How the Overturning of Roe vs. Wade will affect People Experiencing Homelessness
On June 24, 2022, in the middle of Breaktime’s Launchpad graduation, a shadow fell over our office, as the graduation audience looked down at the notification on their phones. “Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade in seismic shift for abortion rights”, a CBS headline read. Quickly, quiet chatter crept over the room, as people nervously began to wonder what would change. In the following hours, with civil disobedience occurring in cities across the country, millions of Americans asked the same questions.
Sources estimate at least 20 of the United States’s 50 states intend to limit people with uteruses’ access to abortions, with many making the procedure nearly impossible to access. This ruling will affect millions of Americans, but it will especially affect people from low income communities, for whom access to medical care is already uncertain.
With nearly half of people seeking abortions being from lower-income communities, and up to 20% of people seeking abortions in urban centers being people who are experiencing homelessness, access to this essential medial treatment can be made even more tenuous.
For these people and others, abortions were inaccessible even before the landmark reversal of Roe vs. Wade this past week. Abortions, especially in later-term pregnancies, can be costly, and Medicaid seldom covers these expenses, meaning that individuals have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to access necessary health services.
With the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, access to abortions will become even more tenuous. As states restrict abortion access or ban them completely, individuals will be left with few other choices but to travel to adjacent states in search of healthcare. For all people seeking abortions, this process will be taxing, but for people experiencing the most severe socioeconomic disadvantages, this expectation is fully unreasonable. Moreover, people seeking abortions might even attempt to complete the process independent from medical providers or without medically approved methods, which can be fatal to those who attempt them.
The revoking of universal rights to abortion will further marginalize people who face the brunt of disparities and discrimination in our country, going against the egalitarianism truly set forth in our Constitution. Compounding the effects of systemic racism, this decision will only worsen the extent to which Black and Brown people face discrimination in healthcare. With Black people being three times as likely to experience complications while giving birth and fewer options to avoid having children, the effects will be dire. And the attempts of people experiencing homelessness to access abortion—especially those who are memebrs of the BIPOC community—are sure to be met with disproportionately adverse outcomes. The ruling clearly represents efforts from a less-affected majority to further control the lives and bodies of people whose rights are consistently challenged, marking the renewal of White Supremacy’s firm grip on our national identity.
In that room, we feared what would come next. And sure, the future is grim, but joining together, we can fight this injustice, making our world a better place. Who’s with us?
Community Resources for Abortion Access:
Donation: consider funding one of these ten organizations, or use the information in the article to find a local fund that supports women in your local community
Exercise your constitutional rights and vote
Engage in Civil Disobedience in your local community, joining together to make your voices heard
Urge bosses and institutions to ensure access to abortions for their constituents
Support and rally behind people who are punished while seeking an abortion
Volunteer with various organizations, such as Planned Parenthood or a similar local group