Ongoing attacks on Black voting rights keep Black women on the wrong end of health disparities. Policy change and organizing can shift that.
Black women face extensive health disparities like higher rates of infant and maternal mortality, breast cancer, fibroids, intimate partner violence, and other sexually transmitted infections. Many factors contribute to those disparities, from barriers in healthcare service to the systemic racism that pervades the healthcare industry.
That’s why Black women have consistently petitioned U.S. policymakers to affirm our human rights by implementing policies that enable us to achieve optimum mental, physical, and economic health. However, our demands too often are unheeded. I submit that’s largely because our political power is undermined by the ongoing attacks on Black voting rights.
Fight the power
Black women and communities continue to face mounting challenges to our voting rights, including the threat of violent voter intimidation, gerrymandering, unfair voter ID laws, and purging African Americans and other people of color from the voting rolls.
According to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice, between Jan. 1, 2021 and Sept. 12, 2022, at least 21 states enacted 42 laws restricting access to voting. Thirty-three restrictive laws were in effect in 20 states for the 2022 midterms.
The best way to protect Black women’s health is to protect our voting rights. When we are able to cast our votes and have them counted, we will be able to implement policies that remediate the health disparities we face.