Yesterday, Legal Voice, on behalf of 13 other organizations, submitted an amicus brief (find out more about amicus briefs here) in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which the U.S. Supreme Court will hear on December 1, 2021. This case, which involves a challenge to a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks, is a direct attack on Roe v. Wade.
Legal Voice’s brief focuses on the very real threat that this abortion ban would pose to survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV)—especially to survivors from Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color (BIPOC). IPV affects nearly one third of women in the United States. Survivors from BIPOC communities are particularly vulnerable to IPC as they live at the intersection of multiple forms of state-sanctioned oppression based on race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration, and socioeconomic status. As difficult as it is for survivors of IPV both to escape abusive relationships and exercise their reproductive autonomy, systemic inequities in access to healthcare, employment, housing, education and many other resources necessary to secure the basic necessities of living make it even more challenging for survivors of color.The less support survivors have, the easier it is for abusers to exert control over them. What exactly does this look like?
4 in 10 Black and Native American Women will be raped, physically assaulted, or stalked by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
1 in 2 multiracial women will be raped, physically assaulted, or stalked by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Survivors of IPV are also more likely to be forced into unintended pregnancies, to need abortions, and risk being trapped in violent relationships if they are unable to access abortion care. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also undermined access to reproductive health care, particularly for BIPOC communities, increasing the risk of unintended pregnancy, as well as the risk associated with carrying an unintended pregnancy to term.
The law requires that the Supreme Court consider the impact the 15-week ban will have on all pregnant people -- not just the privileged few. If upheld, this ban will compound the control that abusers already exert over survivors. It will force a significant number of pregnant people to carry their pregnancies to term against their will, at great risk to their health and safety. Others will be forced to resort to unsafe methods, or to self-manage their abortions without the benefit of medical assistance.
To be clear—no state ban will eliminate abortion. It will only serve to make abortion less safe, especially for BIPOC communities.
We are proud to be in community with the following organizations who joined Legal Voice in submitting this amicus brief:
The constant attack on our rights is unacceptable. We are in this fight alongside you. Your support drives and motivates us when things get tough. Thank you for staying by our side all these years. In community, we will achieve liberation for all of us.