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Post-Roe world could have significant consequences for communities of color

Healthcare providers bracing for ripple effect
Roe Vs. Wade
Posted at 7:35 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 23:15:51-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The potential overturning of Roe v. Wade stands to have an impactful ripple effect, particularly when it comes to communities of color.

KSHB 41 News spoke to three experts, and they tell us they're all worried.

"Limiting access to reproductive health in any form means that we are perpetuating cycles of poverty for lower socioeconomic communities," Dr. Kelsey Ryan, with the KC CARE Health Center, said.

This facility does not provide abortions, but does provide birth control and prenatal care.

Dr. Ryan, the clinical director of women's health and family medicine, sees firsthand how Black and brown communities have enormous hurdles.

"I personally have several patients who are devastated by unintended pregnancies after not being able to get their birth control," she said.

Kansas City Healthy Start works with mothers and their babies to insure long-term health, and they say unintended pregnancy can be another domino in the middle of many.

"These are moms that are experiencing food insecurity, housing instability, homelessness, domestic violence and something as simple as having to decide am I going to make my prenatal appointment or lose my job," Shannon Williams, the program director of Healthy Start said.

If Roe v. Wade is reversed, Williams offered a perspective on what that would look like.

"It looks like exacerbating a system that is already broken," Williams said. "We know that our mothers that are Black and brown are experiencing social determinants at a rate that cannot compare in the system we currently have."

That fallout also includes maternal mental health.

"Additional trauma, we're expecting additional anxiety, we're expecting additional mortality rates, we're expecting additional depression, we're expecting all of this to be directly affected by, again, a person's inability to choose what is best for their health," Rachel Hills, owner and therapist at Maternal Mental Health KC said.

All three agree that the stakes are high.

"If we're asking women in low economic, high crime, difficult life situations already to move through a pregnancy they don't want, we're just throwing gasoline on a fire that's been burning for decades and decades and decades," Hills said.

The Kaiser Family Foundation's most recent data shows that in the United States, 59% of legal abortions in the country were obtained by Black and Hispanic women.

Where those trends go in a post Roe world is uncertain.