“America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts …a child… as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.” Mother Teresa
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?
Op-ed submission by Project 21
There is a real economic toll related to abortion, but it’s not something Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or the Congressional Black Caucus complains about. In fact, they all support abortion.
To hear abortion proponents talk about it, infanticide is an economic boon. In 1998, a U.S. News and World Report article called a child “a high-priced consumer item with no warranty.” Less children supposedly means less welfare spending, less unemployment and generally more money to spread around.
Actually, the opposite is more likely to be true.
In a telephone interview, Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics Inc., said, “The cost [of abortion to society], if calculable, would be astronomical to the point of the average person being incapable of comprehending it.” While Crutcher correctly notes one cannot accurately put a price on the opportunity costs of abortion, its effects are apparent. In fact, abortion may play a key factor in fixing our nation’s current economic crisis.
Consumer spending is the dominant facet of our economy. With the economy needing a boost and job creation jolted, a baby is a true stimulus plan. Forget TARP and the Keynesian spending schemes promoted by the Obama Administration. A baby necessitates diapers, toys, food, books, clothing and more. Meeting those needs creates jobs in the manufacturing and service sectors. Children also create jobs in the medical and educational sectors. When they grow up, babies supplement the labor force – promoting the “circle of life.” At a time when our nation relies on an influx of legal and illegal immigrants, it’s illogical to promote population control.
It’s also an issue of quality, and not just quantity. As the late economist Julian Simon noted: “In the long run, the most important economic effect of population size and growth is the contribution of additional people to our stock of useful knowledge.” Around 45 million potential members of the American labor force have already been obliterated by legialized abortion. How many could have kept our auto industry solvent? How many might have developed the cure to cancer or cold-fusion energy production?
And then there’s the Social Security and Medicare crises. These two programs, once considered safety nets, are now lifelines for many elderly and impoverished Americans. The programs’ solvency relies upon large numbers of people in the workforce providing for much smaller numbers of recipients. The Baby Boom and expansions of coverage turned these calculations on their heads. More money will soon be paid out than is being paid into the programs. That means fewer benefits and/or more taxes.
For blacks in particular, Crutcher noted, “Abortion has cost blacks tremendous political power. You cannot reduce the black American population by – in some estimates – as much as 40 percent in the last 35 plus years and not have a debilitating political impact that equates further to verifiable economic loss, even if the loss is astronomical to the point of being incalculable.”
Crutcher refers to the relatively unchanged size of the black community relative to other races. While black population numbers stagnate, Hispanics are now the dominant minority group. Could this have anything to do with abortion? Yes. Susan Cohen, writing for the Guttmacher Policy Review in 2008, noted, “The abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women.”
Black Americans were brought to America in chains. After emancipation, we were subject to unfair laws restricting promised freedoms. Discrimination further robbed us of opportunity. Now, even with a level playing field, abortion is still pushing blacks into a corner. While the United States economy remains on the brink, blacks – who, as a community, are making their way up the socio-economic ladder – stand to lose the most.
In promoting abortion, there is much more to lose than just our morality. Our very futures may lie in the balance.
Mychal Massie is the chairman of the black leadership network Project 21.
One of my favorite bloggers is my “Circle” sister Aulelia. On her blog page, Charcoal Ink, she consistently drops thought provoking posts on sensitive issues. Her latest post is on abortion: The “A” Question: What Does Abortion Mean? Now although I don’t totally agree with her opinions on this issue, she asks some very hard hitting questions: “One controversial question is do men have a say when it comes to abortion? What would happen if a woman wanted to have an abortion and her boyfriend did not want her to? It is a grey area however I am adamant that her choice in this case overrules his because he cannot force her to go through with it…or can he?”
I have contemplated doing a series of posts here dealing with what I refer to as Life Issues, focusing on discussing issues relating to abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, marriage, personal responsibility and accountability, corporal punishment of children etc. Aulelia’s post got me thinking on the question of when does life begin? This is the issue that intrigues me most on the question of abortion. And depending on one’s answer to this, what impact or influence… if any… does it have on one’s opinion on this subject?
My own belief is that life begins at conception. My comment on Aulelia’s post in this regard was this:
My wife and I are expecting our first child. We have attended 2 ultrasounds and seen the development of our unborn child. We heard it’s heart beat. We saw the images of it’s heart, lungs, brain, stomach, legs, arms and cranium. During the second ultrasound, we saw the baby awake, stretch and drink ambiotic fluid for breakfast. I feel it move in my wife’s stomach and when I press against it, it presses back. How do you dehumanize a living unborn human being? Refer to it as a “fetus” or “a collection of cells”.
It is my belief that there is no more helpless human being than an unborn child. However, during any discussion/debate on abortion, very rarely does the “right to life” issue for the unborn child enters the discourse. The unborn child doesn’t have it’s own voice to advocate for it’s position on whether it wants to live or die. The discussion/debate usually centers around the rights of the woman, or father, or the impact of the opinions/values of society regarding abortion.
I am interested in what you all think on this issue.