Blacks and the right to choose

I know someone who paid for an abortion of a child he did not father. The brotha and some friends gave their finances to a young woman who believed she’d made a collegiate mistake.While there are layers of secrecy surrounding the pro-choice/pro-life debate, my friends bailed their peers out of a difficult situation. All involved parties are Black.

Although statistics vary about Black single parent households and numerous Black youth end up reared by relatives rather than parents, some would-be mothers and fathers decide to take another path.

Black women, who are less than one-tenth of the United States’ population, have more than a third of the nation’s abortions, according to Centers for Disease Control and The Root.com.

While abortion is an unsettling fact for many because of religious affiliations, cultural silence about personal issues and/or different perspectives of what constitutes life, it doesn’t change the fact that women become pregnant, and some, in turn, choose termination of pregnancy.

The 37th anniversary of the case that changed it all was about a week and a half ago. Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, intensified the national debate about women’s rights. It set the stage for some of today’s uterus-centric politics.

Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan is one of the leading voices in opposition to a woman’s right to choose.

Stupak boasts an anti-abortion record. Many women believe he represents government interference with individual reproductive choices.

Regardless of his opinions about the validity of abortion as a choice and even his votes regarding abortion, women will continue to have them.

If the United States follows the lead of Tanzania and bans abortion, women will be forced into even more compromising scenarios than living with the weight of such a decision for the rest of their lives.

They could die, like many women in Tanzania, who illegally seek abortions.

In a country that prohibits choice, these women seek assistance from imprecise “pseudo-physicians,” as reported in The New York Times.

Some will say these women are opportunists who did the deed and rejected the seed. Anti-abortion people should just not have abortions.

It is interesting that the case’s anniversary comes during a month of new beginnings. Perhaps that’s what the option represents. As January wrapped up, millions prepared for the national Blackfest that is February.

We celebrate Black accomplishments, but our community can’t afford to remain silent about the pervasive belief that life doesn’t begin until birth.

Yes, the topic is a silent seat shifter for masses of mostly Christian Black folks, even though Blacks disproportionately became the face of the unspoken phenomenon.

It is time to take a recess from resolutions and Rosa Parks to sit down for some awkward, but potentially illuminating discussions.

Imani Jackson is a junior mass communication major from Jacksonville, Fla.