JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville-area activists say Friday’s decision to allow states to set their own laws on abortion will have a significant impact on minority communities.
Diamond Delancy, Black organizing program manager for Planned Parenthood of Southeast and North Florida, said communities of color would especially feel the impacts of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.
“This decision is devastating for minority women and minority birthing people because we are disproportionately affected by a lot of structures that exist in our community,” Delancy said. “When we’re talking about reproductive justice, we’re talking about the right to have children, the right not to have children and the right to parent those children in a safe community.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women have the highest abortion rate. Black women have nearly 24 abortions per 1,000 women compared to about seven abortions per 1,000 white women.
Dr. Carol Jenkins Neil, a professor at Florida State College of Nursing, called Friday a “sad day for women.” Neil said disparities, like access to health care and transportation, could have dire consequences for women of color.
“I think mental health is going to increase, and, unfortunately, I feel that more women are going to die and infants. I feel like our maternal and infant mortality rate is going to increase. I think that’s really sad for minority women,” Neil said.
Both Delancy and Neil said that minority women in the south will be affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling. After Florida’s new law takes effect on July 1, North Carolina will become the closest state to Florida to get an abortion after 15 weeks.
“These abortion bans are racist because they unnecessarily put burdens on people who are already bare from having access to health,” Delancy said.
“What if one of these minority women was in a rape or incest time situation? They have no choice but to have the baby because options are gone,” Neil said.
Despite Friday’s decision, Delancy hopes minority women are not discouraged.
“I really want to inspire hope in people that the power does belong to the people, and we’re going to do what we can, but it is a very scary time,” Delancy said.
Delancy encourages women of color to become more involved in local groups that are working to protect women’s right to have an abortion.
Neil fears that Friday’s decision will also affect access to birth control and other issues.