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How Roe’s End Will Affect Women of Color in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas — Later this summer, abortion will officially end in Texas. And when it does, women of color will continue to face greater barriers to accessing health care than white women. Rep. Donna Howard, (D) Texas House District 48, described the impending abortion ban in a nutshell.

“Devastating,” she says. “That makes half of our population, women, less than. We will not have the same autonomy over our own bodies, the same ability to determine our own destiny that sperm donors have and always have had. So it’s devastating on many levels.

Rep. Howard says the Texas abortion ban will affect women of color the most.

“You’ll have more people…bringing their pregnancies to term,” Rep. Howard said. “And that can be deadly for all women, but especially women of color. We have one of the highest maternal morbidity and mortality rates in the country and in the developed world. And it affects women of color at a significantly higher rate.

Researchers at Demographic Reference Bureau found that the maternal mortality rate among black women is more than three times that of white women. And the research of Kaiser Family Foundation shows that in 2019, Hispanic women received 39% of legal abortions in Texas. Black women had 28% and white women had the least at 26%.

“If you again have limited means, which in our state is more women of color, and you don’t have access to those facilities, you don’t have health care coverage…then you won’t have the same access to contraceptives,” Rep. Howard said. “Obviously, this is absolutely important in preventing unwanted pregnancies. So one of the reasons more women of color are getting abortions is because they don’t have access to contraceptives in the first place.

Dr. Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, says more abortions by women of color are affecting the population.

“We mourn because so far the vast majority of women in Texas are women of color who are having abortions,” Dr. Pojman said. “And we think it’s a failure that women of color, their babies are lost to abortion. This means that black, Hispanic and other populations are not growing up as they should, and these children [are not] to be born and become great citizens of Texas. So we’re very happy that these babies are protected and we’re very proud of what the state of Texas is doing to help low-income women, regardless of ethnicity, give birth to these children and keep these babies. or place these babies for adoption.

Dr. Pojman also said Texas helps women of color through its Alternatives to abortion program. Legislatures allocated $100 million for the program in the last legislative session.

Kyleen Wright, president of Texans for Life, says she expects the money to run out before the end of the year. But she and other anti-abortion groups will advocate for more money when the new legislative session begins in January.

“We’re able to partner, even outside of the pro-life network, to help these women, and it’s already happening,” Wright said. “It’s been a very long time, even in communities of people of color. Many pregnancy centers have bilingual staff because we serve so many Hispanic mothers. So that’s not a problem. »

She said the goal of the anti-abortion movement is to help all mothers.

But Rep. Howard says the Alternatives to Abortion program is “unregulated,” has “no metrics,” and doesn’t provide medical care. She also said the program spends a good deal of its time handing out pamphlets.

Caring for an influx of new mothers and babies in Texas will take a lot of money. Rep. Howard says that according to a comptroller’s report, the state will have a surplus of about $12 billion in the next session’s budget.

“It will not be a problem of lack of funding. It’s going to be us putting our money where our mouths are and pointing out what we really value here. We have the funds. We don’t currently fully fund these programs, and that’s a fact,” Rep. Howard said. “If we say we value life, mothers and babies, then let’s make sure we pay to cover their health care.”

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