“Black women are more likely to live in areas where it’s harder to access contraception. They get abortions at the highest rates compared to women of other races, due to high rates of unintended pregnancy.
The factors that lead some Black women to seek abortions are present from the day they are born, passed down from mothers who faced similar plights. Those born into poverty are less likely to have access to health care, let alone reproductive or maternal health care; when some Black women are able to seek care, they face medical racism. For centuries, Black women have fought for autonomy over their bodies, against government-sanctioned abuse and abuse from intimate partners. The end of a constitutional right to legal abortion makes the fight harder.
State-level abortion restrictions have already taken effect in at least eight states, and in total, 22 states have laws that impose very strict restrictions on abortions. Those states are home to 39 percent of the total US population, but 45 percent of Black women and girls under age 55.
The consequences will be dire. The end of legal abortion will trap Black women in cycles of poverty. The consequences will also be deadly. Black women have the highest rates of maternal mortality and pregnancy complications, and those risks will only increase if more Black women have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. Here are the numbers that show how alarming the situation is.”
“Ireland’s laws against abortion were some of the most restrictive in the world.2 From 1983 to 2018, “the right to life of the unborn” was equal to the “right to life of the mother,” and the state was empowered to “defend and vindicate that right.” This was enshrined in the Irish Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which two-thirds of voters approved in a 1983 referendum. Furthermore, under Irish law, performing or obtaining an abortion was punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Of course, this didn’t stop abortions in Ireland. Abortions happened anyway, both abroad and underground. But the fact that they still happened — and that they were still in demand — didn’t make the effort to legalize them any easier. It took another 35 years for abortion to become legal in Ireland — and a steady stream of activism and high-profile stories of suffering for abortion rights to expand.”
“It took almost a decade for the broader Irish public to become aware of the dire consequences faced by those who are denied abortions. In 1991, a 14-year-old girl was raped by the father of one of her friends. The attorney general filed an injunction prohibiting her and her parents from traveling to England to seek an abortion because the law compelled the state to protect the life of the fetus. During that time, the girl was expressing suicidal thoughts, and a clinical psychologist testified in a court hearing that the girl was at risk of killing herself; ultimately, the Irish Supreme Court decided to set aside the initial court ruling, thus allowing the girl to get an abortion because there was a real threat of suicide.”
“If Ireland is any example, a lot more women in America will have to die or experience mental-health issues before attitudes toward abortion care dramatically shift.”