On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that had protected the constitutional right to abortion for 50 years.
As we commemorate the 51st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Black Women for Wellness (BWW) and Black Women for Wellness Action Project (BWWAP) reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the fight for reproductive justice, particularly for Black women and all birthing people.
The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — which shifted the decision of access to a safe and legal abortion to the states — has cast a shadow on reproductive freedoms, putting at risk the ability of women and birthing people to make personal, private decisions about their bodies and pregnancies.
This move disproportionately impacts Black women, who already face significant barriers in accessing reproductive healthcare, including abortion. Creating laws that criminalize women and pregnant people will impact Black people more so than others. We are aware that practicing self determination and having autonomy over our bodies as Black people has long been problematic in this country.
It is essential to recognize that access to the full spectrum of reproductive and sexual health care is critical for our community. Black birthing people deserve the autonomy to decide whether or not to continue a pregnancy and should have access to the necessary care and resources without coercion or shame.
We firmly believe that all women, regardless of income or location, should have the right to choose free from oppressive restrictions. BWW also recognizes the impact of unwanted pregnancies, on families, on financial and housing stability, on education and employment — all reasons for us to stand up to draconian antiquated beliefs that prohibit access to basic health care that supports autonomy.
The United States currently faces alarming statistics, with the highest maternal death rate rate among developed countries. Black women, in particular, are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than any other race. Forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies can have deadly consequences, particularly for Black women.
Our promise as Black Women for Wellness is unwavering:
- We will continue the critical work for reproductive justice, fighting for access to affordable, safe, and legal abortions for all women / pregnant people — no matter where they live, who they are, or how much money they have or do not have.
- We will continue to work with unyielding determination to secure the basic human right of control, autonomy, and self-determination over one’s own life.
- Black Women for Wellness, along with our sister organization Black Women for Wellness Action Project, will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder to advance the reproductive justice movement because we know we can’t back down, our lives are on the line and too much is at stake.
Gabrielle Brown, who serves as the Program Coordinator for the Maternal and Infant Health program at Black Women for Wellness, reminds us:
“The right to choose is not just a women’s issue — it’s a human rights issue. Men and women alike should stand together to protect the autonomy of individuals over their own bodies. Overturning Roe v. Wade has set a dangerous precedent, signaling a regression in our commitment to individual liberties and human rights. We must continue to work towards a future where reproductive rights are upheld, and the right to choose remains a fundamental aspect of our values.”
As Onyemma Obiekea, Policy Director for BWW and BWWAP, points out:
“While Roe did not guarantee equitable access to abortion care for all who needed it, it established a foundational right to a critical component of reproductive healthcare, transforming the lives of many.”
“Roe represents what is possible and today, we reflect with hope on the opportunity to build something better. Something grounded in reproductive justice, that contemplates our basic human dignity and centers equity,” Obiekea says. “It took nearly 50 years to dismantle a critically important constitutional right and we remain resolved in our fight to realize a reproductive justice future.”
As we mark the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, let it serve as a reminder of the work that remains to be done. Black Women for Wellness will continue to be at the forefront of the intersectional reproductive justice movement, and that is our promise to you.
Black Women for Wellness founder and executive director Janette Robinson Flint affirms, “Policies that restrict our rights and deny our humanity will be fought with vigor. Laws that violate basic truths, access to health care and create elite classes among humans will be protested and challenged.”
“Black Women for Wellness (BWW) exists to lift the voices, experiences, wisdom and lives of Black women and girls, who are most impacted by restrictive laws, denials of basic human rights, limitations of health care access and instabilities caused by unfair and unjust policies,” she adds. “Reproductive justice is a basic human right and on this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we see the impact of its repeal. Our promise We Got You still stands.”
Join us on Sunday, January 28, 2024, for BEYOND ROE: Intersection of Abortion Access, Economic Justice, and Religious Liberty, as we rise against the growing policy-based assault on abortion access. Together with our partners and allies, we will navigate these challenges and advocate for a future where reproductive rights are upheld, and the right to choose remains a fundamental aspect of our values.
Black Women for Wellness / Black Women for Wellness Action Project