Let’s face it, telling a woman what to do with her body is wrong! So no matter how pro-lifers try to twist the argument, it all comes down to this: it is a woman’s right to choose and make decisions about her reproductive health. And this includes self-determining motherhood and whether or not to have an abortion. With the hangman’s noose hovering over the neck of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, and the Trump administration’s current attempt to stack the Court in their conservative favor, women’s reproductive rights is an everyday headline. And as the controversy wages on, so too are conservative elected officials and anti-abortion activists who are becoming more and more outrageous with their arguments. In their desperate efforts to sway public opinion and ultimately overturn one of the most important Supreme Court decisions in our modern era, they have turned up the heat on Planned Parenthood by attacking, discrediting and if they have their way, ultimately defunding the organization that is the nation’s leading provider and advocate for high-quality, affordable health care for women. In both of these realities, the people who will be disproportionately affected are Black women; who according to the Centers for Disease Control are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy related complications than White women. Despite these sobering truths, voices in the Black community are also joining the bandwagon; throwing stones at Planned Parenthood by propagating the rhetoric about the organization’s founder, Margaret Sanger, who is said to have been into negative eugenics and it being her motivation to provide birth control to Black women in Brooklyn and Harlem. My point is, let’s say all this about Margaret Sanger is true – she was a white supremacist, she was into eugenics, and her goal was to reduce the birth rate of black people; so what!? That was 100 years ago. Why are we hung up on prosecuting those “crimes” now? Especially at a time when Black women, in particular, are more than ever in need of the services of Planned Parenthood; making up 14 percent of its clientele. Even more disturbing is that the historical inequitable access to high quality healthcare has resulted in Black women being twice as likely to have an unwanted pregnancy as a white woman, and 40 percent more probable to die of breast cancer than white women are at every stage of diagnosis. Moreover, we must not overlook the fact that women’s reproductive health is not just about abortion. That brings us to all the other non-abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood, which include breast and colon cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid screenings; rape crisis counseling referrals, and smoking cessation support. According to Planned Parenthood, of the 10.6 million services provided in a given year, about 3% were abortion procedures. The other 97% includes testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, cancer screening and prevention, and pregnancy testing and prenatal services. Another simple fact that seems to be escaping through the cracks of the anti-abortion pomposity is that a woman’s right to have an abortion does not mean she has to have an abortion. This is about choice. So any woman can choose not to have an abortion. Alcohol is available everywhere; however I choose not to drink alcohol. Not because it is available to me means that I have to choose to drink it. Therefore, I am hard-pressed to understand why – in particular, any man – is threatened by a woman in another state choosing to have an abortion? It’s simply ridiculous. Sadly, the Republican majority in Washington and the anti-abortion activists seem to care about life when it is in the womb. But once out the womb, the right to live a quality life disappears. Therefore, we don’t need to give people housing, medical insurance, or a descent education. And oh yea, it’s okay to own a gun.  The message here is we do not care about you once you’re alive and in the world, but when you are a fetus and in the womb of your mother, we know how to protect you. Hence, I suggest that we stop calling them pro-lifers, when indeed their main objective is “born rights” and in their opinion, the only Black life that matters is that of the fetus. A woman’s right to control her body is a civil right. Take that away and we are on a slippery slope to nowhere. For me this is the sobering reality: for Black women, unplanned pregnancies is not about lifestyle, it is about life…and in too many cases death. Forty-five years ago when abortion became legal in this country, it saved women from having to seek out $5 back alley abortions. Now it’s one of the safest medical procedures in the United States — with a safety record of over 99 percent.  Roe v. Wade, which afforded women that right, should not even be up for debate… that’s the bottom line.  

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