The Supreme Court's decision on Friday to strike down its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, ending nearly 50 years of federal abortion rights, came as hundreds of women of color met for an annual conference for legal scholars in Boston.
The Lutie A. Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop draws more than 200 law professors and deans from across the country. This year's event came as the nation grappled with the end of federal abortion protections, something the attorneys at the workshop said will disproportionately impact women of color.
"Those who are going to be most affected are the poor, minority women, who are not going to have any other access to take care of their bodies," said Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, a law professor at Duquesne University.
The high court's decision also ignited discussions about the lack of diversity on the bench.
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"When we talk about decisions that are being made that affect women, that affect Black women particularly, we're talking about people making decisions about a group of people that they really don't understand," said Alicia Highes, the chief policy advisor of the National Bar Association.
She pointed out that Black attorneys represent less than 5% of those in the legal field; Black women comprise less than 2%.
"It's meaningful that two of the dissenters were two of the women on the bench, and one of those women was a woman of color," said Angela Onwuachi-Willig, dean of Boston University School of Law.
More on the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade
Aside from abortion itself, some legal experts fear that the end of federal abortion rights could mean the end of other rights, eventually.
"They're going to now go and start to look at those other issues, areas of the law that we have settled, concerning contraception, concerning the right to same-sex marriage, concerning perhaps even interracial marriage," said Jefferson-Bullock.