On Personhood: The Dehumanization of Black Women & Children

On February 4th, Feministing posted a link regarding the recent efforts of anti-abortion groups in Georgia to claim that black women have so many abortions that “black children are an endangered species.” On February 5th, The New York Times published an article about the billboards that publicize this claim:

The billboards — there are 65 now and will eventually be 80, Ms. Davis said — were created in conjunction with a new Web site, www.toomanyaborted.com, which says that all of Georgia’s abortion clinics are in “urban areas where blacks reside.” The Web site connects abortion to segregation, saying that after the civil rights era, racists went “underground,” and that today “abortion is the tool they use to stealthily target blacks for extermination.”


Ms. Davis said Georgia Right to Life would also support state legislation that would make it a crime for abortion providers to solicit business based on the race or sex of the fetus. (Emphasis added.)

Ms. Davis, I’m sorry but your argument just doesn’t hold up. Even though, according to the article, 57.4 percent of abortions in Georgia were performed on black women, do you actually think making abortion illegal will improve women and children’s lives? Don’t you think comprehensive sexuality education and resources would assist these women better than making abortion de facto illegal?
The way Ms. Davis, and other anti-abortion advocates, frame this argument is both misogynistic and racist. She claims to care, but her goal is not to improve the lives of black women and children. Making abortion illegal will not improve our lives, and neither will any of the proposals anti-abortion groups support, like abstinence-only education and stricter laws regarding contraception.
This billboard dehumanizes both black women and children, by asserting that black children are an “endangered species,” which animalizes them, and by asserting that black women have no control over our own bodies and that we’re somehow intellectually weak enough to be controlled by the so-called eugenics-crazed poor-black-baby-eaters, aka Planned Parenthood.
Loretta Ross highlights another layer to the clusterfuck of anti-abortion advocacy: Planned Parenthood did not infiltrate black communities with genocide on the brain. Black communities specifically sought out and requested PP’s services. Why? Ms. Ross lays it down: “Controlling our fertility was part of our uplift out of poverty strategy, and it still works.”
So thank you, anti-abortion advocates, for proving once again that you do not have women or children’s interests at heart. You are a movement that upholds racism, sexism, and heteronormativity. You cry out for the official recognition of personhood for the fetus, yet you dehumanize marginalized women and children in order to achieve your goal. Animalizing black children and demonizing black women is an excellent illustration of just how insincere anti-abortion groups are.
If you are as upset about this as I am, and can afford it, please send a donation in honor of Ms. Davis or www.toomanyaborted.com to Ms. Ross’ organization, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective. Women and children of color need reproductive health care access and comprehensive sexuality education, not billboards that shame and animalize us.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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