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The National Pan-Hellenic Council, also known as The Divine 9, recently launched a new public service campaign focused on the impact of the overturning of Roe v. Wade on Black Women.
Known as “Tell Somebody Now,” the one-minute PSA is narrated by award-winning actor Jenifer Lewis, star of “Black-ish” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and is produced by TV veteran Sybil Wilkes. Through the PSA, the group of sororities and fraternities shed light on what circumstances drive Black women to get abortions as they predict the overturning of Roe v. Wade will disproportionately impact them.
In the PSA, the organization backs up its claim with several statistics. According to the information from “Tell Somebody Now,” 35 percent of Black women in the U.S. will be subjected to some form of sexual violence as one in four reports that they’ve experienced sexual abuse by the age of 18. Almost half of the Black women in the country have also been sexually coerced, according to the PSA.
With the release of “Tell Somebody Now,” The Divine 9 are looking to encourage Black Americans to act against the court’s ruling against Roe v. Wade in part by getting out and voting during the midterm elections in November.
“Overturning Roe v. Wade will not end abortion. It will only end safe abortions and access to healthcare for millions of women—particularly poor women of color—and fuel a full-fledged public health crisis in this country,” said the President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Chris V. Rey, J.D., in a statement. “We’re calling on the 2.5 million members of the Divine 9 to contact lawmakers to mitigate the impact of this egregious blow to the well-being of 10 million Black women of child-bearing age.”
The repeal of Roe v. Wade comes during a time when mortality rates amongst Black mothers in the U.S. continue to rise. According to the Population Reference Bureau, Black mothers are more than three times more likely to pass away during pregnancy compared to white women- a significant increase compared to previous studies that found that Black mothers were 2.5 times more likely to pass away. Overall, according to the CDC, as of Feb. 2022, there were 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births amongst Black women.
With an abortion ban, the Population Reference Bureau predicts that all women would have a 21% increase in chances of pregnancy-related deaths. Black women in particular will have a 33% increase.
“What we are living through is an unprecedented public health crisis. The severity of losing the right to govern our own bodies cannot be overstated, especially for Black communities who have long felt the impact of politicians asserting power and control over our bodies at the expense of our health, lives, and futures,” said the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Alexis McGill Johnson, in a statement. “ As a member of a Divine 9 sorority, I know there is power in our stories and strength in our voices as we continue to push for freedom.”