Abortion is an issue that disproportionately impacts Black people who can get pregnant. So several Black-run political organizations are using the moment to marshal and educate voters should Roe v. Wade be reversed.
Although few were surprised by the recent leak draft opinion by the Supreme Court indicating a reversal on Roe, it has propelled some organizations and even politicians to hyper-focused on the issue of abortion.
The reality is that if the right to abortion becomes unprotected at the federal level, pregnancy-related deaths would increase by 21% overall, but by 33% among Black pregnant people, research from a 2021 University of Colorado Boulder report shows. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black women have the highest abortion rate in the U.S. at 23.8 abortions per 1,000 women, with a ratio of 386 abortions per 1,000 healthy births.
Kanika Harris, director of maternal and child health at Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI), the only nonprofit in the country focused solely on the health of Black women tells Daily Kos that when it comes to abortion data, the numbers can be “very skewed.”
“Normally disproportionately Black and brown people have to have abortions in public clinics, Parenthood, or hospitals that actually collect the data. As opposed to a private gynecologist or a private hospital. White women take their teenagers or family members privately where no one will know,” Harris tells Daily Kos.
April England Albright, legal director and chief of staff a Black Voters Matter, a national organization focused on voting rights in the Black community, tells USA Today since Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft, communities are rallying around their local and national elections.
“People have already been working on how to respond in real-time by providing funds and making them available to women who need to travel to get an abortion in anticipation,” Albright says.
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams temporarily paused campaign fundraising after learning of the leaked draft and instead began raising money for pro-choice groups in the state—The Feminist Women’s Health Center, SisterSong, ARC Southeast, Planned Parenthood Southeast, and others.
USA Today reports that things changed in Melody Bray’s campaign for Georgia State Senator for District 38 after the leak.
“I would say the effects were immediate in two ways. One is that the entire conversation changed,” Bray said. “We were all about talking voting rights and affordable housing, and now we’re talking about this [abortion].”
Bray’s campaign has become focused on the issue of abortion, with new messaging for volunteers and a new vertical on her website.
“My concern with being (in) an overwhelmingly Democratic district was that people weren’t going to turn out… This makes me feel like more people will be energized to turn out,” Bray says.
Tammy Boyd, director of health policy at BWHI, tells USA Today the organization will begin attending reproductive justice rallies and organizing roundtable discussions around the issue.
“Also, we are really pushing how important these elections are, simultaneously, these midterm elections… We’re going to be doing roundtables and meetings in various key states like Georgia, and particularly Georgia because we’re based in Georgia, and swing states Florida and Ohio,” Boyd told USA Today. “
Shakya Cherry-Donaldson, executive director of the Georgia-based advocacy group for Black women 1000 Strong, is organizing around Sen. Raphael Warnock’s Senate and Abram’s races, as well as races in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas, according to USA Today.
“For Black women in this country that descend from a legacy of slavery, they have an ancestral memory of what it is like for our bodies to be owned by the state. And we can never go back, only forward,” Cherry-Donaldson says.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.