All Articles Tagged "abortion"

The “All Lives Matter Act”: How Anti-Abortionists Are Appropriating #BlackLivesMatter

February 9th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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Since strides have been made in terms of the federal government and the work to reform certain legislation pertaining to female reproductive health and women’s rights, abortion is legal in 43 U.S. states. However, regardless of what the law says, there are always opposing individuals who, without hesitation, try to impose their opinions on the masses.

Missouri Republican state Rep. Mike Moon is one of those individuals. He reintroduced controversial legislation in January, the “All Lives Matter Act,” which, if pushed through, would further the agenda of abortion opponents. This would occur because the bill would require that “personhood” be defined as beginning at conception. Law enforcement and other licensed entities would be allowed to ensure that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” And a section of Missouri law that calls for personhood laws to be in line with Roe v. Wade would be wiped out. His use of “All Lives Matter” for the bill’s name has garnered a severe side-eye from the Black community, as this legislation attempts to co-opt the name of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The agenda of Mike Moon is offensive to the memories of Blacks who have died at police hands, including Michael Brown, is offensive to those who fight against police brutality, and, of course, further marginalizes Black women practicing their Constitutional rights. 

In my opinion, and I’m sure most would agree, “All Lives Matter” is a dismissive means to silence Black activism and our right to stand up against the police brutality and violence that has plagued our communities. When asked his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement, the representative’s views proved me right. He took the usual color-blind approach and said that he didn’t see Black, White or yellow, but rather, he believes that we are all humans who deserve the same access to the same opportunities. When speaking on police brutality, Rep. Moon would go on to focus on the legislation and say that “abortions are brutality.”

In response, community organizer Christine Assefa of the St. Louis Organization for Black Struggle told Ebony.com, “Rep. Moon is using Black women’s bodies as a site to police the decisions that all women in the state of Missouri are able to make when it comes to their health by re-defining personhood and wiping out abortion access, criminalizing the use of IUDs, in vitro fertilization, and the morning-after pill.” 

Assefa believes the agenda is to further marginalize Black women who seek abortions. I agree.

And I can agree with and support the disdain that many have around the appropriation of “Black Lives Matter” for “All Lives Matter.” Not only is it disrespectful, but it’s dangerous. On one hand, Moon is seeking to completely wipe out women’s access to abortion and given the statistics, we know that would greatly affect Black women the most. But not only is he taking away the right to choose, he’s also placing a cap on access to proper birth control methods for women to protect themselves. He is not only trying to create even higher hurdles in Missouri when it comes to women having abortions if they so choose to, but he has also taken an entire movement based on the fight for justice for Black men and women and widdled it down to a woman’s reproductive health issue that singles out Black women.

Anti-Abortion Proponents Don’t Really Care About Health And Well-Being Of Women–Or Their Children

January 20th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times recently wrote a piece called, “Are black women being singled out on abortions?” She wrote the commentary after a number of pro-life supporters took to the cold streets of Chicago on Sunday to protest during a March for Life rally. One of those protesters was a one Rev. Corey Brooks, whom Mitchell took issue with, as Brooks told demonstrators to take the fight to curb abortions directly to women in the Black community. Considering the circumstances of many Black women and men in the city, which Brooks is well-versed on, she felt that along with those who judge women who get abortions, Brooks is misguided. She specifically said:

But other than insult black women, what could these anti-abortion activists do to stop unwanted pregnancies?

Lack of information is not the problem.

As tragic as abortion is, the neglect and mistreatment that an unwanted child must endure is even worse.

Additionally, if anyone knows the challenges facing the black community it is Brooks.

During the governor’s race, he was strongly critical of how blacks had fared under Democratic leadership.

“We have a large, disproportionate number of people who are impoverished. We have a disproportionate number of people who are incarcerated, we have a disproportionate number of people who are unemployed, the educational system has totally failed,” he told the Daily Beast.

Birthing a child into that kind of an environment is hard enough. Those mothers who do it are braver than we give them credit.

But to shame mothers who make a different choice is cruel.

And not only is that cruel, so is making it as hard as legally possible for women to not only go to clinics to get abortions, but to even get basic reproductive health services. And that is the issue at hand in the Supreme Court Case, Whole Woman’s Health vs. Cole. It is reviewing a Texas law, known as HB2 that plaintiffs claim, does, in fact, place an “undue burden” on the right of women to terminate a pregnancy by forcing certain requirements to be met first.

So what are those requirements? According to U.S. News & World Report:

“It requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 miles away, and sets clinic standards that are similar to those of surgical centers, including specifics on room and doorway sizes, staffing and anesthesia, among other things.”

If HB2 is struck down, it will impact states with similar provisions for abortions. Fourteen states insist that abortion providers be affiliated with a local hospital while 22 require certain licensing standards that match up with ambulatory surgical centers.

Such stipulations have caused quite a few clinics in Texas to close up, or “shutter.” And that’s why lead plaintiff, Whole Woman’s Health, and other pro-choice advocates, are saying the requirements are just ways the state, and other states with similar provisions, are limiting access to what women have a Constitutional right to. They maintain that such requirements are not medically necessary, and past studies have proven that when done in accredited, reputable clinics, abortions are safe. Hence, the reason they are worried about less clinics being made available, and the lengths some women may feel they need to go when their choices are diminished.

And that’s also why 12 women’s organizations catered to Black women, led by In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, came together to issue an amicus brief (providing info that holds weight in the case).  They said that not only have abortion clinics in Texas gone down from 40 to just 19 in November 2015 due to such regulations (and could dwindle to nine if HB2 is upheld), but that these closures will have an overwhelming impact on Black women in the state seeking to terminate pregnancies and others simply trying to obtain contraception and more health services.

The amicus brief explained the specific ways that Black women would be affected, citing a historic pattern of “discrimination, economic disadvantage,” and more which caused a lack of “adequate access to sex education and contraception,” with unintended pregnancies as a consequence. With all of this in mind, access to these clinics, said Marcela Howell, executive director of In our Voice, is critical.

“Women’s clinics across the country provide critical health care for women,” Howell said. “Politicians who pass these types of laws do not care about the health and wellbeing of women. They are only interested in stopping access to abortions.”

She continued, “Black women already face systemic barriers to quality, affordable reproductive health care, this law just exacerbates that harm. The law’s practical effect is barring Black women in Texas from exercising their legal right to an abortion.”

Quite a few amicus curiae have been submitted for the case since last June. And on March 2, the Supreme Court will hear it. The first abortion case in over 20 years. A ruling could come by June.

And while these regulations are supposed to be meant to make abortions safer, I would agree that they seem to be a way to limit the availability of them, and reproductive health care in general. The idea of only nine clinics possibly being available in a place as massive as Texas, the lengths women would have to go to in order to get abortions, including traveling, getting time off work, possibly needing lodging on top of paying for the procedures, is a bit much–and that’s an understatement. And when states go to such lengths to make things so difficult for those who are already financially struggling instead of helping them obtain the resources they need, you can’t help but think that women are being left out to dry, and as Mary Mitchell pointed out, Black women in particular.

I do often wonder just how much abortion critics care about the women they’re judging, as well as the children they want them to keep. We all know the answer is not very much.

I think too many stories are painted of women who obtain abortions as reckless, living off of the system, carelessly running in and out of clinics instead of using protection. But if you know women who’ve had them because they became pregnant even while using protection, became pregnant after being sexually assaulted, were not ready to provide the life the child deserved or knew they weren’t in a financial position where they might not be able to care for a child at all, you might understand. That’s why so many have stepped up to tell their abortion stories as of late.

But the fact is, you don’t need to understand why women decide to do what they do with their own bodies. Because it’s not your body to regulate. It’s not a child you were going to help or protect in this environment, where babies grow up to be young men and women gunned down by police, by their peers, and called everything but children of God when such tragedies happen. People don’t care, they just want to impose their beliefs and way of living upon other people. And let’s be honest: That’s why these sort of laws are in place–to regulate women’s bodies while pretending to do so because folks “care” so much about out health and well-being. Yeah, right.

I’m Not For Any Woman Being Shamed For Her Abortion…Even If That Woman Is Stacey Dash

December 28th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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I’m Not For Any Woman Being Shamed For Her Abortion…Even If That Woman Is Stacey Dash

Source: WENN

It’s not everyday that I find myself coming to the defense of Stacey Dash. But at the end of the day, despite her backwards philosophies and general obnoxiousness, she’s still a woman. And even though she rarely advocates for the rights of women, that doesn’t mean we can’t speak up when hers are being violated. Because there are other women who are experiencing similar situations.

Here’s what happened.

Ryan Prophet, a rapper from the group Nappy Roots, created an Instagram post claiming that not only did he and Dash date one another, she got pregnant and aborted his child.

Prophet posted what appears to be a text message conversation with this caption.

I’m Not For Any Woman Being Shamed For Her Abortion…Even If That Woman Is Stacey Dash

Source: Instagram

Prophet later said that since he appeared on MTV’s “Catfish” his account has become victim to hackers. And he mentioned that Stacey Dash was a great person. Personally, his story about being hacked seems like a bit of a stretch to me. And by a stretch, I mean completely made up, just to get himself some attention.

So, while this appears like it might be a none story, there are still far too many men, celebrity and otherwise, who try to use a woman’s right to choose what she wants to do with her body and her life as a way to shame her.

Ryan Prophet is not the only example.Many of you may remember the time boxer Floyd Mayweather tried to expose his ex Shantel Jackson. It happens to women everyday. When most of us can admit that if men had the option to carry children, they too would be exercising their choice to terminate a pregnancy and defunding Planned Parenthood wouldn’t be at the forefront of Congress’ mind while innocent Black people continue to get gunned down in the street by law enforcement.

At the end of the day, this is bigger than Stacey Dash. It’s about any woman who has been made to feel less than for doing what she felt was best for herself.

Is It A Conflict To Be A Pastor And A Volunteer At Planned Parenthood?

December 18th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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One might think pastor and Planned Parenthood advocate don’t fit hand in hand. But that’s not the case for North Carolina African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister Emma Akpan.

Earlier this week, Akpan wrote a piece for Bustle describing why she believes her work with Planned Parenthood falls in line with the spiritual calling of serving her community.

Akpan began her essay by saying that she resented that fact that amidst all the incidents of racism, police brutality and even police killings, Congress seems to be singularly focused on defunding Planned Parenthood.

“I can no longer watch as the communities I love are threatened and harmed. As a clinic volunteer and reproductive justice advocate, I know how important clinics are to the women and men who rely on them for quality care and health information- including many Black women.”

Akpan said that Black women who may find themselves in more need of abortions because of low wage jobs and other financial hardships, many of which have roots in slavery.

“Black women have had very little reproductive choice. During slavery, we were forced into childbirth to produce more chattel. Then when our bodies were no longer profitable, the medical industry controlled our reproductive choice through forced hysterectomies, coercive birth control and other methods.”

And she mentioned the hypocrisy of society who wants so defund clinics that provide affordable, safe abortions while simultaneously pushing the narrative of the “welfare queen,” shaming single mothers or Black families who may find taking care of their children to be a financial challenge.

Akpan doesn’t appreciate the anti-abortion protestors, many of them Black, in Raleigh, North Carolina, who held up signs quoting that very controversial billboard that read, “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” This year has shown us the womb might be in competition with “in the presence of law enforcement” or “attending a Black church” or “on the streets of America.” But Akpan is particularly troubled by what those signs suggest about Black women.

“They make it seem as if Black women do not make our own decisions, that we are simply pawns in America’s racist society. The appropriation of #BlackLivesMatter language to shame Black women seeking healthcare is divisive and insulting, but sadly unsurprising.”

But perhaps the most interesting part of her article came when Akpan said she works as a clinic greeter because of her faith.

“I am a clinic greeter because of my faith, which teaches me how important it is to provide care for my community. For me, that means ensuring that women have safe access to their health care facilities.”

She concluded the essay by saying:

“Black women and men are targeted in our clinics, churches, and while simply walking down the street, because White supremacy dictates that we shouldn’t be allowed to get health care, to worship, or even to leave our homes. In every instance, the intention is to intimidate us. These attacks are linked, and so we Black leaders in faith communities must be linked in our response. Protesting Planned Parenthood is a tool to intimidate, and we must stand against it. Black women should be able to make and act on our own decisions about abortion, without stigma or fear of violence. Rhetoric that says anything different ignores our history and our health.”

I’m not going to lie, this took me a minute to wrap my mind around. Christian or not, many of us have been told that abortion is wrong. Period. Then, thankfully, for some of us as we learn and get older, we realize that judging and condemning people because they’ve had to make another choice or sin differently than we do, is not the move. In fact, it too is a sin.

Plus, God has given us all free will.

Still, there is a difference between not judging or condemning someone for what we are taught is sin and cosigning that behavior. Which is how I initially perceived Akpan’s decision to work as a greeter.

So, I really had to weigh this one out, out loud, with both my coworkers and myself.

Morally, abortion feels wrong to me. It’s a decision I hope to never have to make for myself. So it baffled me that a faith leader would volunteer at Planned Parenthood when they perform these type of operations.

Planned Parenthood though, despite its reputation in society, is far more than the abortion spot. They give mammograms, provide testing for STDs, give pap smears, physical exams, offer sex education classes and so much more. If you’re a woman with a healthcare need, there’s a chance they’ll be able to help you. The fact that abortions make up just 3 percent of their annual activities is a fact that often goes underreported, if not dismissed altogether.

The thing is, no matter what you’re in need of when you walk into Planned Parenthood, you’ll be judged, likely by the group of protestors standing outside of the building.

And maybe this is where Akpan service comes in.

Let’s just be honest for a minute.

Women, particularly Black women, are often the disenfranchised, double minority in this country. And women who find themselves walking into this clinic for whatever reason, add ostracized to “disenfranchised” and “minority.”

Heaven only knows how these women are feeling when they come in. And then they see Akpan, the greeter, who withholds judgment and instead offers a smiling face and a kind word. As Christians we are commissioned to spread the love of Jesus Christ. And that command is not limited to people we like or agree with or people who don’t sin–because such a person doesn’t exist. We are called to come alongside the poor and discarded, as the women who utilize Planned Parenthood’s services may be.

So while it is a bit unorthodox, so was Jesus when he ran with prostitutes, had dinner with crooks and pardoned thieves as he was dying.

What do you think about Akpan’s work as a greeter at Planned Parenthood being a part of her faith-based work? Does it seem contradictory to you or right in line with what Christians have been commissioned to do.

Ben Carson Says He Would “Love” To See Roe V. Wade Overturned

October 25th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he would “love” to see Roe v. Wade overturned, making abortion illegal in nearly all cases.

“I’m a reasonable person, and if people can come up with a reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby, I’ll listen,” Carson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Carson further explained that he opposed abortions for unwanted pregnancies, in addition to cases of rape and incest saying, “I would not be in favor of killing a baby because the baby came about in that way.” However, he did offer that he would possibly be open to the idea of allowing abortions to “preserve the life and health of the mother.” “That’s an extraordinarily rare situation,” he said. “But if in that very rare situation it occurred, I believe there’s room to discuss that.”

During the interview that aired earlier today (Oct. 25), he also compared the topic of abortion to slavery, and the women who have them to slave owners. “During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave.” Carson said. “Anything that they chose to do.”

Interestingly enough, Carson’s views on abortion haven’t always been so staunch. Back in 1992, he said he “would never advocate it be illegal for a person to get an abortion,” as reported by Yahoo! Politics.

Watch the full interview above.

My Ex Wants Me To Apologize To His Family For Having An Abortion

October 21st, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

For many, abortion is a sensitive matter. It’s a personal decision that no woman should ever be expected to discuss with anyone other than the unborn child’s father. Unfortunately, 28-year-old woman is being pressured to “explain” and apologize to her ex-boyfriend’s family for terminating her pregnancy, so she turned to Reddit for advice.

The woman and her 30-year-old ex, whom she refers to as “Jeff,” were in a relationship for three years. Several weeks prior to their breakup, she learned that she was pregnant. She decided not to tell him before terminating the pregnancy.

Reddit user MyChoiceTheirScorn explains:

I got pregnant right before Jeff and I broke up. I found out a few weeks after we were done. I had no intention of getting back together with him; we had gone no contact. I had the procedure, my best friend stayed with me, and it was done.

Eventually, the woman and Jeff reconnected and they continued to maintain a sexual relationship. He later found out about the abortion.

My sister found out about the procedure and told my ex. She said she “believed he had a right to know.” He didn’t, in my opinion. But what is done is done.

The poster insists that she has always been vocal about not wanting children, and Jeff is pretty firm in his desire to have them, which is where their problems began.

I don’t want kids, and that killed our relationship in the end. He is part of a huge family, is a “junior,” and has a lot of pride in his legacy. His family has an unusual last name, and he believes he owes it to his ancestors to reproduce, which I completely agree is his choice, but it isn’t something I view the same.

I am adopted and didn’t have the best childhood. As such, I am trying to build my own life and discover my own passions. I have no interest in being pregnant or explaining to everyone my choices for terminating, which can make a lot of people uncomfortable.

I have never hidden my views from anyone I dated. It comes up within the first month and usually people are fine with it. We either split ways or we continue dating, knowing that I will exercise my right if my IUD failed.

After finding out about the abortion, Jeff began to insist that the woman discuss her decision with his family.

He demanded we meet up to talk. We got coffee, and he laid into me. He said I destroyed his chances to be a father, his first born had been flushed down like a turd, and he would never forgive me.

He said I owed his whole family a big apology. He claimed he would have taken the baby from me and raised it, without demanding I have part in it’s raising. He would just tell the baby I was dead, which seems insane to me.

I told him that I didn’t owe his family an apology, I was a grown woman, and he knew what he got into when he dated me. He said I cared more about my boob job (breast reduction for back pain) and plastic surgery (I got a nose job, babies don’t affect your nose).

Now I have about 15 people calling demanding to know when I am due. He told his f-ck-ng family I am pregnant but not that I terminated. He wants me to tell them what I did.

How should she handle this situation?

Are You Sharing Your Abortion Story?

September 23rd, 2015 - By Tamika Frye
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Women and what we do with our bodies is always up for debate and discussion. Politicians have made it a point to want to tell women what they can/cannot do with their bodies. There have been plenty of discussions about abortion and whether or not the procedure should remain legal. As the Presidential campaign trail heats up, it is almost a guarantee that candidates will lean on this topic for support.

Social media brings a lot of issues to the forefront. With that being said, the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag is currently trending and gaining steam. With Planned Parenthood and its services being challenged, more and more women are standing up to defend their legal right to choose.

The abortion debate has always been a hot topic. The #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag is drawing public discussion about women’s right to choose and why some women chose to abort. While many think that the main reason for terminating a pregnancy is “rape,” it isn’t. The majority of abortions are focused around finances, career, unstable relationships, lack of responsibility, and age. There are a myriad of reasons why women abort. Whether it’s about her career, bad timing, or the solution to an unplanned pregnancy, abortion is a legal choice that have gotten women out of some pretty sticky situations.

Please don’t get it twisted, abortion is not a method of birth control. Being responsible is taking the necessary precautions to prevent the pregnancy from happening in the first place. Those methods do fail hence putting a woman in the position to have to make such a decision. Not using birth control and turning to abortion to fix things is something the woman has to deal with. Whether it’s the pill or the surgical procedure to terminate the pregnancy, having multiple abortions is a bit much and definitely an abuse of the right to choose.

And what about the men? They are just as responsible in all of this. While their feelings should be considered when making a decision to terminate, a lot of they time they aren’t. Women will abort and not even mention it to their partner, if she knows he will not support her decision. The flip side to that is men aren’t carrying the baby. Men don’t have the same responsibilities so they can walk away at any time.

In the middle of all these arguments and debates is the fetus. There are some people who believe that an unborn fetus is a person and that its rights should be protected. Some women feel that if they abort early enough, in their mind, it’s not considered “killing a child.” Other people feel that life begins at conception. Others feel life begins once outside the womb. People have been charged with double murders when on trial for killing a pregnant woman. While the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 deems a ‘child in utero’ as a human being, there is no right answer for this. It all boils down to what a person believes.

This #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag is giving women the gusto to want to share their abortion story. Personally, I don’t think women need to explain nor share their decision. Since abortions are legal options for women, there shouldn’t be a need to judge a woman by her actions. The guilt of having had an abortion is a heavy burden to bear. While the choice is not an easy one to make, it makes life easier for some.

Are you ready to share your abortion story and #ShoutYourAbortion?

“Don’t Like Abortion? Then Don’t Have One”: Twitter Tackles A Challenging Stigma With #ShoutYourAbortion

September 22nd, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Twitter

Image Source: Twitter

All over Twitter, women (and even men) have been fighting back against the stigma attached to abortion by telling their own stories with #shoutyourabortion. What do you think of this new Twitter movement to support reproductive rights? Check out what these individuals had to say about being pro-choice.

Woman Charged With Murder After She Took An Abortion Pill

June 15th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Woman Charged With Murder After She Took An Abortion Pill

Source: WALB

Kenlissa Jones was charged with malice murder for the death of a 5 1/2 month old fetus. The 23-year-old East Albany, Georgian had been doing some research on the internet and found an abortion pill. She ordered and ingested it. Days, later she became very ill.

A neighbor learned of Jones’ illness and was attempting to drive her to the hospital when Jones delivered the child in the car. The baby was pronounced dead a half an hour later at the hospital.

Shortly afterward, Jones, who already has a 2-year-old son, was arrested and taken to the Dougherty County Jail. She is currently being held there without bond.

WALB-TV spoke with Jones’ brother and he said their family had no idea that Jones was expecting another child. He said that his mother and grandmother are grieving and coping with both the loss of the unborn child and Jones’ absence as best they can.

Under Georgia law, no abortions are authorized after the first trimester, except in a medical facility.

District Attorney Greg Edwards says he has never seen this type of crime before and says it will likely go before a grand jury.

This seems like yet another reason why we need to examine a woman’s reproductive rights in this country. The fact that Jones wasn’t able to make a decision about her own body, without being sentenced to jail time, is extremely unfair.

You can watch the full news story in the video below.

WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

What do you make of this? Should Jones have been arrested and charged with malice murder for terminating her pregnancy?

15 Important Moments In The History Of Abortion Rights And Laws

April 29th, 2015 - By Julia Austin
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history of abortion

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If you think our country has only been arguing over abortion laws in the 20th century and onward, think again. This is an issue that has been rallied about and brought to court since the early 1800s. Here’s a brief overview of the history of abortions in the United States.