Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog for Choice - Pro-Choice for Life...

Pro-choice for Life...

This bitch had a clarifying moment about choice at the NAPW Summit in Atlanta and I’d like to share it with you.

I was invited to the press breakfast and was blessed to be sitting at a table with some fired up and committed to the cause sisters. We had a great conversation about race, class and privilege…we probably got loud (wink)…but it was wonderful to sit down and hear different perspectives mingled in with shared ideas.

I had just stood up to go over and get my fan moment on with Jessica from Feministing when the sister to my right said… “When you get back let’s talk about sex.”

Blink.

Now there was no way in hell I was walking away from a comment like that…not even for a fan-based moment with the fantabulous Jessica from Feministing (wink)…so I sat down, fluffed my afro and said…

“Okay, let’s talk about sex.”

We did…specifically about the “Let’s Talk About Sex” National Conference taking place in Chicago (go Bears!) May 31, 2007 through June 3rd, 2007. SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective wants people of color to talk about sex.

This bitch is going to go there today as I blog for choice.

Let’s talk about sex…about black women and our reproductive health. About how choice impacts the treatment of endometriosis, fibroids, breast cancer and other conditions black women are at risk for. Let’s discuss choice as it relates to access to basic healthcare for women…to our ability to choose treatments rather than have them forced on us…to our ability to empower our daughters rather than hand them over to a system that expects them to get pregnant…anticipates them getting an STD…and could give a damn if they die out as a result of inadequate care and government enforced ignorance.

Hear me on this, for a bitch is a witness to choice on a different level as it relates to me and mine…to sisters of color…and the poor.

So, let’s talk about sex…about “down there” and why some of my sisters can’t call it by name even after their child was born through it. About a government that spends millions to protect ignorance but scoffs at the idea of promoting knowledge. Women of color need to recognize...our fists should be raised in anger! Listen to what is being said…that women of color aren’t capable of making sound medical decisions…that knowing shit is dangerous for us…that we don’t value our reproductive future and that we are unfit to decide what the fuck that future should be.

Don’t come at me with rhetorical bullshit when actions have been speaking volumes in my community of St. Louis city for years.

When STD infections and unplanned teen pregnancies are more prevalent than stable employment and decent grocery stores in the hood.

When HIV/AIDS infection rates are rising for women of color and many don't even know their status.

When infertility treatments are being denied some while politicians pontificate about the sanctity of the lives of others.

When fearing a generation of AIDS orphans is no longer a third world only concern.

Is that about choice?

You bet your ass it is.

A bitch wants to talk about this until I loose my voice! I want to talk about sex…about our national fear of it…about our government’s attempts to control it by any means necessary…and about all that is wrapped up in reproductive justice.

All that is wrapped up in that simple word...choice.

We need to ask ourselves why they fear it…who benefits from attacking it…and who is getting taken down in the process.

We need to talk about sex and choice and then we need to get active.

Let’s protect and defend before defeat reminds us all of why Roe matters on so many levels to so many people for so many reasons.

I did…and I am…and I will.

No doubt a bitch is pro-family, pro-community, pro-sistah and pro-choice.

Why?

For life.

Don't you see?

For life.

20 comments:

It's Me, Maven... said...

I expected nothing less of you, ABB.

Another fantabulous post!

Midgetqueen said...

Thank you. THANK YOU.

Maya's Granny said...

I knew that reading your choice post would be powerful. I hadn't predicted that it would move me to tears.

Ancrene Wiseass said...

Speaking of fan moments: I love you, ABB. You make the world a better place. And I really hope I'll get the chance to talk with you in person one day.

Effie Jones said...

I wish I could write as forcefully as you, I agree wholeheartedly that pro-choice is for life, and your post reminds everyone that this issue is fundamentally about justice.

Did you know that you're on the Bush v. Choice site?

elle said...

ABB, this is amazing!

Sylvia said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much.

Maxwell said...

thanks for this ABB!

SIECUS's got yer back.
www.siecus.org

Riz said...

If I could stand up and applaud at my desk without looking crazy, I would have.

Amazing and absolutely brilliant post, Sharkie.

On a side note, it was so great meeting you at the NAPW conference. I had more fun talking with you - for reference, I was the chica in the tiger-print overcoat. ;-)

Rubyfruit-Desu~! said...

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Aradia B said...

Thanks for posting. My campaign works on reproductive health awareness in the sense of it being a church-state separation & religious liberty issue.
check it out:
http://www.firstfreedomfirst.org

Click on the Green Reproductive Health circle to read more on that topic. And sign the petition!

J said...

You, as always, rock. If ever I were to meet you in person, it would be a fan moment indeed.

tnb said...

Bravo!!! Well said - as always!

brian said...

Please allow this brother to add his props to you along with the others! Shark Fu you rock! And so does C Money.

Andrew said...

Awesome post!!

"We need to ask ourselves why they fear it…who benefits from attacking it…and who is getting taken down in the process."

This is especially important. Many people aren't willing to dive into an issue from this direction. Most go on who policies affect instead of who benefits from the lack of/bad implementation of policy. Thank you for bringing the light.

Anonymous said...

ABB, to what do you attribute the ignorance of many black girls/women (St. Louis) re. facts of life, safer sex, proper use of birth control, and the value of prenatal care? No, or insufficiently early, sex ed in school? Kids not paying attention in sex ed? Ignorance/incorrect information of parents? Unwillingness of parents to discuss these matters? ("if I don't say anything, they won't have sex") Shame/ prudery/ wish to appear "Christian" of parents? Kids believe that whatever their parents say about sex has to be wrong? Unwillingness of pastors to address the sex issues? (ding-ding-ding)

Yes, all these things occur in white families too - is it just that white families have better and faster access to health care on average (at least in St.L. City)?

I am a white St. L. City resident in CWE (in an apartment block with only 1 BR apartments, thus, mostly singles and old folks), and my exposure to poor black teens' sexual knowledge or lack thereof is strictly through the health care system. It boggles my mind that a young (15) teen girl can show up in the emergency room having a term stillbirth, and both she and her mother claim that they didn't know she was pregnant (true incident about 5 years ago - extreme example, obviously). So what's wrong, since neither the girl nor mother looked/acted nuts, merely bewildered. What's the way to have kids take charge of and be knowledgeable about their sex and reproductive lives?

Thanks for your opinion. I figure your work with teens gives you insight.

NancyP

Shark-fu said...

Well Nancy P...the answer is complicated.

The lack of comprehensive sex ed is a factor...the fact that many families do not have the sex talk until someone is already sexually active is another...the issue of depression in women of color is part of is...images of black women as sex objects in media play a part...and apathy among the masses is also at play.

This is why I am so excited about the upcoming summit in Chicago. This discussion within communities of color is long overdue...the answers may be tough but black people have overcome tough shit before.

Anonymous said...

This is a brilliant, powerful, post. Thanks for sharing it. (I just came over from the Carnival of Feminists.) There are frightening numbers of young people of all races who are clueless and uneducated about sex. I blame the lack of sex education. When I was growing up in the 1970s, we had real sex ed in school. When AIDS started in the 1980s, I would have expected more/better sex ed for the next generation of kids, but instead they started with the "abstinence only" nonsense, where they don't tell them anything real or useful. It's just scary.

Anonymous said...

There's really no "choice" when the well-off have access to affordable health care and the rest of us don't. I'm scheduled for an abortion in two days because I managed to get pregnant accidentally, despite faithfully using birth control. I have three kids. I'm married. I have decent job but my employer doesn't offer health insurance. I'm older and high risk due to health issues and simply cannot see putting my kids out on the street to pay what this birth would cost. And it's tearing me up inside. "Pro-life" means nothing without universal health care.

James Morgan - Puritan Financial Advisor said...

Listen to what is being said…that women of color aren’t capable of making sound medical decisions…that knowing shit is dangerous for us…that we don’t value our reproductive future and that we are unfit to decide what the fuck that future should be.