by Toma Lynn Smith, Volunteer escort for an abortion provider in Louisville, KY
Some will say abortion is slavery. As a volunteer who escorts patients into an abortion clinic to "fend off" the protesters, I routinely meet the people who spew that kind of rhetoric.
Once, a female protester actually said to me: "What are you doing? You're killing your race!" She told me some statistics about the number of black fetuses found in a garbage can and something about how this is just slavery all over again. But if an anti-choice protester wants to play that game, then she is the real "master," for forcing her opinions on others.
The attempt to make the decisions of mothers of black children to abort their babies into some kind of genocide conspiracy is despicable. When I think about genocide, I think about those who were lynched in the South because they were black, along with the millions of Jews who were put to death in Germany during the Holocaust. For someone or some organization to support the idea that abortion is a genocide of the black race is outright disgusting and unfair. Moreover, it's insulting!
When "pro-lifers" put pressure on a girl or woman, protesting at a clinic or some other equally brazen act, they are taking away her freedom.
There are theories out there that abortion clinics are deliberately placed in predominately black neighborhoods to kill off the black race. Since medical providers are businesses (unfortunately), they are only going to locate where there are customers. Low-income women and women of color need a full range of reproductive health options: It's a case of supply and demand.
If some black women are turning to abortion as a form of birth control, let's be realistic and offer sensible alternatives: Have birth control readily available, teach self esteem so girls/women will know they have a right to say no and to walk away if their partner doesn't want to use a condom, and most importantly let them live in homes free of violence and earn a wage that can really provide for a family!
I can't speak for all mothers of black children who choose abortion and think that health and access to health care, economics or safety has anything to do with their abortion decision.
I am a black woman who wrote this piece, but this does not mean I speak for all black women or black people. Unfortunately due to the narrow-mindedness of our culture, many think that if one black person speaks that they are somehow speaking for all that look like them.
This is what's sad for a woman of color who chooses to terminate her pregnancy: that she has this huge responsibility to procreate for her race.
I've never been pregnant, but I strongly believe no one plans to have an abortion. And when a woman makes that decision, no one -- and I mean no one -- should ridicule a mother for her choice, regardless of what race she is!