An anti-abortion group in Atlanta has produced several billboards that read, “Black children are an endangered species.” The anti-choice group, Georgia Right to Life, claims that too many African American women are having abortions and that this is reducing the population rate of African American children. They are also targeting Planned Parenthood for providing abortions services and claiming that Planned Parenthood is targeting African Americans specifically.
In addition, House Bill 1155 proposed to the Georgia General Assembly, states that anyone that persuades another person to have an abortion based on race, sex, or color is a criminal act and for that they must be punished. According to the recent New York Times article, Georgia Rights to Life states that they do not want any of these messages to objectify African American women, rather to shed light on a situation that is affecting the entire population.
The billboards — there are 65 now and will eventually be 80, Ms. Davis said — were created in conjunction with a new Web site, http://www.toomanyaborted.com, which says that all of Georgia’s abortion clinics are in “urban areas where blacks reside.” The Web site connects abortion to segregation, saying that after the civil rights era, racists went “underground,” and that today “abortion is the tool they use to stealthily target blacks for extermination.
Yet none of these assertions are supported by data, which according to the Center for Disease Control, shows that African American women remain amongst those with the highest rates of childbearing.
So why do Planned Parenthood’s exist in African American communities? The purpose of Planned Parenthood is to provide women with information, offer reproductive health services, and to allow folks to make informed decisions about their health. The existence of clinics in these neighborhoods ensures better access to health care services, improving the overall health of a community.
We need to look at the bigger picture and realize the consequences that these billboards and messages will be creating. Our ally SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective suggests that if this bill passes, not only will we be taking away a woman’s right to abortion, but it will also put women’s health in jeopardy. This bill could possibly alter the relationship between a patient and a doctor, affecting the medical services that could be available to women.
These billboards are not solving a problem; they are trying to create a barrier between a woman and her right to choose. As reproductive justice advocates we work toward a world where every woman has the ability create the family she’d like to create–without fear of persecution or propaganda.
By Sheila Reynoso, Research Intern