Roe v. Wade decision expected to have profound impact on communities of color, researchers say

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University of Minnesota researchers say the Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v. Wade will have profound impact on communities of color.

“The way abortion bans work, they are dangerous for all people,” Asha Hassan, U of M Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity researcher, said. “But the burden falls hardest on Black, indigenous and racialized people, non-binary and trans people, people living in rural areas and people of lower socioeconomic status.”

Before Roe v. Wade was struck down, it was already difficult for underprivileged groups to access abortion care.

Hassan said crossing state borders to get care will be out of reach for some.

“Thinking about who has access to a car who has access to time off, this is of course going to be the most privileged folks in our society who are going to make those decisions,” Hassan said.

Black women have abortions at a rate nearly four times that of white women, according to the National Library of Medicine. The CDC lists factors that play a role in the disparities including people of color’s unequal access to family planning services, economic disadvantages and mistrust in the medical system.

“Those disparities inherently mean that abortion bans are racist policies in the way they impact people,” Hassan said. “They’re racist because they have the disproportionate harm and they serve to reinforce systemic white supremacy.”

The maternal mortality crisis in the U.S. continues to be a concern.

Black women are over three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, according to the CDC.

“We can expect to see up to a 33% increase in black maternal and pregnancy related deaths following the fall of Roe v. Wade,” Hassan said.

Hassan explained in the coming years, research will emerge that explains how the Roe v. Wade ruling will impact existing racial health and wealth disparities.

In the early 2000s, researchers at the University of California San Francisco examined what happens when someone is denied an abortion.

The Turnaway Study, a 10-year research project, concluded in 2016.

The study found serious consequences of being denied a wanted abortion on women’s health and wellbeing. According to the study, women who have to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term have four times greater odds of living below the Federal Poverty Level, among other social and economic challenges.