First Advisor

Melody E. Valdini

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science




Abortion -- Law and legislation -- Southern States, Race discrimination, Abortion -- Political aspects -- United States, African Americans -- Economic conditions, Family policy




The year 2019 saw the most restrictive state abortion policies introduced and passed since Roe v Wade. The same states passing this legislation are often states also cutting funding for policies that improve the health and socio-economic mobility of mothers and children, which disproportionately affects African-American residents of those states. Outside of reproductive justice advocacy, there is not much research on the role that race plays in the introduction and passing of state abortion policy. I examine and analyze the role of racial prejudice in passing restrictive abortion policy in southern states. Using historical context in southern states, a survey of concurrent state natalist policies, and a backdrop of nationwide disparities, I make the argument that race is a primary driver of recent abortion policy, meant to keep minority groups in subordinate socio-economic positions. I find moderate support that states with restrictive abortion policy also lack support for natalist policies that improve the socio-economic status of low-income African-American citizens with children.


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