Reproductive justice pioneer Loretta Ross on strategies for the post-Roe South

By Elisha Brown
January 26, 2023

This past Sunday, Jan. 22, marked what would've been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark United States Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion. Instead of celebratory marches, though, protesters gathered across the country to raise awareness about new state restrictions on reproductive rights imposed in the seven months since the high court overturned Roe in its Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling out of Mississippi.

Thirteen states — eight of them in the South — now ban most abortions with few exceptions, and more restrictive laws are expected to be up for debate in Republican-controlled legislatures this year. It remains unclear if anti-abortion lawmakers will also take up bills that make having and caring for children easier in the South, a region beset with high maternal mortality and child poverty rates, and where eight states have still refused to expand Medicaid coverage to more residents under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. 

"There's a number of things people could be doing, if they cared about children once they are here," observes reproductive justice pioneer Loretta Ross.