In a historic decision, the United States Supreme Court has decided to overturn Roe v. Wade ending constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years. In a 6-3 vote, the Court upheld a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Justice Samuel Alito wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the day they were decided and must be overturned. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito wrote for the majority. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.” Liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were in dissent. “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 wrote.
Three of the conservative Justices were nominated by Donald Trump — Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Conservatives have a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court for the first time since the Roosevelt administration in the 1940s. Legislators in 13 states have passed “trigger laws,” bans designed to go into effect as a result of this decision, CNN reported. 26 states have laws indicating that they intend to ban abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute and nine states have pre-Roe bans that could potentially be enforced with the ruling overturned. South Dakota, Louisiana and Kentucky have laws that immediately ban most abortions, Politico reported. Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon and Delaware protect the right to abortion throughout pregnancy.
“This is an unjust ruling that will have a devastating impact on the entire country, but like all abortion restrictions, it will hit our most vulnerable communities the hardest,” Lupe M. Rodríguez, executive director for the National Latina
Institute for Reproductive Justice said in a statement. “This Supreme Court decision will directly and disproportionately harm Latinas/xs and all communities of color; this is an attack on racial justice, economic justice, and equality. For many, it is a matter of life and death.”
In Mississippi, people of color comprise 44 percent of the population but 80 percent of women receiving abortions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In Texas, POC are 59 percent of the population and 74 percent of those receiving abortions and in Alabama it’s 35 percent and 70 percent, respectively. In Louisiana, minorities represent 42 percent of the population, according to the state Health Department, and about 72 percent of those who’ve gotten an abortion. Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming all have trigger abortion bans.
“Access to abortion care is a fundamental human right. No Court should dictate who among us can have children, when, how many, or under what circumstances,” Rodriguez of NLIRJ said.
The is an ongoing story and we will be updating as more information becomes available
Khenia Haro-Perez, Virginia State Policy Advocate for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice tells HipLatina how this will directly impact women of color:
“Black and Brown communities face structural barriers that place them at a significant disadvantage when seeking care, including less access to jobs with a just salary, paid days off, insurance coverage, affordable housing and childcare, and these obstacles further limit their opportunities to find time-sensitive abortion care. Because of this, we’ve already started to see the harm that this has caused for Latinas/x. In Texas, where abortion access has been cutoff since SB 8 was passed last September, many people without the financial resources, transportation, days off work, and childcare they may need to travel out of state have been forced to remain pregnant and give birth against their will or seek abortion outside of the healthcare system.”
She emphasizes that that abortion care is still legal in most of the country but adds that finding abortion care will become harder for the most vulnerable communities in those states as well, as people with means from states where abortion is outlawed will flood providers in states where it remains legal.
“Historically, we have seen that the criminalization of abortion impacts access to reproductive healthcare. When abortion is criminalized, parents who have miscarriages could be at risk of prosecution, maternal mortality rates can increase, and access to infertility treatment as well as contraception could be threatened. Underserved communities have already seen the effects of the inherent racism that abortion bans present.”
She also shares how this will impact undocumented immigrants: “People without documentation close to the Southern border in states like Texas, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have set up internal checkpoints along all major routes, will continue to face the risk of detention and deportation if they try to travel to another state to seek abortion care. Many will have to remain pregnant and give birth against their will to avoid being separated from their families in the U.S.”