Excellent article at The Black Love Speak Column. Although I am sharing it here, I encourage comments to be made also at the original article.
If you live in Atlanta, Macon, or Augusta GA, you may have come across one of these signs.
Black & Unwanted billboards are springing up in various areas of Georgia. The Radiance Foundation and Georgia’s Operation Outrage have joined forces to encourage Black women to stop having abortions and to encourage Black couples to adopt black children. When I first heard about the website toomanyaborted.com, I had my own opinions. I am a strong advocate for women’s rights. And I have to admit, I didn’t really give their initiative the time of day. It infuriated me. The billboards along Georgia highways upset me even more. However, upon putting my frustration aside, I realized that they may have a few points to their argument.
Let me first say that I believe in woman’s right to decide what to do with her body. Yet, the fact that there has been a historical attack on Black life for the past few hundred years is ever present. The Eugenics movement is very real. There are those out there that are trying to create a prototype for the “perfect” human gene pool and for many, Black isn’t a part of it. Scientists, corporations, and governments have attempted/ are attempting to increase particular human characteristics while decreasing others. How can this be accomplished? By reproducing more of what is “wanted” and discarding more of what is “unwanted”. As a result, Black women have been sterilized unknowingly. Black men have been castrated. Black babies have been killed in the name of science. All of this is true. I do believe there is a movement to eradicate Black people, especially when we stand in the way of capitalist gain.
For example, Africa has been swarming with NGOs advocating safe sex through the usage of condoms. While condoms may protect against HIV/AIDS, it could also affect population growth. This is interesting, because the conversation then turns to the “Africa is over populated” rhetoric. This is completely untrue but it’s being said in an effort (I believe but could be wrong) to decrease the amount of children born to African mothers. Africa is the richest continent on the planet in terms of natural resources. Yet, many of these natural resources such as oil, gold, cocoa, fish, diamonds, tanzanite, coltane, and much more, are controlled by European countries/corporations and world powers (the U.S. included). Even though there is enough food in all of Africa to feed all the people of Africa and more, the capitalist mode of production within this neocolonial era has made it so that these resources are unattainable to many African people. This control was obtained through slavery, colonialism, and neocolonialism. African people are fighting to gain back the control over their natural resources. Wouldn’t you think that this fight would be easier for global corporations if less Africans were in the world? This is why I question the theories behind the beginning of HIV/AIDS.
What does this have to do with Black women and Abortions?
Well, if you are Black, even if the world calls you Latino or American, the African descent or DNA that runs through your veins is often the ultimate prevailer in determining your socioeconomic status in the world. If you look around, you will find that almost everywhere you go in the world Black/African lives are secondary to others in society. We are often the ones that suffer the most and die first. Many times these are needless, easily preventable deaths or illnesses. Yet, somehow, there is always a mysterious issue in solving these problems. This, I think, is not a coincidence. Indeed Black is unwanted except when Black life is used for hard labor or for entertainment purposes. Ironically, in both fields Black life is used, exploited, and then discarded after use.
Therefore, because of the history of Eugenics in the U.S. and abroad, I do not completely disagree with the sentiments of the Radiance Foundation. There are people out there that do not want Black life to grow and prosper. However, I do not believe that attacking the reproductive rights of Black women is the answer to fighting Eugenics. This is because there are many factors that surround any Black woman’s discussion to get an abortion. The reason why there is a higher rate of abortion among Black women than other races is because of higher poverty rates. Maybe we should be looking more into poverty and trying to alleviate poverty in black communities. The fight then becomes against the true source of higher abortions rates instead of against Black women.
Black women also face a lot of scrutiny when we become pregnant that other races do not face. If we become pregnant out of wedlock we are the dreaded “baby mama”. If we have a baby that we cannot financially take care of without government assistance, we are labeled as “irresponsible lazy welfare Queens”. If we take the father of the child to court for child support, we are “bringing a brotha down.” If we get pregnant by different men, we are a “Whore/Ho”. If we give the child up for adoption, we are uncaring mothers. If we choose not to go through with the pregnancy, we are labeled as abortion sluts.
We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t!
Furthermore, a woman’s body may not be ready to handle the effects of another pregnancy. She may not have the financial ability to take care of a child (in which case adoption could be an option). She may not be mentally stable enough to go through with a pregnancy. Some of you may be thinking, “Well she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant”. This is the sentiment of some Black women. And I understand where you’re coming from. But this is a decision that you should have to make for your own body. If I were to come along and force you to give birth without your consent, how would you feel? This is the experience of our Great Great Grandmothers.
On plantations, many of them were raped and forced to give birth over and over again against their will. These rapes, along with the forced child births, wreaked havoc on their bodies and spirits. We know live under different circumstances. Fortunately, we can now determine for ourselves. This is why I am reluctant to fully support the efforts of the Radiance Foundation and Georgia’s Operation Outrage. I do not wish to teeter between the lines of force and choice. I will always be for choice.
However, I do agree with them in that choices should always be made in conjunction with full knowledge of what we are doing, so that we make the correct decisions for our lives. Abortion is not always the best choice. There are black women experiencing medical problems, mental anxiety, and depression in conjunction with the abortion/s they had. This is a decision that should not be taken lightly and should be accompanied with knowledge in order to prevent this from happening.
I also support their efforts to encourage adoption in the Black community. I find that we get upset about white people adopting black children yet we do not take on the obligation to take care of these children ourselves.
Whew…that was a lot of writing! What do you think? Should black women stop getting abortions? Do you agree or disagree with the Radiance Foundation?