There has been a lot of comprehensive, thoughtful discussion of race and its intersection with reproduction on the intertubes recently.
Do Black Women’s Reproductive Rights Matter? by Renee at Womanist Musings
Race and the Rights of Childbearing Women by Jill at the Unnecesarean
Women of Color and the Anti-Choice Focus on Eugenics by Pamela Merritt (aka Angry Black Bitch) at RH Reality Check
The Facts About Abortion Rates Among Women of Color by Susan Cohen on RH Reality Check
I wrote a reply on the last post, which I will reproduce here:
When I wrote about this on my own blog recently, a commenter mentioned the recently released movie Maafa 21, which was funded by an anti-choice group out of Texas not known for its civil rights history.
I hope this conversation continues, and the dominant voices aren’t the ones that use the horrible history of blacks in America and eugenics to try to deprive them of reproductive freedoms today. I was searching for a womanist, feminist and racially sensitive review (preferably by a woman of color) of the movie, but was only able to find copied and pasted press releases about how “well argued” it is. I don’t think it’s irrefutable at all, nor do I think laws banning or restricting legal and safe abortion help women of color. Rather, they would be the ones disproportionally getting unsafe abortions. I can only assume most people, including pro-choice and / or womanist women of color, don’t want to sit through the film in order to discuss it. I do think watching it is important, but considering all the important work I agree with that I don’t have time to watch, this film is low on my list. And, it doesn’t use my history to argue against my rights, (just the history of some of my ancestors’ enslavement and oppression of blacks) since I am white, so I can only guess that it wouldn’t be as difficult to watch for me as it would be for a woman of color.
That’s the problem when race and racism intersects with other social issues. And it does. With all of them. The fact that racism shows an effect in abortion rates doesn’t condemn abortion, it condemns racism. Racism is present in heart attack treatment in emergency rooms, but that doesn’t condemn treatment of heart attacks. It affects birth, mode of delivery, place of delivery, complication (morbidity) rates for the mom and the baby including preterm delivery, mortality rates, etc. That doesn’t condemn obstetrics in general, but it indicates that racism is pervasive, and is one of the many issues within obstetrics (and emergency care, and reproductive care) that needs to be examined and improved upon.