The main storyline on reproductive rights for months now has been this: Men, many of them conservative, have moved to curtail access to legal abortion and even ban it, imposing their will upon women. The truth, however, is more complicated, NBC News reports.
White women have joined men, mostly but not exclusively in the Deep South, in using their conservative majorities in multiple state legislatures to make sweeping changes to abortion policies this year.
Those laws that survive legal challenges will most deeply affect women too poor to travel or move to a state with better access to abortion services. That’s a group that is disproportionately black and Latino — and, in the case of black women, a group that tends to support access to legal abortion. This gap between those making the decisions and those affected by them, experts say, is a dynamic with deep roots in American history.
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The role of white women — long key players in dictating and constraining the reproductive choices of others — is too often discounted and overlooked, experts say. In 2019, new abortion restrictions were passed in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana after white women co-sponsored them, many voted for them and in one state, signed the changes into law.