Weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to obtain an abortion, concerns continue to grow about how the ruling will impact women. Pro-abortion rights advocates say the ripple effect will put underserved communities, including Hispanic and Black people, at a greater risk.
“I actually had an illegal abortion in Mexico when I was 16. I came out to a family member. I am bisexual, and he thought that by assaulting me, he was going to fix who I love. And, my family did not support my desire to get an abortion,” said Amy Pérez, a Texas resident and pro-abortion rights activist. “I ended up going to an unlicensed [place]. It was a med student and I got a septic uterus, which could be deadly.”
Pérez is one of thousands of Latinas who seek abortion care every year. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control finds that Hispanic women are nearly twice as likely to get an abortion compared to white women and Black women are four times more likely.
“Forcing pregnancy, childbirth, and not giving women agency over her own decisions on when she decides to or to not have children really sentences women, their families, to generations of poverty,” said Marya Meyer, Executive Director of Women’s Funds Miami-Dade, an advocacy non-profit organization with various programs related to research and building up grassroots collaborative action.
Dr. Maria Ilcheva, an expert in data analytics and behavioral research and a volunteer at the Women’s Funds in Miami, says limiting abortion access will not necessary result in fewer abortions, but instead could increase the number of illegal abortions.
“It will have a negative health effect on women, especially of certain income brackets and certain racial & ethnic groups,” Dr. Ilcheva says. “One of the major implications is that first the abortions will go underground and that’s the biggest danger. That’s why this is such a big health issue.”
One concern some have is that maternal mortality rates among minorities could spike, as some states move to ban or restrict abortion access. According to CDC data, Black women are three times more likely than white women to die from a pregnancy-related cause.
Crisis pregnancy centers target people considering abortion; however, research shows many of them do not provide medical care at all.