Abortion Dilemma: US tackles divisive topic, Black community speaks

NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor and CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 5/23/2019, midnight
“Old white male lawmakers, and the men who agree with them, do not have a nickle in this dime when ...
Acacia Bamberg Salatti Planned Parenthood photo

“These usually old white men declare love for fetuses, but hate children,” one observer quipped sardonically. Meanwhile this week has seen mass mobilizations in many a metropolis by women rallying to chant slogans such as, “My body, my choice.”

In a statement In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda and partner organizations slammed Alabama state lawmakers who they say passed into law an “unconstitutional and egregious abortion ban, criminalizing both patients and abortion providers, without exceptions for rape or incest. The Alabama law comes on the heels of abortion bans passed or introduced in other states, including Georgia, Ohio, Missouri and Louisiana.”

Howell is standing alongside other activists including Black Women for Wellness Executive Director Janette Robinson-Flint, Black Women’s Health Imperative President and CEO Linda Goler-Blount, SisterLove, Inc. Founder and President Dazon Dixon Diallo, and The Afiya Center CEO and Co-Founder Marsha Jones.

“From Alabama to Georgia to Ohio and everywhere in between, we know that no woman in any state is safe given this oppressive trend. Black women—in every state, every count—are outraged, as with the passage of legislation like Alabama’s all our freedoms are compromised. These unconstitutional laws will be challenged and, ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide the fate of our reproductive freedom,” the statement continued.

“When states are allowed to ban abortion, many women cannot afford the cost of transportation, childcare and time off from work necessary to find safe abortion care. This directly impacts those who already face barriers to accessing health care including Black women, other women of color, the LGBTQ+ community, young people, those living in rural areas and those with low incomes.”

Howell added, “While all who seek abortion care will suffer should the right-wing majority on the high court overturn Roe v. Wade, Black women will be disproportionately impacted. We know this because of the barriers to abortion services that already exist for us. Black women living in southern states are more vulnerable as voter suppression is higher and health care resources already more limited. Before the recent Alabama law, there were over 400 state abortion restrictions passed throughout the country since 2011 and crafted to shame, pressure and punish those who decide to have an abortion. For many, these barriers effectively ban abortion in totality…We cannot count on the judicial or executive branches of our government to protect our most basic human and civil rights. We must hold our elected leaders accountable.”

There is another angle however. A Daily Mail article pointed out, “White women have lower fertility rates in every U.S. state.”

Activist Omowale Clay, while first stating, “A woman has a right to chose what to do with her own body,” said, “The driving force behind current abortion banning legislation across the U.S. is the declining white population, not the fraudulent pretext of concern for ‘life’ in general. This political movement dovetails with the Trump advocacy of ‘Make [White] America Great Again.’ Between 2004 and 2014 the number of states with negative white population growth grew from four to 17. This growing trend is what leads to the projections that by 2045 American whites will be a minority. This contemporary attempt to disguise white supremacy under concern for life flies in the face of real efforts to preserve life through the concrete actions of single payer healthcare, affordable housing, decent jobs and real wages, etc.”