House

Black Caucus chair warns of ‘devastating’ impacts on communities of color if Roe overturned

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) is seen during the enrollment ceremony of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
Greg Nash

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is warning of “devastating” impacts on communities of color if Roe v. Wade is overturned after a leaked draft ruling from the Supreme Court showed that the bench has voted to overturn the nearly 50-year-old precedent.

The comment came after Politico Monday night published a draft majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, that overturned the rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey protecting abortion rights.

“If, in fact, this opinion is issued, it will fundamentally change us as a nation. Overturning Roe v. Wade will have disproportionately devastating impacts on communities of color, marginalized groups already facing discriminatory obstacles to health care, and will resonate globally. Elections have consequences,” Beatty wrote in a statement.

The topic of abortion rights has dominated headlines since Politico published its bombshell report. The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the draft ruling was “authentic” but emphasized that “it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

Chief Justice John Roberts said he has directed the marshal of the court to investigate the source of the leak.

Members of the Black Caucus — as well as Democrats at all levels — are now speaking out about the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned, asserting that the move will disproportionately affect women of color.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), the chair of the Abortion Rights and Access Taskforce of the Pro-Choice Caucus, said in a statement that “our most vulnerable communities will bear the disproportionate brunt of any decision restrict and deny access to abortion care,” specifically pointing to Black, brown, Indigenous, LGBTQ and low-income individuals.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) in a statement said, “Is there any doubt that this majority right-wing Supreme Court is poised to finalize a decision that will be devastating to poor women, and minority women in particular?”

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) in a statement wrote that the draft ruling is “a devastating attack on women’s rights,” and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, separately said in a statement that “if accurate, this decision will deal a shattering blow to millions, especially low-income people and women of color.”

Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) sounded a similar note, writing in a statement, “Overturning Roe v. Wade will set women’s rights back generations,” adding, “The impact of this unjust decision will be felt especially by Black women, low-income women, and rural communities.”

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) in a statement said, “Black and Brown women in particular will shoulder the burden of abortion bans across this country, as they face more barriers to access the means and services to receive the reproductive health care they need.”

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) said the Supreme Court’s ruling, if it remains the same as the draft, will not put an end to abortions, but instead put Americans at “unspeakable risk” — especially women of color.

“Make no mistake, this ruling will not stop abortions, it will only put women — particularly Black and low-income women — at unspeakable risk and further limit the opportunities available to women of color, adversely affecting the lives of millions for generations to come,” Wilson said in a statement.

Tags Abortion abortion rights Ayanna Pressley Barbara Lee Congressional Black Caucus John Roberts Joyce Beatty Roe Roe v. Wade Samuel Alito

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