News

Black Maternal Health Amicus Brief Filed in the Supreme Court of the United States in Response to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Clinic

September 22, 2021

For Media Inquiries Contact:
Dawn Godbolt, PhD, Policy Director
703-869-7878
dgodbolt@birthequity.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Black Maternal Health Amicus Brief Filed in the Supreme Court of the United States
in Response to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Clinic

Washington, DC — September 21, 2021 — National Birth Equity Collaborative Founder and President Dr. Joia Crear-Perry is excited to announce the organization served as the lead amici on a first-of-its-kind maternal health brief in an abortion rights case. NBEC, alongside maternal health experts, reproductive justice advocates, and the law firm Covington & Burling LLP filed an amicus brief to defend access to abortion in support of the respondents, Jackson Women’s Health Clinic — the only abortion provider in Mississippi.

The case challenges a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This is the first direct threat to the historic case Roe vs. Wade, which is even direr given the current composition of the Supreme Court. On December 1st, the Court will hear arguments to consider the constitutionality of pre-viability prohibitions on abortion.

The brief highlights the impact that abortion restrictions can and will have on people with the capacity for pregnancy, particularly Black women. Abortion restrictions are not about protecting Black women’s health. In fact, states that enact the most harmful abortion restrictions fail to pass policies that we know would support people who want to form and grow families. We also know that Black women have had their reproduction suppressed and controlled since this country’s inception. Addressing that legacy of reproductive coercion and eugenics does not require and must not justify further eroding Black women’s reproductive autonomy through increased state control/abortion restrictions.

Individual states should not have the right to ban or end the legal right to abortion. The right to make birthing outcome decisions is personal, and it is a shame the state of Mississippi has made it political.

“Black women in particular, who continue to experience the effects of racially-motivated policies and practices that impact their maternal health, must have the right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy to term. Because Mississippi’s ban and others like it would deprive pregnant persons of autonomy and harm maternal health, the Court should rule against Mississippi in this case.“

Pregnant persons must have the autonomy to decide what type of reproductive health care — including abortion care — is best for them and their families. Such autonomy is essential to maternal health. The National Birth Equity Collaborative will continue to fight for equitable access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion.

To read the full brief, click here.

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The National Birth Equity Collaborative creates solutions that optimize Black maternal and infant health through training, policy advocacy, research and community-centered collaboration. For additional information, visit birthequity.org.