Commentary: Poor Health Care Leads to Black Abortions

While people argue about increasingly popular anti-Black abortion billboards, it’s necessary to remember why Black women have abortions in the first place.

Posted: 07/13/2011 07:00 PM EDT
Filed Under Abortion

Urban Americans cities have for months now struggled with an ugly new trend: anti-abortion billboards placed in highly trafficked areas that say things like, “The most dangerous place for an African-American child is in the womb.” Anti-abortion activists have existed as long as abortion itself, but in the past they haven’t been so vocal about ending abortion in the Black female community, which does undergo a disproportionate number of the procedures annually. Wednesday, a new article seeks to show that although Black women get more abortions than the population at large, there are very clear-cut reasons for that, which should be explained.

 

San Jose Mercury News writer Scott Johnson reports that the number of abortions Black women are having isn’t the thing we should be focusing on. Instead, what America should be considering is why Black women are having so many abortions, which, it should be noted, is a completely legal and standard medical procedure.

 

According to a 2008 report from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit focusing on reproductive health issues, 4 out of 10 accidental pregnancies end in abortion. It should come as no surprise to you that many of those accidental pregnancies are those of low-income and minority women. Economic instability can lead to a whole host of problems, not the least of which are rocky sexual relationships and less access to contraception. Condoms and birth control cost money, and if you don’t have a lot of money, they can be more difficult to come across than for the average American.

 

Beyond that, African-American women have less access to medical care in general than their white counterparts, meaning they learn less about how to prevent pregnancy and how to engage in safer sex. All this in mind, it’s no wonder Black women are having more abortions. If you don’t give someone the tools and knowledge to prevent a pregnancy, you can’t then fault them for utilizing tools to end their pregnancy.

 

"It is reprehensible, and disrespectful to the African-American community," Lupe Rodriguez, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman told the News. "They're trying to single out one part of the overall health care of that community, and using a wedge issue to divide people."

 

It’s always easy to demonize people when they’re engaging in behavior with which you don’t agree. But it’s always more important to ask yourself why they’re behaving like that in the first place. The answer will usually soften your view of them.

(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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