Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Trust Black Women and Halt Attacks on Bodily Autonomy

RH Reality Check (Jan. 14, 2016): For Black Women's Lives to Matter, Legislators Must Halt Attacks on Our Bodily Autonomy, by Monica Simpson:

Monica Simson of SisterSong responds to comments made by Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI) criticizing the Congressional Black Caucus and the Black Lives Matter movement for not working to limit abortion access.  Simpson calls out Duffy and other politicians who seek to push aside the Black Lives Matter movement's emphasis on Black lives by declaring that all lives matter.  Recent attempts such as the "All Lives Matter Act" introduced by Rep. Mike Moon (R-MO) which seeks to define a fertilized egg as a person further co-opt the movement.  "Rep. Moon sees an opportunity to use the mantle of a movement that is about the dignity of the Black community to mount an attack on Black women’s access to care." Simpson writes:

Black women have historically faced disparities in access to reproductive health care, including abortion. Chronic health conditions plague our community, and yet many of the lawmakers who claim to care about all lives—which should mean our lives too—have been silent, or worse, they have pushed for steeper cuts to health programs.

Where is their care for Black babies when Black women have endured forced sterilization in hospitals, in prisons, in our doctor’s offices? Where is their concern about the fact that Black women experience a high rate of maternal mortality or that Black families are more likely to struggle with food insecurity and to become homeless?

Simpson emphasizes that for Black women the fight to dismantle white supremacy and the fight against those who seek to control Black women's reproduction has always been intrinsically linked. "We do need politicians to Trust Black Women to make our own decisions about our bodies, our families, and our lives and to join us in speaking out against such vitriol when their colleagues don’t."


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