New Abortion Ban Lawsuit Places Black Georgians Squarely at the Center of the Fight

Sister Song Plaintiff in Atlanta Abortion Lawsuit ACLU Lawsuit-3.jpg

New Abortion Ban Lawsuit Places Black Georgians Squarely at the Center of the Fight

A new lawsuit filed last week could eventually force the U.S. Supreme Court to examine how laws that attack abortion access disproportionately affect Black women and other women of color.

Centering the conversation on some of the state’s most vulnerable people was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU’s) motivation for naming SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging HB 481, Georgia’s six-week abortion ban.

“I think the ACLU was very intentional,” Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong, told me in an interview. “The way that they wanted to approach this particular lawsuit was to make sure it was rooted in reproductive justice.”

Reproductive justice centers “three interconnected human rights values: the right not to have children using safe birth control, abortion, or abstinence; the right to have children under the conditions we choose; and the right to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments.” Black women coined the term in 1994.

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Delaware has the highest unintended pregnancy rate in the country — 62 per every 1,000 women between 15 and 44. Fifty-seven percent of the pregnancies in the state are unintentional.

"I used to understand birth control as a way to prevent abortion," Delaware Gov. Jack Markell told me in a recent interview. "That's true, but now I have a different way of looking at it. This is really an issue about opportunity, and the opportunities women get when they have children when they want to."

The Delaware and Upstream partnership is how the mechanical vagina— and a team of Upstream staff members — ended up traveling to the Life Health Center in Wilmington.

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