More than the 48th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, state legislators and advocates for reproductive rights, health, and justice stress the importance of seeing these issues as connected to larger struggles for social justice.
“On this anniversary, we must commit to continuing the fight for something more — a vision of reproductive justice that affirms the lives of Black people everywhere,” said Monica Simpson, executive director of Sistersong, in an email statement. Simpson reflected on the police killings of Black people like Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd and the radical imagination necessary to build a vision of the future beyond systemic violence and oppression.
“In order to create safe and sustainable communities where people can live healthy lives, we need to trust in the leadership of Black women,” said Simpson.
Despite attacks on the right to abortion, advocates point out that it is still legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. But being legal alone is not enough to protect access.
“I’m constantly reminded that meaningful abortion access is not a reality for many folks in Black communities across this country and around the world,” Chris Love, the Board Chair of Planned Parenthood Advocates Arizona, said in a recent conversation with NewsOne. “We should celebrate that Roe is still the law of the land, but we have so much further to go to ensure that all people who can become pregnant have the ability to make their own autonomous and informed reproductive choices.”
With a new administration and a changing of the guard in Congress, some see a new opportunity to address the limitations of Roe and barriers such as the Hyde Amendment and the global gag rule which keep people from fully accessing abortions and repoductive health. President Joe Biden is set to reverse the Mexico City Policy that was reinstated and expanded by his predecessor. Also known as the global gag rule, the Mexico City Policy is seen as a limitation on the ability of providers to support women’s health abroad.
“The Hyde Amendment is, at its base, a racist policy that violates the most basic human right to decide whether or when to have children,” said Marcela Howell in a statement. Founder and president of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, Howell says that the Hyde Amendment is a threat to the economic security of those denied abortion access.
“We must ensure that all pregnant people have access to both abortion care and the resources to make reproductive health decisions – including the decision to have and raise our families with dignity – regardless of income, geography and insurance coverage,” Howell said.
Echoing Howell’s sentiments, Laurie Bertram Roberts said that laws without access were meaningless. “For most people in a large swath of the country, it’s as if Roe doesn’t exist,” said Roberts in conversation with NewsOne. As the executive director of the Yellow Hammer Fund, an Alabama based abortion fund, Roberts understands the struggle of people in southern communities struggling to access abortion services.
Roberts also called for an expansion of Medicaid expansion in southern states and eventually medicare for all to provide for all of a person’s health care needs. But Roe simply establishes a right Roberts says: “We know that abortion has been already recognized as a human right and really the thing that we could do the most to help abortion rights in America is to bring our laws in line with that belief.”
Women's History Month: Celebrating Black Women Pioneers And Their Many Historic Firsts
1. Kamala Harris, first woman and Black woman Vice President of the United StatesSource:Getty 1 of 21
2. Barbara Jordan, First Black Woman Elected Into Congress from the SouthSource:Getty 2 of 21
3. Bianca Smith, MLB’s first Black woman coach
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"I only saw women in the front office. I didn't see women on the field, so it never occurred to me to be a coach until I actually got on the field myself and realized, 'Okay this is something I can do.'"@RedSox coach Bianca Smith is ready to pave the way. pic.twitter.com/unnoZoAH4L— MLB (@MLB) February 3, 2021
4. Mae C. Jemison, First Black Woman in SpaceSource:Getty 4 of 21
5. Amanda Gorman, the nation’s youngest inaugural poetSource:Getty 5 of 21
6. Bessie Coleman, First Black Woman PilotSource:Getty 6 of 21
7. Mellody Hobson, first Black woman to chair Starbucks' boardSource:Getty 7 of 21
8. Mary Jackson, First Black Woman to Work for NASASource:Getty 8 of 21
9. Meisha Ross Porter, first Black woman to be NYC Schools ChancellorSource:NYC Dept. Of Education 9 of 21
10. Hattie McDaniel, First Black Woman to Win an Academy AwardSource:Getty 10 of 21
11. Jennifer King, First Black Woman NFL CoachSource:Getty 11 of 21
12. Alice Coachman, First Black Woman To Win an Olympic Gold MedalSource:Getty 12 of 21
13. Oprah Winfrey, First Black Woman BillionaireSource:Getty 13 of 21
14. Madam C.J. Walker, First Woman Millionaire In AmericaSource:Getty 14 of 21
15. Nia DaCosta, first Black woman to direct a Marvel movieSource:Getty 15 of 21
16. Mariya Russell, First Black Woman Chef to Earn a Michelin Star
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Meet Mariya Russell, the first Black woman to win a Michelin star in the guide’s 94-year history pic.twitter.com/ZYIq5KqmPL— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 27, 2020
17. Whoopi Goldberg, First Black Woman to Win EGOT (Academy Award, 1990), (Emmy, 2002 & 2009), (Grammy, 1985) and (Tony, 2002)Source:Getty 17 of 21
18. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, First Black Woman to Become a Doctor of Medicine in the U.S.
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This #BlackHistoryMonth we’re highlighting notable African-American public health figures. Meet Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African-American woman physician. She authored the “Book of Medical Discourses” containing medical advice for women & children. https://t.co/UeUNE1eVRL— FairfaxCounty Health (@fairfaxhealth) February 26, 2020
19. Serena Williams, First Black Woman to Win a Career Grand Slam in TennisSource:Getty 19 of 21
20. Loretta Lynch, First Black Woman to be Attorney General of the U.S.Source:Getty 20 of 21
21. Stacey Abrams, First Black Woman to be a Major Party Nominee for State GovernorSource:Getty 21 of 21
Black Women On Roe v. Wade: ‘Now’s The Time To Ensure Equity, Not Just Access’ was originally published on newsone.com