Georgia Legislature Tries to Limit Abortion Rights Using Anti-Racist Language

I posted a few weeks ago about a disturbing article in the NYT, which discussed the efforts of the pro-life movement to claim that abortion rights are, in fact, racist.  These claims are completely untrue, for all the reasons that I outlined in my previous post.  But the Georgia legislature seems to be trying to inscribe some of this absurd rhetoric into their law, helped by some state legislators who seem to be trying to pass a new abortion law in an extremely covert manner.

SB 529 would make it a criminal act for a medical provider to “coerce” a woman into having an abortion, because of the “race, color or gender of the unborn child.”  The law seems to be based on the extremely warped perception that the fact that more black women have abortions is based on attempts by abortion doctors to prevent black babies from being born – not the fact that, I don’t know, there is a lot of racism remaining in the U.S. that makes it much more difficult for black women to access information about contraception or to contemplate raising a child if they are pregnant.

Many pro-life organizations are using rhetoric like this, the explanation for the bill from Catherine Davis, the head of a Georgia pro-life organization.  “African-Americans account for 30 percent of the population in Georgia but make up 59 percent of the abortions,” Davis said. “The black community is being targeted by abortionists. The abortion industry wants us to believe that we have a greater need. Why should an abortion doctor be able to take a baby because it is black?”

Let me repeat: abortion rates are high among black women because of high rates of unwanted pregnancy among black women.  End of story.  There is no conspiracy theory.  And laws like the one in the Georgia legislature are trying to limit a woman’s right to choose by using covert and extremely calculated message.  In an article from RH Reality Check last month, Jodi Jacobson writes:

“A 2006 study by the Guttmacher Institute shows that only one in three sexually-experienced African-American males and fewer than half of African-American females had received formal instruction about birth control before they first had sex. (White teens were only slightly better off). Honest, clear information and engagement on these issues is the first step toward reducing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in any community, but it is a step forward the anti-choice movement–including groups like Georgia Right to Life–fights at every turn.”

In other words, laws like this do nothing to reduce the numbers of abortions – and concrete ways of helping black women are denied by framing this as a conspiracy against them.  One of the Georgia congressmen who is front and center in trying to pass this bill is named Chip Rogers – you will find this gentleman’s contact information here.

Photo from SeanMcGrath's Flickr photostream.

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Emilyanne Lewis
Emilyanne L.5 years ago

It is disheartening to think that people would actually believe this to be a racial issue... Hopefully the bill will not be passed.

Jennifer Wheeler
Jennifer Wheeler5 years ago

Seriously!?!?! Here we are in 2010 - and people are coercing others to abort their baby because of the unborn baby's race?? Some place there was a black woman is in a clinic, and the doctor tried to convince her to abort because he knew the baby would be black as well??


Yulan L.
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

It should always be a woman's choice surrounded with respect, dignity and empathy.

B. M.
Bette M.5 years ago

Sarah D. Women have always been baby factories. Russia & China have looked up on woman as just that until very recently. China has at least seen the light more so than any other country with its' one child policy. China's previous policy of aborting girl fetus"s has comeback to bite them though. There are at least seven to ten men for every woman in China now & they are trying to undo that!!!!! Russia used to pay woman to have as many children as possible. I think they no longer do that.

Women worldwide have been baby factories because men & the ruling elite wanted it that way.......The whole idea served their ideas but did nothing for the women spitting out all those babies.

Plant & protect trees for life.......

B. M.
Bette M.5 years ago

Judith S......You are starting to make sense now!!

Plant & protect trees for life..........

Sarah D.
Sarah D.5 years ago

@ Judith S.,

Women and girls are just baby factories to America - the pro-life half who is against women and girls being allowed to have a choice or access to birth control and knowledge of sex and sexual health in general.

Judith S.
Judith S.5 years ago

Might I add that, under our current circumstances, medical insurance will pay for men to take Viagra and Cialis like it's candy; but they will not pay for birth control pills unless you have some other reason for taking them (acne or irregular menstrual periods). In other words, they'll prescribe birth control pills for almost anything other than birth control.

Sarah D.
Sarah D.5 years ago

"Empower your daughters with knowledge of their body rhythm"

Why not say - Empower your daughters with the knowledge that they have options, that they have a choice in what happens with their bodies, that they are allowed a choice, that they have the right to make a choice and not be chastized or guilted for it.

"Forget the pill."

Really? You should be ashamed of yourself for saying that. I feel sorry for your daughters or any children you may have.

Sarah D.
Sarah D.5 years ago

"I don't believe of abortion."

So don't have one.

carole hagen
.5 years ago