United States: the threat of abortion weighs heavily on black women



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Savannah, Georgia.– Elbi, a young black businesswoman in her thirties, based in Savannah, Georgia, is not used to talking about herself. Or her abortion. It was ” not so long ago “, she says. At this time, Elbi is focused on her career. She already has a 12-year-old boy. “Financially, it’s not the right time. » She ” can not [se] afford to have another child”. So when Elbi finds out she’s expecting twins, “His choice is made”.

The problems did not take long. “There were no longer any slots available for abortion in town”, explains the young woman to Mediapart, on the terrace of the coffee shop she has just opened near the historically black district of Cuyler-Brownville. In Savannah, a small town in the conservative Southeast, far from major urban centers like Atlanta, only two clinics still perform abortions. Luckily, “A friend tells her about a clinic in Florida, in Jacksonville, just two hours away by car”. The price is high. Around 700 dollars (650 euros) for an abortion, excluding transport, food and accommodation.

But Elbi does not hesitate for a second. Despite a tight budget, she has the means to travel. She knows that not everyone is so lucky. If the right to abortion were to disappear across the Atlantic, if the Supreme Court were to break in the coming weeks “Roe v. Wade”, the historic judgment which recognized the right to abortion in 1973, the first victims would be the most vulnerable women: very often, in the United States, black women, like Elbi.

An overrepresentation of black women

The figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on health issues, are stark. Although black women make up only 32% of the population in Georgia, they performed 65% of abortions in 2019. Same in other conservative states in the region.

In terms of access to abortion, they are also the ones who have found themselves most in difficulty, according to Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, a non-profit association which financially helps patients in the region to access to an abortion. Of the 10,000 patients who contacted the association between 2017 and 2019, young black women, aged 18 to 34, accounted for 80% of the calls.

The shadow of a woman who came to have an abortion at the “Trust Women” clinic in Oklahoma City, September 23, 2021. © Photo Callaghan O’Hare / The New York Times / Redux / REA

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