Protesters gather two days after the US Supreme Court released a decision on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, striking down the right to abortion (photo by Apu GOMES / AFP).

On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. This eliminated the constitutional right for a woman to have an abortion.

“Like the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe was also egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided,” Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote.

Plessy v. Ferguson is a touchpoint for African Americans, because it was the case that established legalized segregation and the doctrine of “separate but equal” in America, until the Brown v. Board decision found “separate is inherently unequal.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s research suggests that an abortion ban would disproportionately impact African American women, and, therefore make Alito’s ruling more in common with Plessy than his opinion acknowledges.

Americans may also see a rise in pregnancy related deaths involving African American and Hispanic women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “In 2020, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.9 times the rate for non-Hispanic White women. Rates for non-Hispanic Black women were significantly higher than rates for non-Hispanic White and Hispanic women.”

The racial disparity in the health care system plays a role in the maternal mortality rate for non-hispanic Black women.

The National Academy of Medicine finds that “racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care than white people—even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable.”

We may also see a rise in unintended pregnancies due to African American and Hispanic women not having access to highly effective contraceptives.

According to GoodRx Health, “Among people that pay for birth control pills, the average annual out-of-pocket expenditure is…$268 for those without insurance. This is an additional expense on top of any required out-of-pocket payment to the doctor for initial consultations, which average $87 annually.

“Given that the IUD lasts about 5 years on average…For those without insurance, the cost of an IUD is about $1,000 or $200 per year.

“The implant lasts 3 to 4 years…For those without insurance, the implant costs about $1,300 — that’s an annual cost of about $433.”

In April 2019, the National Partnership for Women & Families released a study showing “Black women are more likely to hold low wage jobs that do not provide health benefits.”

The same study showed that “16 percent of Black women in the South do not have health insurance.”

Black women in the South will have a challenging time trying to afford highly effective contraceptives and may have unintended pregnancies without being able to get an abortion.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2019, people of color in Mississippi made up 44 percent of the population and 81 percent of women who received abortions. 

In Alabama, people of color made up 35 percent of the population and 69 percent of women who received abortions. In Texas, people of color made up 59 percent of the population and 74 percent of women who received abortions.  

Following the news of Roe, Americans reacted.

Tanya Milton of Savannah, Georgia said, “It is pretty brutal… I do not think it was a good decision. For something that has been in place for as long as it has been in place and you come in and you overturn it, for what? What is the reason for that?… I do not know if the entire thought of having an abortion is thought out thoroughly… For somebody who would have an abortion does not think about those who cannot have a baby.”

Sabrina Candelario of Washington D.C. said, “I am torn about this decision due to the implications that will stem from under the table operations that may cause more black women to lose their lives. However, based on the documentary [“Black Genocide in 21st Century America”], by Maafa 21, a Black child is more likely to lose his life in the womb because of abortions. That is horrifying in itself.”

A 2022 The Economist/YouGov Poll asked 1,500 adults whether they were pro-life or pro-choice. Amongst African Americans and Hispanics, 18 percent of African Americans and 19 percent of Hispanics were pro-life. While 32 percent of African Americans and 26 percent of Hispanics were pro-choice.

Amongst African Americans, 33 percent of were both pro-life and pro-choice. 7 percent were neither. 10 percent were not sure.

Amongst Hispanics, 25 percent were both pro-life and pro-choice. 10 percent were neither. 19 percent were not sure.

Based on the evidence presented, the overturning of Roe v. Wade may negatively affect a larger percentage of African Americans and Hispanics than white Americans.