For Native women in Texas, that challenge has been magnified after the U.S. Supreme Court refused this week to block the state’s ban on most abortions, underscoring the unique health disparities that Indigenous women have long faced and the potential threats to their health, said Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center.
Asetoyer, a Comanche tribe descendant, fears that many Native women, who already suffer from the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, will be unable to find the monetary means to access a safe and legal abortion outside Texas — if that’s even an option for them — or be forced to give birth under already strenuous and financially fraught circumstances. Indigenous women in the United States are more than twice as likely than white women to die from conditions caused or exacerbated by pregnancy.
“It’s certainly a whole other level of mental anxiety and cruelty that’s forced upon us,” Asetoyer said. “Our right, our human right, to make this decision is being taken from us.”
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