Monday, August 18, 2008
Anti-Choice Groups Target Minority Communities
Anti-choice groups should leave their conspiracy theories about how women of color (especially black women) are targeted for abortion at the door.
I get confused when I see anti-choice groups belligerently ranting that black women are purposely targeted for abortions. I’ve come to notice many anti-choice groups expressing this concern, but forgetting to disclose the most obvious, and concrete concern: lack of adequate health-care, education, and health awareness for low-income black women.
Civil rights supporters have been turning their energy lately to abortion in the African-American community. Many (NAACP) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People supporters have expressed their opposition for providing abortion services to black women. NAACP supporters have expressed that they believe that abortion is a form of genocide within the black community. Such opposition has led to the disapproval of organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
While many groups offer their conspiracy theories to why abortion is much more prevalent in the black community, those same groups fail to provide supportive evidence to maintain their outlandish race-related statements. Melissa Gilliam, who is Chairwoman of the Guttmacher Institute board of directors wrote a fabulous blog post explaining how health-care disparities is key to abortion rates—especially in the black community. Her blog post explains and emphasizes that having adequate health-care and education is the significant factor in ensuring the steady decrease of the abortion rate in the black community.
Guttmacher reports that black women do indeed have higher abortion rates than white women. Since most abortions are the result of unintended pregnancies, it’s important to note that the rate of unintended pregnancies is three times higher among black women. In addition to pregnancy and abortion rates, black women have much higher rates of STIs.
The cause for these unfortunate statistics is limited access to good health-care, explain Melissa Gilliam and Susan Cohen. Widespread health disparities among minorities are a key factor in the rate of unintended pregnancies. Guttmacher reports that women of color are less likely to use contraceptives. Then why are women of color not using contraceptives faithfully? Well, the three huge responses are: geographic location, affordability, and major personal crises which make birth control low priorities.
Unfortunately, intelligent explanations to the controversial issue are rarely addressed when anti-choice groups argue about high abortion rates in the black community. Many anti-choice groups concentrate on how abortion is used as a “genocide” attack on the black population. Using that blatant racist attempt context is a misleading attempt to gain the pro-life support of the black population. Unsuspecting listeners fail to hear the preventable causes for such high rates in the black community. If anti-choice groups wish to focus on this prominent issue, then addressing the issue in a legitimate, supporting, and justifiable way will perhaps contribute to lowering the rate of abortion among black women.
While growing up in Baltimore City, I have observed countless cases of women of color giving birth and raising children in poverty. With Maryland having such a high birth rate in the black community, providing factual information and affordable reproductive health-care services will assist in attempting to decrease the unintended pregnancy and abortion rate in the black community. While many women rely on government-funded services like welfare and Medicaid, others still lack health services to prevent unintended pregnancies in the future. With the Bush Administration strategically attempting to limit access to prevention methods such as birth control—low-income women of color in Maryland and across the nation will be in a very tight position.
Any thoughts? Comment!