FEMINIST FRIDAY – ‘The Racial Politics Of Abortion’ & It’s Impact On Black Women

racial-politics-of-abortions

Welcome to another edition of Feminist Friday! By now you know the drill – this is our ongoing series where we share a handful of videos we have been watching over the past week. We search far and wide for interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking videos that add to the feminist conversation happening online.

We also want YOU to share your videos with us, so be sure to email us and share your link as it may just appear in this series! We’ve shared a number of light-hearted videos in previous weeks, but this week we’re taking things up a notch to promote some videos that explore a feminist topic that is very important to us – abortion access and reproductive rights.

Not too long ago, a feature length documentary called ‘Trapped’ was released by filmmaker Dawn Porter, who focused on the way certain TRAP laws (targeted regulation of abortion providers) are hurting women and clinics because of the undue burden these restrictions place on them. The US Supreme Court struck down some of the most obstructive parts of Texas’ HB2 law in July, which forced clinics to adhere to hospital emergency room standards.

More recently, The Virginia Board of Health did the same in a hearing which determined the TRAP laws in the state were at odds with the SCOTUS ruling. But within the greater issue of abortion and legislation lies a topic thread that is not often discussed in high-level mainstream conversations – race. Only very recently has this come into the spotlight in talks about the need to abolish the Hyde Amendment, a federal law that prohibits federal money from funding abortion which statistics show affects minority and low-income women the most.

Dawn Porter teamed up with Essence and Time to release a 2-part short documentary called ‘The Racial Politics of Abortion’ to give viewers an in-depth look at how this issue affects communities of color.

In an op-ed for Essence.com where the docu-series was shared, Dawn explains why she felt compelled to make this after releasing ‘Trapped’.

“When ESSENCE and TIME asked me to make this short two-part film about the racial politics of abortion, I discovered that I have a very personal connection to the subject. Despite the fact that I had already made a documentary called Trapped about abortion, I didn’t fully understand how it had affected my own family history, how it had even triggered an incident with the KKK and one of my relatives,” she said.

She goes on to say the stories she heard from the many women interviewed while making ‘Trapped’ broke her heart and made her realize how complex abortion is. But when it comes to black women, those complications become even more pronounced.

“Race still plays a role in abortion politics. At abortion clinics across the South, White protestors hold pictures of Black babies as they shout at women entering the clinics. And it’s not just White protesters. Even though polls show that most African-Americans describe themselves as pro-choice, there are scores of Black anti-abortion activists who also use race in their anti-choice rhetoric,” Dawn writes.

We can look at the statistics, which show that the most women who receive abortions are white but black women are 5 times more likely than white women to get an abortion, but they don’t convey the full story, she says.

“It doesn’t tell you that the overwhelming reason the women I met gave for having an abortion was that they simply could not afford another child. And it doesn’t tell you the heartache behind these decisions. Often our stories, the stories of Black women, are too often lost or overlooked, but I hope this film will give new voice to the hard choices that so many women face.

Watch part 2 of ‘The Racial Politics of Abortion’ below to start a conversation about the intersection of race and reproductive rights.

3 Comments

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