The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by our guest columnists do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of this publication.
Deputy Director SisterSong, a national, women of color led Reproductive Justice Collective
I am sick of watching the news and seeing another Black mother mourning the loss her child to state sanctioned violence or a woman struggling to care for her family after losing a job as a result of this pandemic or another policy pushed to take away our bodily autonomy. I am tired of seeing all the political games played on the backs of Black women as we cry out for help.
The systems of this country were not designed to support our health and liberation. Black women in the US are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. Racial disparities exist even when socioeconomic status is accounted for. The fact is that systemic oppression pushes out of reach the services and care that we need when we are trying to plan our families, have a healthy pregnancy and raise our children in safety and with dignity. Racism is pervasive not only in the provision of health services, but also in the way that care has been medicalized to push birth workers out of the process and policies and programs are crafted more to control our reproduction than support our health and wellbeing.
Right now, Colorado voters are being asked to consider Proposition 115, which would take away access to abortion later in pregnancy. This policy is sadly predicated on a host of myths and misinformation about how abortion is provided and truly insulting claims about the people who seek care, but it is also about laying the groundwork to take away all access to abortion throughout pregnancy.
I know that many people who need to seek an abortion later in pregnancy are facing a complication or a tough diagnosis. This is a time when we need to make sure that people are able to talk with their families and work with their health provider to look at all of their options. At a time when Black women are facing high rates of complications we should be doing all we can to make sure that the care and support is there – not judgment and certainly not more barriers.
For Black women, this is not a debate. It is a call to action for our futures. We must ensure that when someone needs an abortion that they can get safe care, when someone wants to add to their family they have the support and services to have a healthy pregnancy, and that we each have what we need to manage our health and care for our families. That is the conversation we should be. This is not about politics for Black women. It is about our health, our lives and our dignity. Vote “No” on Proposition 115.
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