The Hush on Abortion — In These Times

The Hush on Abortion — In These Times.

Features » April 9, 2010

What the silence surrounding black abortion rates says about race relations in America.

By Shell Fischer

Film still from Silent Choices (Photo by: Melissa Cliver)

Black women frequently feel a tension between asking for government support for access to family planning and opposing efforts by policymakers to use birth control to limit family size.

Several years ago, during their “annual argument about abortion,” documentary filmmaker Faith Pennick’s pro-life friend asserted that as African Americans, they shouldn’t be arguing in the first place, since abortion is a “white woman’s issue” and black women have more important things to worry about.

Shocked by this statement, Pennick started doing extensive research to dispute her friend’s assertion, and the result was Silent Choices, an award-winning documentary that explores black women’s experiences with abortion—a topic Pennick and other black reproductive rights activists say is blanketed in silence.

“White women not only allow themselves to talk about this issue, but willingly own it and take it on as the bellwether of politics, of why they vote,” Pennick says. “But as black women, we feel if we acknowledge we have abortions, or even considered having an abortion, we’re going to be looked down upon not only as women, but as a race.”

This silence is significant, Pennick says, when one considers a recent study by the Guttmacher Institute that shows black women obtain abortions at rates three to five times higher than white women.

Read the entire article at The Hush on Abortion — In These Times. Thanks to Delia Aguilar for this link.

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. I don’t know if the comment is relevant but this post has led me to a questioning similar to the one I have had since I watched the movie “Precious”: Un-silencing Incest in African American families.

  2. Certainly relevant. As women are silenced is general, the silencing goes deeper depending on race/ethnicity/class of the women. Whatever the suppression, it is experienced differently in different groups. “Women” have no one voice nor one experience. We need to hear all the voices being silenced and make visible what has been hidden too long.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: