Sharpton, Black Women Leaders: SCOTUS Overturning Of Roe Would Disproportionately Harm Black Women

abortion restrictions and bans disproportionately burden Black women
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Photos: National Urban League\Black Women's Reproductive Justice

New York, NY (Wednesday, May 4, 2022) – Civil Rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and the Black women leadership of the National Action Network (NAN) issued the following statement on the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the abortion protections under Roe v. Wade.

“The history of reproductive politics in the U.S. is rooted in structural forms of gendered, sexualized, and racialized acts of discrimination violating a women’s right to privacy. The leaked draft opinion might not be the final order of the Court, but it is yet another reminder that abortion restrictions and bans disproportionately burden Black women, low-income people, and others marginalized members of our community.

They already face intersecting discriminatory barriers to accessing health care existing in law and fact and will now confront yet another challenge. Safe abortion access is as much a racial and an economic justice issue as the right to vote is the root of all civil rights issues.

If this draft is indeed passed as the majority opinion, the federally protected constitutional right to an abortion, the rule of law for almost 50 years, would be overturned. The Supreme Court would have neglected its responsibility to respect the precedent in Roe v. Wade. The authority to implement abortion laws would be turned over to individual states. Courts are supposed to follow earlier precedents to resolve current disputes providing uniformity, consistency, and judicial efficiency in the law. In the past, a precedent was overturned when it was unworkable or no longer viable, eroded by its opinions, or changing social conditions.

There is no political condition and legal justification to overturn Roe, and it will only end access to safe and legal abortions. Women will lose control over their bodies. Without ensuring that voters have the freedom to participate in safe and accessible elections, a minority who threatens reproductive freedom will continue to block the will of the majority of Americans.

National Action Network urges the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect abortion access from medically unnecessary restrictions and prevent the onslaught of state-level bans and restrictions and federal legislation to restore and revital­ize the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA).”

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