I read a post Black Lives Matter by an anti-abortion blogger.
As a black mother, of course the title caught my eye, but it was the statement that started my journey to a greater knowledge.
Original statement: “Four out of ten black children are killed in the womb. Black lives matter?“
Images Source: Google
This is a real fact that is a concern and another disparity in the African American community. Along with arrests & incarceration, education, and teen pregnancy, (to name a few).
The problem with the statement, for me, is the ‘question mark’ at the end of the statement! “Black lives matter?” (Really?) Yes, black lives still matter and abortion is still killing a fetus, a life. (In my opinion). Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, generalizing black people or the movement with not valuing life, can be considered offensive and racist. (This was my original thought!)
Black Humanity and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement (BLMM)
“In 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in the Dred Scott Decision, that slaves and their descendants were private property, they were not fully human and had no rights at all–therefore were not protected by the U.S. Constitution.” The National Black Pro-Life Union
A lack of self-worth, value and humanity in our “blackness” is deeply embedded in the African American community. It’s a major part of the foundation of our history in this country and it can not be reversed in a specific time frame.
We were taught to hate own skin.
We were taught to be ashamed.
We were told that we were less-than…
We were told that we did not matter.
The #BlackLivesMatter Movement
The Black Lives Matter Movement (BLMM) was created to help eliminate racial discrimination and police brutality & violent acts, and murder against African Americans.
“Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black life. We are working to (re)build the Black liberation movement. This is Not a Moment, but a Movement. #BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our dehumanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society. Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.” Black Lives Matter
#BlackLivesMatter is pro-life when it comes to eliminating discrimination from police officers’, who are shooting and killing unarmed black people. This is the importance of the movement. #stopkillingus
“U.S. police killed at least 258 black people in 2016, according to a project by The Guardian that tracks police killings in America.” More Than 250 Black People Were Killed By Police In 2016 [Updated]
#BlackLivesMatter discussion on pro-life vs. pro-choice
To include the movement in this post, (to me), made it seem like the BLMM supports abortions…. (But do they?)
I had to reach out to this blogger. I have been following them for short while, I like what they stand for, which to me, is life. I am life first, equality second, because you can’t have equality without life.
Here is part of the conversation I had with cultureshift in regards to her original statement:
Pinkspen: That’s a bold statement. It is almost like you are saying that the #BlackLivesMatter movement or black people in general are not pro-life! I am pro-life and I am a Black woman. Although, I do support having a voice, sometimes you have to be careful about how you say things. Generalizing is one of the biggest problems in any form of protest! African Americans compared to White Americans, typically live in poorer neighborhoods with little resources and Public School systems….the lack of education is the problem. Not black people!
cultureshift: The point is that people march in the street trying to protect black lives from injustice, yet ignore the number one killer of black lives — abortion. In fact, abortion kills more black people than all other causes combined. I know there are black pro-life advocates (see picture above), but they are few and far between. I’ve been involved with this movement in every imaginable way, including weekly protests in the street and at abortion centers. There are rarely black people involved. I hope we can change this by working together. We need to awaken the black community to the tragedy of abortion. It’s literally decimating the community. And I agree, education is the key, even when that education stings.
Pinkspen: Raising awareness is one thing, but making a bold statement that the purpose of the black lives matter movement is another. The movement was created for police brutality. There is no need to include the BLM movement. As you stated, there are black pro- life groups, and whether there is 1 or 1,000 they exist to educate. As I stated, more African Americans live in poorer communities. A lack of resources including, transportation, quality schools, health clinics, and social service agencies all contribute to the lack of knowledge in the black community. Your point is valid and it is also offensive.
cultureshift: I edited my post, hopefully addressing your concerns. But I do feel it’s important to point out the hypocrisy of claiming that ‘black lives matter’ while ignoring the greatest destroyer of black lives. In case you were unaware, the Black Lives Matter movement has partnered with Planned Parenthood. Also, in case you weren’t aware, the Radiance Foundation, a pro-life group that’s run by a black man and supported by Alveda King, MLK’s niece, have also pointed out the hypocrisy of the Black Lives Matter movement. Sheriff David Clarke, a black man, has also brought their hypocrisy to light.
As we have agreed, education is key. Thank you so much for all you do to protect our prenatal children of all colors and races.
Pinkspen: I believe there is good and bad in every area of life. For brown people like me, the movement represents supporting the lives of those who are being killed unlawfully by police. No, I was not aware that the movement supports Planned Parenthood but I do know that Planned Parenthood does way more for women than abortions. I appreciate you re-evaluating how your statement was originally written and making some changes. But, if the #BlackLivesMatter movement supports abortion, I do not agree with that. Thank you for all that you do to advocate for unborn children without a voice. You are their voice and what you do is important because every life deserves to live!
New Statement from cultureshift: Four out of ten black children are killed in the womb. Black lives matter as much as any other life, inside and outside of the womb. Take a bold stand to let the world know!
(Sometimes, it’s not what you say, but how you say it)
I appreciate cultureshift taking the time to adjust the point she was trying to make when it came to the BLMMs support of Planned Parenthood. The point that is being made is valid. How can you support Black Lives and be Pro-choice?
After our conversation, I had to do some research on the #BlackLivesMatter movement and their connection to Planned Parenthood.
Here is what I found:
Planned Parenthood and Reproductive Justice
“Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.” Planned Parenthood: Who We Are
Although Planned Parenthood have abortion services, there is more to what they do besides abortions.
(Image Source: Planned Parenthood 2013–2014 Annual Report)
Cecile Richards, “…president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund,” (https://rewire.news/author/cecile-richards/) in 2014, issued a statement in response to an open letter from Monica Raye Simpson, “the Executive Director of SisterSong, the National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective” (https://rewire.news/author/monica-simpson/):
“Planned Parenthood has been proud to stand with our colleagues and partners who developed a reproductive justice framework that has contributed to important political and organizing victories—and has impacted millions of women’s lives. The important fights that your letter outlined—from billboard campaigns to Medicaid expansion efforts to ballot initiatives—are battles that we have fought together, with and for women who need us to be strong, united, and focused on our common mission.” A Response to an Open Letter on Reproductive Justice and ‘Choice’
So, overall, Planned Parenthood and Reproductive Justice (RJ) are in connection with one another!
Sister Song, the Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, believes that Reproductive Justice is…
- A human right. RJ is based on the United Nations’ internationally-accepted Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a comprehensive body of law that details the rights of individuals and the responsibilities of government to protect those rights.
- About access, not choice. Mainstream movements have focused on keeping abortion legal as an individual choice. That is necessary, but not enough. Even when abortion is legal, many women of color cannot afford it, or cannot travel hundreds of miles to the nearest clinic. There is no choice where there is no access.
- Not just about abortion. Abortion access is critical, and women of color and other marginalized women also often have difficulty accessing: contraception, comprehensive sex education, STI prevention and care, alternative birth options, adequate prenatal and pregnancy care, domestic violence assistance, adequate wages to support our families, safe homes, and so much more.
#BlackLivesMatter partnership with Reproductive Justice
The #BlackLivesMatter Movement (BLMM) has partnered with Reproductive Justice, not Planned Parenthood exactly, but there is a connection due to the reproductive services that Planned Parenthood provides for women.
“Black Lives Matter co-founder, Alicia Garza, explained the intersectional connection between the two movements, which are both working to bring about a culture where Black families can exist without fear of violence from the state. ‘Even though Black Lives Matter gets talked about as being primarily focused on transforming law enforcement, Black Lives Matter has always been an intersectional organizing approach and intersectional organizing project,’ Garza said. ‘Reproductive justice is very much situated within the Black Lives Matter movement…The way we talk about it, it isn’t just about the rights of women to be able to determine when and how to be able to start families, but also our ability to raise families.'”
Images Source: Google
“Monica Raye Simpson, executive director of SisterSong: National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and director of the Trust Black Women Partnership, made a statement of ‘…solidarity with Black Lives Matter to affirm that the work that we’ve been doing for 20 years for Black women’s reproductive freedom and justice is connected to the movement for Black lives, and to recognize that Black Lives Matter has brought things to a crucial tipping point,’ said, on the call. ‘Through this statement, we formally declare fellowship with Black Lives Matter, and we know that we must stand together or fall separately.’”
Planned Parenthood, in connection with the Reproductive Justice Collective, believe that women should have the right to make decisions about their bodies in regards to having a child. There is so much debate around the pro-choice/pro-life controversy and we all have our own opinions.
No, I do not believe women should have abortions, but I understand that it is their choice because the option exists.
I think that it is important to give women a voice. Free will is the right of every human. Sometimes, we make good choices and sometimes we make bad choices. I do not judge women who have had an abortion, especially women who were raped and decided not to have their child. It’s not about judgement. For me, I am pro-life because I value life. I think every human being should experience life. I can’t imagine the guilt and turmoil women go through after having an abortion…but it is their choice to make.
When it comes to the BLMM, I think the partnership with Reproductive Justice is needed in terms of prevention of pregnancy, not termination. It seems like the focus of partnering with Reproductive Justice for #BlackLivesMatter, is giving women of color the same resources that the upper-middle and upper classes have in suburban communities (which is majority White Americans); the ability to raise children safely, with quality health care; the ability to have the same access to the options provided by our federal government when it comes to abortion, birth control, and positive women’s health.
Garza, the co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, stated that the union was formed for “the rights of women to be able to determine when and how to be able to start families.” Having sex is a choice, whether you are 13-years-old or 50. I believe that if there was more funding toward pregnancy prevention, there might be lower rates of abortions. Because Reproductive Justice supports women’s rights to choose to have an abortion, some anti-abortionist believe that the BLMM supporting RJ means supporting African Americans killing children in the womb. Even if BLMM is pro-choice, that does not diminish the work they are trying to do when it comes to stopping police violence against African Americans, and support women’s rights!
For the African American community, I think there needs to be more emphasis on prevention of pregnancy, due to the limited resources in low-income communities. “For Blacks, the 2014 poverty rate was 26.2 percent and there were 10.8 million people in poverty.” Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014. Due to limited resources, it can be difficult to provide educational materials to those who need it most. Lacking quality education, seems to be overlooked when it comes to judging that “Four out of ten black children are killed in the womb.” There is a reason for everything. I believe that the lack of support for black women when it comes to their reproductive health, quality resources for pregnancy prevention, and living in poverty, are sole reasons for this concern.
I do not feel that the partnership was created between Reproductive Justice and #BlackLivesMatter was for the intent of promoting black women to have abortions. I think the union is about equality and for providing educational information to the health and wellness of all women because clearly, it is not just Black women having abortions, “37% of women having abortions are white, 37% are black, 19% are Hispanic, and 7% other races. -via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (last updated November 2015)” Bound 4 Life Statistics.
Even if you are pro-choice, you are pro-life (in my opinion), because in a perfect world, abortion would not exist; we would all choose life over death. The reality is, you can judge someone, but that does not uplift them; it does not show them love in tragic situations. Bashing or shaming someone for a choice they made is not how you end abortion! Showing love, education, and prevention are how you change the high rates of abortions in the Black community.
Make the choice to use contraception to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
Do your research! Know your facts! Support life!
Featured Image Source: StockSnap.io