This week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a crucial case that could decide the future of abortion access in this country. It could pave the way for states to effectively ban abortion without ever overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that affirmed safe and legal abortion as a constitutional right. Even worse, it could overturn Roe altogether and in effect ban abortion for over 25 million women of reproductive age—a number that includes 3.5 million black people.
As black women who had abortions, we’re terrified that our loved ones won’t have the same access we did.
For many of us, even with Roe v. Wade, the promise of reproductive freedom has never been truly realized. The racism this country was founded upon has long-limited our access to economic opportunity, as well as our health care and health insurance. It’s also impeded and in some cases stolen our ability to vote for people who would protect our rights. These barriers have conspired to keep us from exercising our most basic human right—the ability to determine our own futures. The unsettling truth is that black women have never had that freedom.