Black, Hispanic women will bear the brunt of health problems, deaths with abortion restrictions, studies show


ORLANDO, Florida. – Protests and praise followed the release of a now upheld Supreme Court draft opinion that signals the possible end of Roe v. Wade. The leaked document begs the question: what’s next?

If abortions are restricted in Florida, data shows that minority women are likely to bear the brunt of restricted access.

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“People of color, and to be specific to black women, we already face disparities that determine our overall health,” said Rebecca Desir, founder of the Black Health Commission in Orlando.

Black women account for the highest number of reported abortions in Florida, totaling nearly 35%, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Each year, the CDC tracks data they request from central health agencies in 50 states. The agency said abortion rates and ratios differ across racial and ethnic groups.

In 2019, abortion rates and ratios were 3.6 and 3.3 times higher among non-Hispanic black women and 1.8 and 1.5 times higher among Hispanic women than among non-Hispanic white women .

“You’re adding the implicit bias, the system that’s already designed in a way that doesn’t really sit well with minorities in America,” Desir said. “It’s so compounded by all these other factors, whether it’s education or other things. It just makes it so difficult to address any aspect of health.

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Research also shows that non-Hispanic black women are more likely to die from pregnancy complications.

“The death rate for non-Hispanic blacks is more than three times higher, said Amanda Stevenson, a sociology professor at CU Boulder in Colorado.

Stevenson studies the possible impacts of an abortion ban in the United States. Her research estimates that the number of pregnancy-related deaths increases by 7% in the first year and rises to 21% in subsequent years.

“More people will die because staying pregnant is more dangerous than having an abortion,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson began her research after 13 US states passed laws to ban abortion at six weeks gestation or earlier.

Her paper, published in October last year, analyzes the risk of dying from an abortion versus the risk of carrying a pregnancy to term. She found that the rate of pregnancy-related deaths among non-Hispanic black women was much higher than that of the general population.

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“No matter how many abortions are denied, the fact that they’re denied to non-Hispanic black people means there’s going to be a bigger increase for that population, three times larger,” Stevenson said.

In Florida, a Republican-led legislature recently passed a 15-week abortion ban, effective July 1. Pro-life supporters said there are options for women.

“We’re very excited about this,” said John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council. “We want to produce a culture of positive living.

Those who support a woman’s right to make her own choice want people to remember that abortion may be limited, but it’s still legal.

“Our doors are always open,” said Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran, MD, MPH, FACOG, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “We are here for our patients. I want people to know that. »

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Planned Parenthood said it already has a navigation team in place. The organization is working to expand these resources to help people who will seek care out of state.

“Already in Florida, it’s difficult to access abortion care. There are many counties where there are no abortion care providers yet,” Prabhakaran said. “Even if we do (increase resources), there will be people who can’t access the care they need because they just can’t travel out of state. What worries me the most is that people will have access to care from unqualified health providers.

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