How the Overturn of Roe v. Wade Will Disproportionately Affect Latinas, WOC
Following a draft leak earlier this year that announced the Supreme Court’s intentions to overturn Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the right to abortion nationwide, the court has made its official decision in a 5-4 vote to rescind the landmark 1973 case.
In a separate 6-3 vote that served as a catalyst for the Roe ruling, the high court also overturned Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Mississippi case that outlaws abortion access after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Abortion is expected to become illegal in roughly half the states in the country, disproportionately impacting those in poverty, namely Black, Latina and WOC.
Women of color are vulnerable to both a lack of access to safe abortions, as well as increased punitive measures for those who seek them out.
The U.S. has some of the highest maternity mortality rates in the world, according to the World Economic Forum, Roe v. Wade’s reversal is only going to increase that number, especially among impoverished, Black and Latina women.
A report from American Progress confirms that there are more women in poverty than men across the board. But where roughly 9% of white women live in poverty, as of 2018, that number jumps to nearly 20% for Hispanic women and more than 20% for Black women.
Another report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that in states like Texas, where there are plans to criminalize abortion at the most extreme levels, Hispanic and Latino women represent 39% of total abortions performed each year. In South Dakota, where Hispanics and Latinos only make up 4.4% of the population according to the 2020 Census, Latina women comprise 10% of the state’s yearly abortions.
However, some conservative Hispanic groups, like Bienvenido, are in support of the ruling, calling it “correct as both a legal and a moral matter,” according to NBC News. Still, the Pew Research Center reports that 60% of Hispanics support a woman’s right to abortion.
Politico reports that of the 50 states, abortion is already illegal in three of them: South Dakota, Louisiana and Kentucky. In Texas, abortion will be completely illegal in 30 days. Abortion is already banned in Oklahoma, but certification from its attorney general will completely outlaw the procedure remains pending.
Another eight states — North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee — are also waiting for approval from each state’s respective attorney general. Wisconsin, West Virginia and Alabama may try to reinstate their pre-Roe laws relating to abortion.
Finally, there are a half-dozen states — Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia — where abortion is still legal, but on the chopping block pending review by the courts.
The rest of the states have abortion codified into their laws. These “safe haven” states include: Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Montana.
However, even within those safe haven states, exceptions could begin to arise. Florida, for instance, which is instituting a 15-week limit on abortions starting July 1, is where far-right Gov. Ron DeSantis could go to the courts to reverse or otherwise undo the state’s protections.
The move to overturn Roe v. Wade comes just months before this year’s midterm elections, where Democrats are expected to take a huge hit.
It’s worth noting that Roe v. Wade was overturned with Democrats in control of the House, the Senate and the presidency.
“We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito, according to AP. “Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.” Casey refers to Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the right to abortion in 1992.
Alito was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett; three of whom are Trump appointees.
On the dissenting side were Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
In their dissenting opinion, they wrote: “With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
They warn that those who oppose abortion may now seek to institute a federal ban “from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest,” per the source.
The conservative court has now set its sights on Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell, which protect constitutional rights to contraceptives, as well as the right to practice same-sex relationships and the right to same-sex marriage, respectively.
Overturning Roe v. Wade, which protects the right to privacy as well as a woman’s right to choose, is just the beginning of a wave of conservatism that could determine the next few decades of reproductive health and protections for same-sex couples.
A Texas law passed last September that banned abortion after six weeks — before most women know they’re pregnant — also targets anyone “aiding and abetting” an abortion. This means anyone involved with performing an abortion or even driving someone to get an abortion would be vulnerable to a lawsuit and criminal charges.
“Outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual,” read a statement from President Joe Biden.