Media Availability: 40 Years After Roe v. Wade

Jan 15, 2013, 15:15 ET from Ms. Foundation for Women

Women of Color Gain Electoral Influence, Lose Access to Health Care

NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Anika Rahman is available for comment on the diminishing access to reproductive health care that women of color are experiencing 40 years after women were guaranteed the right to abortion.


In the same week as the United States again inaugurates President Obama – whose path to victory was made possible in large part due to support from voters of color, particularly women – we also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case guaranteeing the right to abortion – a right greatly diminished by restrictions that disproportionately impact women of color.

By 2050, people of color are predicted to constitute the majority of the population. Yet, due to high rates of poverty and historical disenfranchisement, women of color often face the most onerous barriers to reproductive health care.

Bottom Line:

While women of color are growing in electoral influence, their access to reproductive health care is diminishing.

Historical perspective:

Forty years ago, the United States was increasing access to reproductive health and services:

1965 Griswold v. Connecticut – granted married couples the right to use contraception
1972 Eisenstadt v. Baird – granted unmarried couples the right to use contraception
1973 Roe v. Wade – guaranteed the right to abortion

Today, the tide has turned, with restrictions to reproductive rights increasing:

2011 – The highest number of abortion restrictions enacted

2012 – The second-highest number of abortion restrictions enacted

How are women of color most affected?

Higher rates of poverty in communities of color jeopardize the ability of women to access the full range of reproductive health care services. To receive care, women often must take time off work, secure child care and travel to the health center, sometimes far distances. Onerous restrictions such as waiting periods require that women make multiple trips to the health centers, increasing the lost wages from missed work, child care fees and travel costs.

Insurance and public funding bans on abortion further cause delays to equal access, as women struggle to save up enough money for their health care services.

How is the Ms. Foundation for Women addressing these needs?

The Ms. Foundation was among the first to recognize the need for a diverse and inclusive women's movement. With the changing demographics of the nation, more attention must be focused on the reproductive health care needs of women of color.

Ms. works closely with grantees like:

  • California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, which successfully fought for the removal of a racist, sexist, anti-abortion billboard campaign targeting Latinas.
  • National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, whose testimony helped block PRENDA, an anti-abortion, sex- and race-selection bill before Congress.
  • Young Women United, a community organization led by and for young women of color that has advanced access to comprehensive sex education at state and local levels in New Mexico.
  • Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, which promotes the policy priorities and perspectives of Latinas on reproductive rights and health, and has led Colorado's only Spanish-language campaigns to defeat fetal personhood and other restrictive ballot initiatives.

What can Ms. Foundation President and CEO Anika Rahman speak about?

  • How women of color are disproportionately impacted by restrictions on reproductive health
  • What types of restrictions women are facing
  • The disparities in access among women
  • Why the women's movement must become more inclusive
  • The power women are wielding to fight back against attacks on reproductive health, like Komen's initial defunding of Planned Parenthood
  • The Ms. Foundation's special commitment to building the power of low-income, immigrant and women of color to effect change

The Ms. Foundation for Women fights to eliminate barriers for every woman in the U.S. For 40 years, we have worked tirelessly to secure women's rights and freedoms with a special commitment to building the power of low-income, immigrant and women of color. At our core, we are advocates giving a voice to women to elevate their most pressing issues. We're continually investing funds, time, expertise and training in more than 100 trailblazing organizations nationwide to secure a better future for ourselves, our families and our communities.

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SOURCE Ms. Foundation for Women