Black Women, Reproductive Justice, and Abortion

I am a black woman raised by strong black women, raising black girls to be black women. I am passionate about Reproductive Justice because:

Black women will experience death 4x more than a white woman for pregnancy related causes despite income or educational status

Nearly 20% of BW have no health insurance

Black women experience one of the highest rates of poverty

Black women make less than white men and women

I stand here today giving honor and I channel the energy of my ancestors. This speech is for:

The Black Women who protested and resisted silently. We love you sistahs!

The Black Women who resisted and protested loudly. We love you sistahs.

The Black Women torn from their families and forced on a ship to never see their children and families again.

The Black Women who jumped off the ships with their children, knowing that you rather be dead then imprisoned.

The Black Women who took the herbs and concoctions that they knew from the motherland to abort what was in their womb because they were raped on these American soils and did not want a white man’s baby. We love you sistahs.

The Black Women during the time of enslavement, who birth their children and killed the child, because they knew their child would be more free dead. We love you sistahs.

The Black Women forced to care and breastfeed white babies over their own. We love you sistahs.  

The Black Women experimented on for the name of science to create gynecology as we know it today, imagine the screams and pains. We love you sistahs.

The unknown and other known Black Women who fought and died for Black Women’s reproductive rights. We love you sistahs.

Today, these women are the foremothers of the reproductive rights movement.

There are Black Women fighting around the African Diaspora for our rights as we speak and I pay my respect to you. We love ya’ll sistahs.

So what is Reproductive Justice?  It is the combination of two phrases Reproductive Rights & Social Justice. It was coined by 12 BLACK women in June of 1994, who saw a need for the community to stand up for black women and their reproductive rights.

Similar to what is going on today, Black women were being ignored and left out of the conversation about women’s rights and while Black Women were in Black Movements, women’s rights were not central to the movements mission.

Reproductive Justice is a reflection of the lives of Black Women with multiple identities who were denied a full range of services and protection for being Black & Woman.

Reproductive Justice means to understand, analyze, eradicate power structures (gender, sex, race, etc.). It means to address intersecting oppressions, ALL at once. Black Women should not have to choose between being Black, Woman, or any other identity.  One identity should not suffer for the other(s) to be.

Reproductive Justice is about centering the most marginalized people. The GOAL is Liberation of all oppressed people. The human right is to be achieved when all women and girls have the economic, social, political power and resources to make healthy decisions for our body, families, communities and all areas of our lives.

So that is deciding….to have children, to not have children, and to parent children in safe and sustainable communities.

Reproductive Rights is about access and having a choice. An abortion cost between $500 to $2,000. More than half of Americans have less than $1,000 saved in their savings account. Also, most women cannot afford to travel to get the abortion on other states.

Anti-Abortion Laws are a direct attack on women, especially women at an economic disadvantage and women of color.

Anything to do with our reproductive system is health care. All healthcare should be legal, safe, and affordable.  

The abortion ban is about controlling women. This is harmful, inhumane, and immoral. This is a matter of life and death.

Women could die by not having safe, legal, affordable healthcare, especially poor and black women.

These bans are a clear violation of our rights through the clause of the 14th Amendment, which provides a right to privacy, Roe vs. Wade.

Religion has no place in government. Government cannot control women’s bodies. Old white men cannot make these decisions for us.

Morality is subjective. Government cannot decide what is immoral or moral when it comes to reproductive rights for women. That is an individual assessment.

So what do we do? If they want to ban abortions, they should ban the coverage of Viagra. We live in a time when a men’s erection is more important than a women’s bodies. The government should mandate reversal Vasectomies to all boys/men when they become sexually active until 3 weeks before their marriage, at this point it will be reversed. If a boy/man does not comply and get the vasectomy OR if the vasectomies does not prevent a pregnancy and they cannot afford to raise a child, they will be mandated to get a permanent vasectomy or face up to a life sentence in prison. Also, masturbation should be illegal since you are killing sperm that could make children.

We cannot bear all of the weight on pregnancy prevention. Men must be included.  

We must challenge our government and let our local and state legislatures know that we stand for poor women, we stand for women of color, that we stand for black women, that we stand for reproductive justice.

Sis, if you need someone to help you make any decisions you want about your body, I am here. I know what it feels like to be pregnant and wanting to have an abortion. I understand. I sat down at the Planned Parenthood over 12 years ago in the chair getting an ultrasound done to get an appointment in 48 hours to have the procedure completed. I know the pressure, hope, shame, embarrassment that can come with pregnancy, especially when you are not in an ideal situation. But I am so happy that if I had gone through with an abortion, that I had a safe, affordable, and legal places to getting it completed. I know how hard it is to be a single mother, to look at your children wanting to provide more and cannot. I know how it feels to suffer from postpartum depression. So I understand sis, why you might want to have an abortion. I get it.

I have 3 girls, 3 black girls. I am in this fight because of them too. I want in the future for my daughters to have choice about their reproductive rights. For them to make informed decisions about their life and for them to control their destiny.

For any sistah, regretting any decision they made for theirself. Just know, you made the best decision for you and I am here for you in whatever decision you make about your body.




© 2020 Shané Darby. Paid for by the Members of Shané Darby.