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My Body, No Choice: The Access to Legal and Safe Abortions for Immigrant Women in a Post-Roe Era

2022 / No. 1
Digital Edition

My Body, No Choice: The Access to Legal and Safe Abortions
for Immigrant Women in a Post-Roe Era

Eva J.D. van Malsen

Master student Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism at Utrecht University, the Netherlands

The overturning of Roe v. Wade marked a historical setback in the reproductive rights of American women, and led to major concerns about immigrant women specifically: a group that has historically dealt with sexual and reproductive health inequalities. It is, therefore, crucial to assess the current state of abortion access for immigrant women in the post-Roe era. This paper aims to answer the research question ‘What are possible barriers in accessing abortion procedures amongst (undocumented) immigrant women in the United States, and what are possible consequences of the inability to do so?’ by reviewing existing literature and news articles. This paper shows that barriers include insufficient health care and benefits regulations, discrimination, travel and cost-related concerns, and poor knowledge of the health care system. These barriers can have negative effects on long-term finances, criminalization, safety, and social, physical and psychological health. Overall, undocumented immigrant women are particularly vulnerable. This paper is concluded by recommendations to support immigrant women in the future.

* Written for the European Law & Governance School & European Public Law Organization, Migration Summer School 2022, Dr. Theodoros Fouskas, September 16, 2022

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