I am probably going to get a lot of people mad about this post, but Black women need to talk about contraceptives and abortion. It seems like we can’t because in largely Black circles, there is a small but vocal minority that shame Black women for our reproductive and sexual choices. We have all seen the ads about abortion. We have dealt with the folks who shame Black women by calling us hoes, thots, etc. We have heard the nation building nonsense. I have always wondered why are they so worried about our reproductive choices. I have come to one conclusion.
First, we have to ask why they are against contraceptives and abortion but offer no practical means to care for children after they are born. Their reasoning is about the life of a child. That is admirable, but these same people are against government aid for children that would improve a child’s quality of life. So what is the real reason they are against a Black woman’s reproductive choice?
The thing is everyone knows that when Black women have children, children change our lives. If we are honest, having children can limit our social and economic opportunities. If we want to be real, I am talking about poverty. According to Bread.org, “nearly 50 percent of African-American households headed by a single mother live in poverty, compared to 42.2 percent of all U.S. single-mother households.” We haven’t even touched sexually transmitted diseases, and those numbers are really frightening. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “the fourth largest number of all new HIV infections in the United States in 2010 (5,300) occurred among African American women with heterosexual contact. What is even scarier is “of the total number of estimated new HIV infections among women, 64% (6,100) were in African Americans. Read more here.
Knowing these things why in the heck would anyone be against contraceptives is beyond me. The truth is deep down many people are against contraceptives and abortion because they want to punish sexually active Black women. I believe it is deeply rooted in religion, sexism and racism. Notice how many of these people cite religion for their beliefs. It is the women are evil idea because 6,000 years ago one woman ate an apple thing. It is the double standard where men can have sex with as many people as he can and he is still respected. If women have multiple partners she is disrespected. It is why people hang on to the old welfare queen myth when we know it is untrue. Because of those factors we’ve been conditioned to believe sexually active women are bad and sexually active Black women are really, really bad. Deep down they see poverty, disease and misery as punishment for our sinful sexual Jezebel ways.
Some might say, being pro-contraceptives and pro-choice means I am against children. Now don’t get me wrong. Children are wonderful. I have two myself, but it is not about that. I am just not naïve to the motives of others. Being anti-contraceptives and anti-abortion has always been about punishing women.
These are the reasons why I am pro-choice and pro-contraceptives. I want Black women to enjoy their sexual freedom, control their reproductive choices and have a great life. When you cannot express your sexuality it is hard to have a fulfilling life. When you have kids you cannot afford it is hard to have a great life. When you cannot control your healthcare decisions it is hard to have a great life. So if you use contraceptives or decide to have an abortion, I support you. You are doing what is right for you. If you don’t, it is your choice. You are doing what is right for you and I support you. All I ask is for you to respect the choices of all Black women.
One more thing. I am going to do what others are afraid to tell Black women. You have options sis. You can decide when you want to have children or if you don’t want children at all. You also have the right to protect yourself from sexually transmitted illnesses. Take a look at WomensHealth.gov’s list of contraceptives. Please consult your doctor before using any contraceptives and pick the one that is right for you. Finally, you have the right to live life on your terms.
Types of birth control
- Contraceptive sponge
- Diaphragm, cervical cap, and cervical shield
- Female condom
- Male condom
- Oral contraceptives — combined pill (“The pill”)
- Oral contraceptives — progestin-only pill (“Mini-pill”)
- The patch
- Vaginal ring
- Implantable rods
- Intrauterine devices
- Sterilization implant
- Surgical sterilization
The only limit you have is the one you have placed on yourself. Think and be limitless.
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