Abortion attacks aren’t slowing down as the clock ticks on Florida’s six-week ban and Arizona’s Supreme Court has paved the way to reinforce a Civil War-era law that criminalizes nearly all abortions.

The consequences could be catastrophic for Black reproductive health, exacerbating existing disparities in access to care and alarming rates of maternal mortality, advocates and health-care providers fear.

In the Southeast, Florida’s Supreme Court decided to allow the ban, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last year, to take effect 30 days after the announcement, on May 1. The same day, they also allowed Floridians to decide through an amendment on the November ballot whether to enshrine abortion protections in the state’s constitution.

It’s a consequential decision for all of the American South, where over half of the country’s Black population resides, and where many of the country’s strictest abortion laws have taken hold, backed largely by Republican lawmakers.

In May, access to abortion care in Florida will shrink from 15 weeks to six weeks.

“Pretty much in the South, abortion care is null and void,”  Ciné Julien, a reproductive justice organizer for Florida Access Network, told Capital B.

The move further shrinks access to abortion care in the region, at least until voters decide the ban’s fate at the ballot box. And across the country, in Arizona, the fate of abortion access is still in the throes of legal, political and legislative battles. The decision is on hold until a lower court hears additional arguments about the law’s constitutionality.

Black women are more likely than white women to get abortions, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, and they are also at least three times more likely nationwide to die due to pregnancy-related causes.

In Florida, the disparity between Black and white pregnancy-related deaths doubled between 2010 to 2020. Any decision about reproductive health care leaves Black women particularly vulnerable.

“This ban, shrouded in white supremacy, is another attempt to take away our autonomy,” said Alexia Rice-Henry, co-executive director of ARC-Southeast, an abortion fund covering many of the southern states, in a statement about the Florida news. “It will add another hurdle, but won’t stop folks from having that ultimate say.”

Read the full article about abortion bans and Black families by Margo Snipe at The 19th.