Losing legal abortion options may hurt marginalized groups, some worry

Concerns are growing over the loss of abortion rights and how it may impact marginalized groups.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 11:03 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Concerns are growing over the loss of abortion rights and how it may impact marginalized groups, after a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion suggests Roe v. Wade may be overturned.

“Safe abortions will always be accessible to the wealthy,” U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, wrote in a statement. “This ruling would take away bodily autonomy from so many, particularly affecting minority and low-income communities.”

If Roe is overturned, Shannon Barry, executive director of Madison’s Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), said she expects some women to travel to states or countries where abortion is legal. They will be women who can afford it.

There may also be women who cannot afford to travel and get legal abortion procedures.

A majority of DAIS clients fall at or below half of Dane County’s annual median income, Barry said.

“We’re going to see particularly folks who are already marginalized, further marginalized, further impoverished, because of the fact that they will be forced to carry children to term that maybe they can’t financially support. I think that we might see more children in poverty in this country and in states where abortion is illegal.”

The leak was a draft of a Supreme Court opinion, and no decision has been handed down.

Roe made Wisconsin’s 1849 law banning abortions unenforceable. If Roe is overturned, state law would take effect, making performing abortions a crime.

“Victims of intimate partner violence may select an abortion in order to not remain tethered to someone who is trying to control them,” Barry said.

Barry considered what would happen without legal abortion options: “This removes a tool that somebody might have in terms of their autonomy and their ability to control their own their own health care and their life’s trajectory.”

Even if Roe is overturned, Barry said DAIS will continue to offer pregnancy options to clients, depending on what they want. This may mean offering them pregnancy support services, as well as options for abortion in states where it is legal.

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