NEW REPORT: A Dual Disenfranchisement—How Voter Suppression Denies Reproductive Justice to Women of Color

Washington, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)–October 25, 2012.  The Center for American Progress yesterday released a new report titled, “A Dual Disenfranchisement: How Voter Suppression Denies Reproductive Justice to Women of Color,” showing that voting rights is a reproductive justice issue. During this year alone, nearly 1 million women of color will be at risk of losing their right to vote. Meanwhile, 22 states have passed a total of 61 measures restricting women’s access to reproductive health; restrictions from family planning funding to coverage of contraceptives to HIV testing for pregnant women to abortion access. However, there has been little attention paid to how these two issues tie together and affect women of color. This report’s analysis shows that women of color stand to be disenfranchised at unprecedented rates in eleven states due to the new voter identification laws in effect for this 2012 election.

“Women of color are often the first to feel the impact of laws that curtail reproductive rights and the ones who are hurt the most by such restrictions.  At a time when women are fighting tooth and nail to protect their access to vital reproductive health services – from family planning, to breast cancer screenings, to abortion care – it is essential that every woman have the ability to participate in the political process,” said Jessica Arons, Director of Women’s Health and Rights at CAP

Voter ID laws have the potential to disenfranchise women of color, who comprise 18 percent of the electorate. This is particularly troublesome as voter turnout among these women is increasing. Suppressing their votes will have a twofold effect: First it removes them from the political process, and then it denies them a voice on matters that directly affect their lives, including the ability to access reproductive health care, make decisions about whether, when, and how to parent, and ultimately shape the course of their lives.

The report proposes simple solutions: Stop disenfranchising voters and stop attacking women’s reproductive rights. Women of color are a growing population, highly invested in their right to vote, and when they are denied the opportunity to participate in civic life, they also lose the ability to voice their opinions and hold lawmakers accountable on the health issues that directly impact them.

To read the full report, click here.

PDF of the report, here.