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Overturning Roe: State leaders worry for potential impact on Black women, low-income Hoosiers

The CDC reports maternal mortality rates in Black women are three times higher than white women.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's Black Legislative Caucus says they're concerned about the negative impact an abortion ban could have on Indiana's communities of color.

"It's not a good day for women at all. And we should all be concerned. As a minority woman for the minority community and for low-income individuals, it is not a good day," said State Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-District 94. 

As the Supreme Court overturns the constitutional right to abortion that it's held for a half-century, its impact on women here in Indiana will be huge.

Pryor said she believes Friday's decision will negatively impact Black women and women with low incomes even further.

"I think it absolutely will. And in low-income women as well who are already struggling and now, they're taking one option away from them," Pryor said. 

Globally, data from the Commonwealth Fund finds the maternal mortality rate is increasing in the United States, with the U.S. ranking worst among developed nations. The CDC reports maternal mortality rates in Black women are three times higher than white women.

Indiana already ranks poorly for women, where the maternal mortality rate among Hoosiers is twice the U.S. rate and the majority of those deaths are preventable.

Pryor said more must be done.

"As a legislature, we've continued to chip away on abortion and adding on restrictions, but we have not invested in trying to make situations better for women so that they don't get pregnant, providing adequate birth control, providing resources to women," Pryor said. 

The decision whether to ban abortions in Indiana will be made by mostly white men and many low-income women here in Indiana won't be able to afford to travel out of state for an abortion. If and when lawmakers do outlaw abortion in Indiana, Pryor said they need to step up funding for childcare, prenatal care, diapers, formula and more.

"So it's very concerning to me," Pryor said. "And if we're going to force women into these situations, then those individuals need to put their money where their mouth is."

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