Limited access to abortion disproportionately impacts women of color.

On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision in favor of giving women a constitutional right to abortion, striking down Texas’ abortion ban as unconstitutional.

On May 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 (also known as the “Heartbeat Bill”) into law, prohibiting Texas women from getting an abortion as early as six weeks (before many even know they are pregnant) and permitting anyone to pursue legal action against a woman who gets an abortion, abortion providers, or anyone that assists if it is past the six-week limit. This law went into effect in September 2021. 

Nearly 50 years after the 1973 decision and just a year after the passing of the “Heartbeat Bill,” a draft opinion was leaked to the public in May and revealed that SCOTUS will likely overturn Roe v. Wade. 

And today, on June 24, 2022 Roe v. Wade is effectively overturned. 

What was ruled to be constitutionally protected healthcare half a century ago is now in the process of being ripped away from millions of women. 

However, what most aren’t aware of is that these measures are disproportionately impacting women of color (especially Black and Hispanic women), people that are already impacted by poverty, lack of healthcare access, and racism in the health care system.

Here’s why: 

Black and Hispanic women are more likely to have unintended pregnancies and need an abortion. 

Data show that there is clearly a significantly higher need for access to abortion amongst young, women of color. 

According to CDC data, Black women are five times more likely to have an abortion than a white woman, and Hispanic women are two times more likely. In 2019, Black women had the highest rate of abortions with 23.8 abortions per 1,000 women. Hispanic women had 11.7 abortions per 1,000 women. While White women had the lowest rate – 6.6 abortions per 1,000 women. The majority of these women (56.9%) were in their 20s. 

In an interview for The Atlantic, Christine Dehlendorf, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who specializes in reproductive health research, said that the discrepancy in abortion rates is demonstrative of the broader inequities people of color face, “But ultimately I think it’s about structural determinants— economic reasons, issues related to racism, differences in opportunities, differences in social and historical context.”

Dehlendorf also emphasized that money is often a major deciding factor. According to the Pew Research Center, the median wealth of white households is 18 times that of Hispanic households and 20 times that of black households.

Black and Hispanic women are more likely to be unemployed. 

The 2021 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report demonstrated promising signs of recovery in the U.S. economy with the unemployment rate falling to 6.2%. However, this recovery has not been equally represented across the entire U.S. labor force – the employment data was worse for minority groups than for White workers and significantly worse for women of color. 

Black and Hispanic women have suffered the largest spikes in unemployment and deepest drops of labor force participation rate since the pandemic began (March 2020). Per the chart below from CNBC (using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), total employment for Black women was 9.7% lower than it was at pre-pandemic levels (February 2020). Total employment for Hispanic women was 8.6% lower. White women? Only 5.4% lower. 

For women of color that are already facing significant financial barriers, carrying a pregnancy to term makes it immensely more difficult (for some, impossible) to escape poverty or pursue a career. 

Over half of the nation’s Black population lives in the South, where women of color, including Hispanic women, make up a significant portion. 

With women of color being concentrated in states with the country’s most restrictive abortion laws, it puts them in an especially vulnerable position if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Nearly half of U.S. states, concentrated in the South, Midwest, and Plains, already have restrictive abortion laws set to go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. 

This month, Oklahoma Legislature passed a six-week abortion ban, similar to the one Texas passed last May. Oklahoma has the second highest percentage of Native Americans at 16% with Alaska being the highest at 22%. According to the 2021 Census Bureau data, twenty states saw their Native American populations more than double since 2010, but Oklahoma saw the biggest growth, with a 30% increase since the last census.

These women would have to travel hundreds of miles to get to states where abortions are permitted. But for young and low-income women of color, cost of transportation and lodging, finding and paying for childcare, and missing work isn’t a feasible option. 

Black and Hispanic women are more likely to die in childbirth and receive lower quality healthcare.

A study done by the University of Colorado Boulder calculated that banning abortion nationwide would lead to a 21% increase in the number of pregnancy-related deaths overall and a 33% increase among Black women alone. Any increased death due to unsafe abtions or attempted abortions would be in addition to these estimates. 

Keep in mind that Black women are already three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white women. 

To get a better idea of how banning or limiting access to abortion differs between women of color and White women, we sent out a few surveys and described “access to abortion” as what it is – healthcare. With a total of 500 respondents from all over the country, 250 White women and 250 women of color (Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Native Hawaiian), we found the following:



If you had a life-altering (not necessarily life-threatening) health issue and you weren’t able to access the medication or healthcare you needed due to cost, how would you feel?






We’d like to highlight few Texas based organizations still currently working to keep abortion accessible. If you have time or resources, please consider contributing to one (or more) of them. 



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