Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't Abort Obama

The above billboard was released in Chicago on March 29th by the anti-abortion group Life Always. This is the same group responsible for the billboard campaign which stated that "The Most Dangerous Place for an African-American is in the Womb."

Life Always board member Rev. Derek McCoy justified the groups actions by saying:

“Our future leaders are being aborted at an alarming rate … These are babies who could grow to be the future Presidents of the United States, or the next Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington or Maya Angelou.”

This is yet another underhanded approach to dealing with the high rate of abortion in the African American community. Eliminating choice and attempting to make women guilty, will not stop abortion.  I certainly agree that every single child symbolizes potential, but the U.S. hardly does its best to make success a possibility for children of colour.  Oprah and Barack are not the the standard, they are the exception to the rule, and that is something that needs to be remembered. 

Life Always likes to toss out figures like the following to scare women:

Since 1973, the year of the Supreme Court Decision Roe vs. Wade, 13 million African American lives have been lost to abortion. 

Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC)

More African American babies have been killed by abortions since 1973 than the total number of African American deaths from AIDS, violent crimes, accidents, cancer and heart disease combined.

Approximate number of African American deaths since 1973:
Abortion: 13+ Million
Heart Disease: 2.26 Million
Cancer: 1.64 Million
Accidents: 307,723 Violent Crimes: 306,313 AIDS: 203,649
Source: Based on cumulative statistics provided by the US center for Disease Control; accessed at:

An African American baby is three times more likely to be aborted

than a white baby. Today, African Americans account for 12.8% of the American population, but African American women receive 35% of all abortions.
Source: 2010 US Census Data
CDC Abortion Surveillance Report 11/26/04

Of the approximately 4,000 abortions that are performed daily in the United States, 1,452 of them take the lives of African American children.

Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC)
I won't argue the veracity of these numbers, but what I don't see for all of the hand wringing, are any positive solutions other than to end abortion.  If all of these women were to follow a pregnancy to fruition, what plans are in place to help them with things like daily expenses, which include an increase in money spent on items like food, clothing, and shelter? The fact of the matter is that U.S. social safety net is anything but generous. What plan do they have to help with daycare and education?  What community organizations are in place to give over worked mothers a break, when the stress of parenthood becomes to much?  Until these groups can offer tangible solutions, all they have to offer is moral indignation and that is not enough to raise a child to adulthood.

If the end/reduction of abortion is their goal, it seems to me that they should be supporting Planned Parenthood, instead of attacking the organization at every turn.   What women need is the support to make the reproductive choices that are right for them, and this includes access to reliable and affordable birth control.  It really is quite simple - good reliable cheap birth control means no pregnancies to abort.  If the goal was really reducing abortion, rather than attacking a woman's right to have control over her body, they would be handing out condoms on the street corner and advocating that the pill be dispensed for little to no cost. No pregnancy means no abortion.

I am further disgusted with their claim that life is the goal of their organization.  It is a well known fact that if abortion were suddenly to become illegal tomorrow, that it would lead to death of women.  Sanctioned or not, women will always make the choices they need to, even when these choices lead to death.  They may have forgotten how many women died in back alley abortions, or destroyed their bodies to the point of being unable to ever conceive again, but these days are remembered and feared by socially conscious women.  Outlawed abortion equals death, and I see no reason to privilege a bunch of cells, over women who are currently productive members of our society. 

On a final note, I am sick and tired of these groups using race to attack abortion, when society will not even grant the status of mother to Black women, unless it is to shame us publicly for doing a terrible job.  White women are held up as the ultimate mother, while we are still largely viewed as irresponsible breeders.  The world does not embrace our motherhood, or our children, and this needs to be acknowledged.  I will always support the Black child, but we should not pretend that Life Always has the same goal in mind, when it does nothing to help mothers and the Black children already in existence.