Activists vow to ‘fight back’ for Black women after Texas ruling on emergency abortions

Planned Parenthood is blasting a federal appeals court for handing down a decision that allows the state of Texas to ban emergency abortions, which could have a disproportionate impact on Black and brown women.

“It has never been clearer that we should take anti-abortion lawmakers and their allies at their word,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, in a statement to theGrio. “They want to ban abortion entirely. Even in situations where abortion is life-saving or stabilizing care.”

Pro-choice activists protest during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade May 3, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

McGill Johnson said Planned Parenthood will “fight back every step of the way” as anti-abortion politicians and advocates “continue their quest for power and control over people’s bodies.”

She continued, “Patients and doctors should be making these decisions — not agenda-driven politicians with no medical expertise.”

U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, told theGrio, “These radical reforms, as it relates to abortion in general, have always disproportionately impacted Black and brown women.”

“We know the maternal mortality rate in this nation has always been higher for Black and brown women,” said the freshman congresswoman. “So now you’re talking about when women are in emergencies, which we find they tend to face due to their lower socioeconomic background.”

Crockett said through its ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is “denying women healthcare access and therefore putting their lives in danger.” 

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel barred the Biden-Harris administration from enforcing the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986 in Texas, where abortion is completely outlawed. The 1986 law makes it mandatory for doctors to provide abortions to pregnant women whose lives are in danger due to pregnancy.

The administration issued the federal guidance last year, citing that federal law usurps state law after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. That court’s ruling granted states the authority to enact their own abortion laws.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas,
UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, speaks during a news conference with newly elected incoming members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus at the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, November 13, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Following the controversial ruling, numerous state Republican leaders enacted strict abortion bans in states like Texas, Florida, Idaho, Alabama, and Georgia. Reproductive health advocates have since raised the alarm that abortion bans disproportionately harm women in minority communities.

The Biden-Harris administration issued federal guidance in 2022 to help pregnant women who live in states with strict abortion laws and who may face medical emergencies.

However, anti-abortionists and the state of Texas banded together and filed a lawsuit against the Biden-Harris administration in opposition to the enforcement of the federal law. The administration lost the case and then filed an appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals before the court’s ultimate ruling to uphold the decision.

Aurelie Colón-Larrauri, Florida state policy advocate for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, previously told theGrio that “bans on abortion care harm our communities and families and do nothing to protect anyone’s health or safety.”

“We know the impact will fall hardest on…communities of color,” she said.

Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel at ACLU, previously told theGrio that “anti-abortion bans particularly target Black and Latinx people.”

Planned Parenthood and Los Angeles County leaders hold a news conference to respond to a Texas judge’s ruling to rescind the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for mifepristone, a drug that blocks a hormone called progesterone that is needed for a pregnancy to continue, in Los Angeles on April 10, 2023. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“There is a systemic racial bias and prejudice without our healthcare system, regardless of socioeconomic status,” said Gross. “We know that Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth or post-birthing complications.”

Planned Parenthood and other reproductive organizations said that they will continue to fight on behalf of Texans who are vulnerable to the state’s abortion ban.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have also promised to protect pregnant women who are living in other states outlawing abortion procedures.

During the one-year mark of the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters, “Democrats believe in a woman’s freedom to make her own reproductive health care decisions.”

He added, “Republicans want to criminalize abortion care and impose a nationwide ban, and we’re going to stop that from happening.”

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Planned Parenthood is criticizing a federal appeals court decision that allows Texas to ban emergency abortions, which disproportionately affects Black and brown women. The organization’s CEO stated that anti-abortion lawmakers want to ban abortion entirely, even in life-saving situations. Meanwhile, pro-choice activists are protesting the leaked Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In response to this ruling, Planned Parenthood and other organizations are vowing to fight back and advocate for women’s healthcare access. The court’s decision comes after the Biden-Harris administration issued federal guidance to help pregnant women in states with strict abortion laws navigate medical emergencies. Nonetheless, numerous state Republican leaders have enacted strict abortion bans, which disproportionately harm women in minority communities. Anti-abortionists and Texas filed a lawsuit against the federal law, leading to a controversial ruling. Leaders from Planned Parenthood and governmental officials are promising to protect pregnant women living in states where abortion procedures are outlawed. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are also promising to protect a woman’s freedom to make her own reproductive health care decisions and prevent a nationwide abortion ban.

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