to experience higher poverty rates, have less health care coverage and more instances of pregnancy-related complications and death than their White counterparts. Some will have to travel hundreds of miles to seek care, a hurdle many won’t be able to overcome.
“We’ve been living in multiple Americas for a long time,” said Kwajelyn Jackson, the executive director at the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, which serves mostly Black patients. “But what we’re seeing is another basic human right to health and wellbeing being so out of reach for so many.’’
Read the full article about abortion rights by Taylor Johnson and Kelsey Butler at Al Jazeera.