NASHVILLE, Tenn. — “Adulting” was not going great for Tia Freeman. She had lost her scholarship at the University of Tennessee and enlisted in the Air Force. As she finished training to be an analyst, she got pregnant despite being on birth control.
Both her parents worked, so the child care they could provide was limited. Day care would have eaten most of her paycheck. And even at age 20, Freeman knew that as a Black woman she would have more difficulty climbing the economic ladder than some other women would.
So she had an abortion.
“I’m at the bottom of the military rank system. I barely have enough to support me,” Freeman, now 26, recalled thinking at the time. “I knew this wasn’t going to be the kind of lifestyle that I would want to provide for a family.”
Black women disproportionately use abortion services across much of the South — where access is largely set to vanish if the Supreme Court this term overturns its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. And the consequences may be as much a risk to their economic opportunities as their health.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision soon in a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. A draft opinion that was leaked suggests that a majority of the justices may be willing to overturn Roe.
In the Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 154 econ …