Pro-choice and reproductive justice activists woke up to good news on Monday morning: in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that would have severely limited abortion access and potentially set a dangerous precedent for other states to follow Louisiana’s lead. In preserving the full range of reproductive health care for the one million women of child bearing age living in Louisiana, the court’s ruling is a win for reproductive rights. But with the threat to basic reproductive health care still looming, the work is far from over.
Dozens of other states have abortion restrictions that make it harder for women to get the reproductive care that they need. This disparity in abortion access is particularly harmful for black women and other people of color, who already face more barriers to sexual and reproductive health services because of the systemic inequities in this country.
A Snapshot of the State Policies that Jeopardize Safe Abortion Care:
- Medication abortion has been available in the U.S. since 2000, and yet, the Guttmacher Institute estimates that 18 states require the clinician providing a medication abortion to be physically present during the procedure, meaning that medication abortion can’t be prescribed through telemedicine for patients who might not live near a health care provider.
- Medicaid coverage for abortion varies state-by-state. 34 states plus Washington, D.C. restrict abortion funding for Medicaid patients, putting the burden of paying for the procedure and other related costs on women with some of the lowest incomes. Consequently, 1 in 4 poor women is forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.
- TRAP laws (targeted regulation of abortion providers) are gaining traction as a tactic to further restrict access to abortion. 27 states now have TRAP laws, which create unnecessary requirements, such as waiting periods and state-mandated ultrasounds.
What You Can Do Right Now:What You Can Do Right Now:
- Take action: Congress must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to provide safe, affordable abortions nationwide. Call your representative and ask them to support this legislation.
- Donate: If you’re able, consider donating to an organization that’s focused on creating more equity in reproductive care for marginalized women. We follow Sister Song, Black Women for Wellness, and Black Women’s Health Imperative.
- Learn: Whether you’re looking to learn more about these issues or to deepen your education, there are countless resources. We like rePros Fight Back, a podcast that breaks down the issues at large and how to take action, Guttmacher Institute for its depth of research, and the Center for Reproductive Rights for its policy analysis.
- Black Women and Reproductive Health Fact Sheet, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
- Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, Guttmacher Institute
- Medication Abortion, Guttmacher Institute
- Medicaid Funding of Abortion, Guttmacher Institute
- Statement from Power to Decide on Supreme Court Striking Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions, Power to Decide