Roe v. Wade and Immigration Women

Roe v. Wade is a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that is the cornerstone of women’s right to choose about their pregnancies and gives them access to abortion freely without many restrictions.

This landmark was taken during the trial of Norma McCorvey, legally known as “Jane Roe”, who in 1969 initiated legal proceedings against the state of Texas for her right to abort.

However, on May 2, 2022, a brief by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to the press in which the Supreme Court considered annulling Roe V. Wade due to the decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that is pending. It has been confirmed that the document is true, and although there is still a month before its publication, alarms have been raised in many sectors of the population.

The annulment of Roe v. Wade would mean the annulment of the right to abortion at the federal level and would imply a return to situations of danger for pregnant women who for various reasons wish to end their gestations.

But, how would this decision affect immigrant women?

There are more than 23 million female immigrants in the United States today, most of them do not have access to any health program, and do not have the means to pay for it. Migrants who come from countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, or Mexico have little education and jobs with lower salaries compared to other social groups. This implies that they have less knowledge of family planning and access to contraceptive methods.

The female immigrant is also at higher risk of being a victim of sex trafficking, domestic violence, and rape.

Despite being such a vulnerable social group, immigrant women have had various difficulties in accessing legal and safe abortion within the US. Recently, the Trump administration limited the access of undocumented women to law programs that allowed them access to health programs and parental control, under the precept of “public charge”, even preventing the possibility of obtaining a green card if they requested these medical processes.

It is important for the state to guarantee the safety and rights of thousands of immigrant women who, due to their situation, are a vulnerable population, and are more likely to perform clandestine abortions that put their lives at risk.