Documentary Brings Black Women’s Experiences To Health Care Debate

Carol McDonald finds the current debate over reproductive health care “astounding” — why are lawmakers being allowed to make decisions about basic preventative health services like cancer screenings and birth control? While the lack of women’s voices in the national discussion has been noted on Care2 and elsewhere on the web, McDonald is particularly troubled by the way black women’s voices, in particular, have been glossed over and ignored.

On Women Are Watching, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund blog, she writes:

Our perspective as black women in this debate is critical. I’ll go so far as to say that it is a matter of life and death. Black women with cervical cancer are twice as likely to lose their lives to this disease as are white women. TWICE! And black men and women, who make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, account for 69 percent of gonorrhea cases and about half of all cases of chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, and syphilis. The way I see it, reproductive health care is serious business for black folks, and we need to make sure our stories are at the forefront of the debate around access to care.

That’s why the film she’s produced, titled, “A Vital Service: African-American Stories of Reproductive Health Care,” couldn’t come at a better time. The 20-minute film showcases both the women who’ve benefitted from access to Planned Parenthood’s services, and their families. You can watch the whole film below:

McDonald also encourages viewers to share their personal stories on – whether you’ve had trouble accessing birth control, or received a life-saving diagnosis through cervical or breast cancer screening, Planned Parenthood wants to know about it. (And, please note, she’s encouraging submissions from people of all genders– including men and transsexual people – and stories aren’t limited to those from the African-American community, either.)

Kudos to Planned Parenthood for helping distribute and screen this important documentary.


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Photo credit: Kheel Center


Steve Brad
Steve Brad5 years ago

Great article.This article contains resourceful and useful information.thanks for share.

Linda T.
Linda T5 years ago

Being a white woman all I can say is thank you black community for your vigilance on the matter of women's health care. We all remember that it was the courage of the black community the gave all women a voice after the black community showed us how during the Civil Rights Movement and it seems your community will lead once again on womens health issues. I for one applaud you for all that you have given to our country.

Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik5 years ago

Excellent video.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons5 years ago

The republicans are doing nothing about the horrible treatment of women and they refuse to listen to women's voices about birth control and contraception. Why are a bunch of men allowed to decide what is right for women without letting women speak?

Donald T.
Donald T5 years ago

full fledged members of the human race? or 3/5s a white man? do black women have rights? or wrongs? rich ol' white coots behave as the super race behaved between 1933 and 1945. The last big hoorah for the rich ol' white coots was their anti-civil rights battles of the '60s as remembered last week by Rev Al Sharpton and the re-enacted march between Selma and Montgomery, AL. Actually, there is little space here for those rich ol' white coots, not none, as they are a shrinking minority and do have a right to their little space. We as a people of this country do have a responsibility to care for all of us, not some of us. And that is American exceptionalism.

Evelyn M.
Evelyn M5 years ago

Horrible lack of treatment. These women are human beings and should be treated the same as ALL other women.