Overturning Roe Will Exacerbate the Black Maternal Mortality Crisis. It’s Time for Our Leaders To Act
Black women’s health and bodily autonomy have been under consistent, unrelenting attack for centuries, a reality that holds true today. The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and deny millions of people the constitutional right to abortion is expected to disproportionately hurt Black women. The United States is also in the throes of a maternal mortality crisis, in which Black women and people who can give birth are more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications or experience near-misses than their white peers.
These crises did not begin, nor have they persisted in a vacuum. Rather, they reflect long-standing racist and misogynistic efforts to control Black women’s reproduction and, by extension, their well-being and livelihoods. They are rooted in a legacy that includes, for example, efforts to coerce low-income Black women to accept birth control in exchange for cash, state laws that allowed for and even encouraged forcible sterilization, and sanctioned medical experimentation on enslaved Black people that gave rise to obstetrics and gynecology as we know it today.
The above excerpt was originally published in Ms. Magazine. Click here to view the full article
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.
Black Maternal Health Federal Policy Collective
Former Associate Director, Women\'s Health and Rights