Posted on May 4, 2022

People of Color, the Poor and Other Marginalized People to Bear the Brunt if Roe v. Wade Is Overturned

Nada Hassanein USA Today, May 3, 2022

People of color and other marginalized, low-income people will be most affected by an overturning of landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, health and policy experts said after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion was published by Politico Monday.

In the draft opinion, Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.” He said Roe was “egregiously wrong from the start,” and called its reasoning “weak.”

About half of U.S. states, concentrated in the South, Midwest and Plains, have restrictive abortion laws set to go into effect should the reversal take place. Experts say those who disproportionately have trouble accessing health care, often people of color, will be most impacted.

More than half of the nation’s Black population lives in the South, where women of color, including Hispanic women, make up a significant proportion. The Plains states also have a large Indigenous population. Days ago, the Oklahoma Legislature passed a six-week abortion ban similar to one adopted by Texas last year.


If Roe is overturned, people may travel hundreds of miles to get to states where abortions are still allowed. Young and low-income people, who are disproportionately of color, may not be able to afford the cost of travel.


Those hurdles include increased chances of economic hardship and insecurity following birth, staying with a violent partner or raising a child alone, and threats to the well-being and development of children already in the home, the study found.

Lead study author Diana Greene Foster, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, said, “Abortion is an issue which disproportionately affects people of color,” subjecting them to “totally underappreciated risks of pregnancy.”

A study estimating the effects of an abortion ban on maternal death by the University of Colorado, Boulder, found that among Black women, maternal deaths could increase by one-third. Black women are already three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white women.

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s Dr. Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine and high-risk pregnancies, said racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes are exacerbated by restrictions to reproductive rights.

“It creates a bias in who is able to get care and who cannot get care,” she said. “There are some medical conditions in which a pregnancy is very, very dangerous to the mother.”

More than 80% of callers to Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, which offers financial and logistical support to abortion seekers in the region, were Black, uninsured or on public insurance, and about 77% had one child already, according to a joint study last year by the organization and Emory University. {snip}