Louisiana’s New State Law Spells Trouble for POC Who Want Abortions
Rulings across the Deep South cut off access for many low-income, marginalized people and put them at risk
On March 4, the Supreme Court will hear June Medical Services v. Gee, a case that challenges a Louisiana law requiring that abortion providers maintain admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinics they serve. If the court upholds the law, the three remaining abortion clinics in Louisiana are at risk of closure. The court’s decision in June Medical could deal a major blow to abortion access. Laws that lead to the closures of clinics don’t affect all people equally. They disproportionately affect low-income people, especially poor people of color.
Black, Native American, and Latinx women are more than twice as likely to live below the poverty line as White women, which means it’s that much harder for them to access health care services and medications such as birth control. What’s more, racist reproductive control has deep historical roots. “This country was founded on controlling the reproductivity of Black women,” says Agbo Ikor, director of programs at Spark Reproductive Justice Now. “Throughout time, there have been reproductive barriers in place that have contributed to a system of oppression.”
Last year, the only abortion clinic in the entire state of Missouri was at risk of closure. Half of those seeking abortions there were Black. And many of the states with the strictest abortion laws also have some of the highest Black maternal mortality rates. This means the closure of clinics can lead to an increase in the mortality rate of those forced to carry their pregnancies to term.
“If we don’t do anything to work on all of the issues that create Black pregnancy and Black mortality rates, there’s no other outcome. The stakes are always high for us.”
When Planned Parenthood clinics closed in Texas, the birth rate soared among low-income people. While the causation between clinic closures and increased birth rate can’t be proven, we know that clinic closures delay a patient’s ability to receive services…