On September 1st, Al Jazeera Online published an opinion piece entitled “Are Reproductive Rights Human Rights?”, which discussed a series of cases in which abortion was denied to women who, as a result, suffered serious health consequences, or even death. The author, Julia Zulver, asks, “… what do we say to these women? That the rights they were given by CEDAW, which their governments signed on…
I think you’re missing the main point here ….
Anti-abortion laws have been getting smarter over the past few years. As the courts have upheld a pregnant person’s right to choose when laws target the actual act of abortion-~-for example, the courts have struck down a series of 20-week bans across the United States-~-legislators have taken a different approach, through the use of TRAP laws. TRAP-~-or Targeted Regulations of Abortion…
Sunsara Taylor: This is sort of encompassed in what you just spoke to, but I think maybe it would be helpful to surface it, and speak to it very explicitly. One of the charges the anti-abortion movement makes is that abortion is a form of genocide against Black people. To me, this is one of the most insidious, perverse, and outrageous accusations, given the actual history of this country’s genocidal program towards African-American people, and given the current policies of mass incarceration, mass criminalization, all of this that’s actually going on against Black people. But instead of targeting that, they vilify and demonize Black women, who, for all the reasons you described have the least access to healthcare, birth control, all of this, and—like all women—often choose to have abortions. To demonize them and criminalize them and shame them and scapegoat them for all of the horrors that are heaped down on Black people in this society, and to use that as a means to demonize abortion for all women, I think this is one of the most outrageous things. Yet, I think it has a lot of people confused, and so I wonder if there’s anything more that you want to say about that explicitly?
Willie Parker: Well I’ll say that as a human being that studied history and who knows the impact of the term genocide, but also as a person of color, as an African-American person who attempts to be a critical thinker, I am both appalled and offended that, for purposes that are not genuine in any way, anti-abortion forces will use the inflammatory language of comparing abortion to genocide. It’s offensive because it implies that Black women aren’t smart enough or thoughtful enough to make the tough decision to have an abortion. It revisits in a paradoxical way the control of Black women’s fertility and of their bodies. In slavery women were forced to breed. Now they’re being again forced to breed, or forced to bear children that they had no intention to bear. And to allege under some notion that there is a genuine interest in the well-being of either women in general or Black women in particular, or Black babies, that there is this interest that persuades them to try to block access to abortion while at the same time reducing access to education, housing, health care, food stamps, and the like, is hypocrisy of the highest order.
One of the most dangerous truths is a half truth. And while it doesn’t take much persuasion to indict the intentions of racially bigoted people in this country who hold power who try to defamate or do things to Black people as a group, it is not in any way relevant to the fact that women who become pregnant, no matter what their color, need access to abortion. The odious history of racism in this country does not justify the denying of women their right to access abortion, whatever color they are. And to use that, to as you said, to vilify women, and to distract from the real problems that are plaguing Black people as a group is disingenuous at the best and downright evil at the worst.
Sunsara Taylor: Mm, I have to agree with you….”
Oh look, it’s a dishonest pro-lifer double-play!
- using a quote from a pro-choicer that was not, in any way, about abortion
- using a completely inaccurate doll in place of an actual fetus
Dr. Seuss’ widow has previously and publicly stated that she does not approve of the quote for these purposes, and during his life, the author himself threatened to sue a pro-life group if they did not remove this quote from their materials. Sorry pro-lifers but this wasn’t what the author intended.
Family planning has been a cornerstone issue of the feminist movement for several decades, but is also one of the most contentious. While it’s relatively easy to articulate the logic of equal pay or the harms of domestic violence, there are numerous social taboos surrounding family planning, not the least of which is the fact that family planning often includes the issue of abortion.
Today is National Abortion-Provider Appreciation Day.
It seems like an arbitrary day of acknowledgement. But since I lacked internet access on International Women’s Day (which was yesterday), I thought I’d take a moment to write this up, because the work that abortion providers do is important for women’s health and autonomy, and because they face incredible barriers to performing this work in…
Recently, the GOP decided that their candidates really needed to learn to talk to, and about, women.
This was actually a pretty reasonable assessment. Women are a significant part of the margin of victory for Democrats, and this fact has finally been…
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