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NAACP says abortion ruling will disproportionately affect Black women

Data shows the Black maternal death rate increasing after a full abortion ban is implemented.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is one of many civil rights organizations denouncing the Supreme Court decision to end Roe v. Wade, the landmark case granting a constitutional right to abortion.

Roe v. Wade was enacted in 1973 and its reversal downgrades abortion rights from a federal issue to a local issue for each state to decide how to handle. General counsel for the NAACP Janette McCarthy Wallace said in a statement on behalf of the organization that the decision will disproportionately impact Black women.

“There is no denying the fact that this is a direct attack on all women, and Black women stand to be disproportionately impacted by the court’s egregious assault on basic human rights,” she said.

In 2020, the Black maternal death rate was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

That death toll could increase as a result of Roe’s reversal. A 2021 Duke University research project estimated the potential death toll following a total abortion ban and found a 33 percent increase in Black women who died due to pregnancy-related complications.

Wallace said she is "outraged," both as a legal professional and as a Black woman.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision marks a significant regression of our country,” Wallace said. “As a legal professional, I am horrified by this decision. As a Black woman, I am outraged to my core. The deciding Justices have ignored fundamental civil rights guaranteed by our Constitution and years of judicial precedent to advance a politically partisan agenda."

Wallace said now is the time to fight for eroded rights.

"We must all stand up to have our voices heard in order to protect our nation from the further degradation of civil rights protections we have worked so hard to secure,” she said.

Annual March For Life Rally Winds Through Washington DC
A pro-choice activist holds a sign as she counter-protests in front of the the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2018 March for Life in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

Portia White, Vice President of Policy and Legislative Affairs at the NAACP, said on behalf of the organization the ruling is indicative of a more restrictive path this country is on track to pursue.

Demonstrators Protest Amid Leaked Supreme Court Draft To Overturn Roe V. Wade
Demonstrators during an abortion-rights protest in San Francisco on May 3, 2022. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images

“It is evidently clear at this time that the future of our democracy hangs in the balance. This Supreme Court is turning back the clock to a dangerous era where basic constitutional rights only exist for a select few. They’ve stripped away our right to vote, and now women have lost their right to their own body. What’s next,” she questioned.

 The NAACP's statement ended with a call to action: vote.

 “We cannot allow our future to rest in the hands of those determined to crush every bit of it," White said. "We need to fight back. Just this week, the NAACP and formed an alliance to register and mobilize voters in what will be the most critical midterm election America has ever faced. If you’re not registered to vote, or know someone who isn’t, now is the moment. This is no time for anyone to sit on the sidelines.”

CORRECTION (June 24, 3:20 p.m. ET): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Black maternal death rate was 55 percent in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2020, the Black maternal death rate was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births.