In my humble opinion…
On April 25, an estimated 1.1 million women and men gathered in Washington,
DC on the national mall for the March to Save Women’s Lives. March organizers
estimate that the march drew as many women as the historic 1995 Million Man
March, where organizers claimed there were an estimated 2 million participants.
Regardless of the count accuracy, one salient point is true: The struggle
for women’s reproduction and abortion rights has secured its prominent
place in the American and global public policy discourse with new energy, leaders,
and activists: Black people, other women of color, and self-professed Christian
For the first time in the history of the reproduction rights movement people
of color, specifically, prominent Black leaders and organizations have entered
the movement on the side of pro-abortion activists. When first grappling with
the issues surrounding the abortion movement, my dear friend and well-respected
political operative stated, “As a woman, my life and women’s lives
are much broader than abortion and reproductive health is bigger than abortion.”
Is the fight for women’s reproductive rights and health a shift in the
agenda of women’s rights activists…abortion rights supporters…or
Is the fight for women’s reproduction rights equivalent to the fight
for freedom led by organizations like the Southern Christian Leadership Council
(SCLC) and National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP)?
Are the moral values taught on Sunday mornings by Black protestant preachers
outdated now that Black elite organizations and leaders have aligned themselves
with the abortion rights movement…reproduction rights movement?
Loretta Ross, executive director of the National Center for Human Rights Education
and the first African American woman to co-direct a national protest for choice
stated prior to the march, “Women of color support the right to choose
and women's right to not be enslaved by the unborn. I would have participated…even
if the event organizers hadn't reached out to include women of color in leadership
roles. But I'm pleased that while we are marching for the right to choose,
other issues will also be present, like how hard it is for poor women, who
are mostly women of color, to raise children without any real social services."
Last February, the NAACP National Board of Directors passed a resolution that
stated, "A woman denied the right to control her own body is denied equal
protection of the law, a right the NAACP has fought for and defended for nearly
100 years." Prior to the march, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond stated, "I
am proud to lead an NAACP delegation to this important event. The NAACP has
long been determined to ensure that women of color face no obstacles in accessing
every kind of health care; the right to reproductive choice and control of
her own body is one of the most important."
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Everything is permissible, but not everything
is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive.
Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” Paul goes on
to write, “do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the
Church of God—even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am
not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”
The Black Women’s Health Imperative, a march co-sponsor and the only
national organization devoted solely to the health of America’s Black
women and girls states, “The time is now for Black women to make an unmistakable
show of public support for our reproductive rights, health and self-determination.”
In place of a statement directly from President Bush, The White House issued
a statement that read, "The president believes we should work to build
a culture of life in America and regardless of where one stands on the issue
of abortion, we can all work together to reduce the number of abortions through
promotion of abstinence-education programs, support for parental-notification
laws and continued support for banning partial-birth abortion.”
I wonder if this generation has determined the lessons on freedom taught from
the pulpits of the 1960’s has gone through a revolutionary change as
elite Black leaders and organizations choose to side with a movement concentrated
on replacing our President, regardless of whether the movement is aligned with
issues that challenge their Biblical lessons and moral beliefs.
Is the desire to remove President Bush from office worth broadening the issues
of the abortion rights movement to include the equal access to health services
and prevention information for Black women and other women of color?
Should Blacks and people of color chance allowing another generation of people
from a different group of the American melting pot, the dominant culture in
America, to change Christian Believers allegiance, Biblical interpretations,
or the definition of the fight for freedom and equality in America and around
the world or does it behoove Blacks, women of color, and self-professed Christian
Believers to get involved in the fight for freedom on their own terms?
Part One of a Three Part Series