Friday, February 25, 2011

Forced-Birth Attacks Against African-American Women

The most recent one consists of a billboard that was placed in SoHo by Life Always. This one:

The billboard has now been removed but supposedly not for the reason that it a) blames African-American women for a genocide or that b) it turns a woman into a locality (the womb is like the dangerous bar or street). It has been removed for safety reasons!

The history of the ways reproductive choice has been denied to African-American women is an ugly one:
Concern in the black community about abortion and what was once referred to as “population control” has authentic roots, grounded in a shameful chapter in the history of welfare policy. Sterilization as a condition of women’s continued eligibility for receiving welfare benefits stirred deep resentment. In response, feminists active in the early abortion reform movement, both white and black, often marched under twin slogans: “Free Abortion on Demand, No Forced Sterilization.”
Their point was that the choice to become a mother was as worthy of protection as the opposite choice.
The coercive policies were dropped, but the damage lingered, and the growing abortion reform movement in the late 1960’s stirred new fears in the black community. In the black press, the equation of abortion with genocide was prominent. “My answer to genocide,” Dick Gregory, the comedian and activist, wrote in Ebony in 1971, “quite simply is eight black kids — and another baby on the way.” That same year, nearly two-thirds of those answering a poll in the black newspaper The Chicago Daily Defender said they feared that abortion posed a genocidal threat to the black community (although, interestingly, only a quarter of those who responded said that they were opposed to abortion.)
Likewise, in the 1990s the "welfare queen" argument was really aimed at poor African-American women who had children. The racial angle in all this cannot be made to go away.

How disgusting to turn it so directly against women again, as is done in the billboard!

A good place to learn more about African-American women and reproductive justice is SisterSong.