Black women call on Supreme Court to uphold Reproductive Justice

Amicus brief outlines devastating consequences for women of color, lesbian and transgender Louisianans

On December 2, 2019, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda joined partner organization Women With a Vision and other reproductive justice advocates from across the nation in filing an amicus brief in June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee, which challenges Louisiana’s law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. If allowed to take effect, Louisiana’s Act 620 would leave only one doctor to provide abortion care in the entire state. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda founder and President, Marcela Howell, issued the following statement:

“Black women are strong, resilient and ready to fight against this latest attack on our most basic human right to reproductive autonomy. We saw the writing on the wall with Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s egregious nomination and angry confirmation hearing — our civil rights are up for debate by lawmakers more interested in defending white, male patriarchy than protecting women of color and the LGBTQ+ communities’ health and safety.

“Reproductive Justice demands that we have the right to control our bodies, our sexuality, our gender, our work and our reproduction. Systemic racism and sexism have presented enormous barriers for Black women, femmes, queer, trans and gender non-conforming people, and youth to safe, affordable healthcare access. As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a case already decided with Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt three years ago, we call on the justices to uphold precedent and protect the right to abortion for all Louisianans.”

About the case:
June Medical Services sued the state of Louisiana to challenge the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that requires doctors providing abortions in the state to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the place where the doctor provides abortion care. The federal district court ruled for the abortion providers, finding that the law is unconstitutional, however, the federal appeals court reversed, finding that the law is constitutional. The Supreme Court subsequently granted June Medical Services’ request to review the Louisiana law, with oral arguments scheduled on March 4, 2020. As noted in the amici filed before the court:

“Act 620 will impose on marginalized populations in Louisiana, who ‒ because of structural racism, discrimination and economic disadvantage, among other factors ‒ have been denied access to necessary reproductive healthcare services. These communities already experience disproportionately high maternal mortality rates and other adverse reproductive health outcomes. Act 620 will effectively cut off access to abortion services and related health services in Louisiana for marginalized populations in violation of their human rights.”
To read the Amicus brief in its entirety, see:
https://reproductiverights.org/sites/default/files/documents/Reproductive%20Justice%20Advocates.pdf

For the latest updates on the case, visit:
https://myrightmydecision.org/about-the-case/

In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national reproductive justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels in our ongoing policy fight to secure reproductive justice for all women and girls. Our eight strategic partners include Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc., SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center and Women With A Vision.