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Black women denounce wholesale attack on human and civil rights

Statement by In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell issued this statement in response:

“As promised by the leaked Alito draft, the highest court in the land struck a devastating blow against women’s civil and human rights. In overturning Roe v. Wade, the court eliminated any pretense that women are equal under the law. They have made clear that the founding fathers’ declaration the right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ did not — and does not — include women or birthing people.

“Black women and birthing people will continue to be disparately impacted by attacks on our reproductive health. Eliminating abortion rights in many states will be an inconvenience for women and birthing people of means — mostly white — who will be able to afford the high cost of accessing safe abortion. Many Black women and birthing people will lose all access — for them, the cost may be their health, lives or livelihood.

“Today, the conservative, activist justices of the Supreme Court have turned their backs on justice and reimposed the greatest injustice of my lifetime: the declaration that women’s bodies — especially Black women’s bodies — are under the complete control of the state. When combined with the court’s attacks on voting rights, the future is bleak.

“Black people already face the multiple oppressions. Our children are routinely imprisoned or murdered by those who are supposed to protect us; our neighborhoods are denied access to clean air, clean water, fresh food and safe housing; our basic health needs are denied, as we are forced to seek care from a system riddled with racism; and our right to vote, allowing us to change this system, is increasingly denied.

“The intersection of racial and sexual oppression is not new. For Black women, the fight for reproductive rights has always been about more than abortion and birth control; it is, and always has been, about having control over our own bodies. For us, achieving Reproductive Justice means having the power and resources to live and raise our families with dignity in a safe and healthy environment. Reproductive Justice means the human right to control our bodies, our work, our community, our gender and our reproduction without government’s oppressive interference.”

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