Remember how those anti-choice billboards targeting Black women kept popping up last year? The ones with ignorant, insulting slogans like, “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb”? Well, those billboards are just one part of a multi-pronged strategy to turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights.
In 2011 alone, under the leadership of ultra-conservative, mostly male and White Republicans, 25 states enacted 67 anti-choice laws including those that prevent low-income women from getting the gynecological exams they need; limit access to certain kinds of birth control; and criminalize abortion—even for rape and incest victims and those who may die of pregnancy-related complications.
In response to what NARAL Pro-Choice calls the War on Women in a new, comprehensive report, 42 organizations are staging a “virtual march” for basic reproductive health rights and care. The “march,” which is really a mammoth online petition, begins this Friday, January 20 and will last through the 27th. According to Black reproductive justice organization SisterSong, the “march” will allow “a large number of people to participate and express solidarity who could not get to a central location like Washington, D.C., or who feel constrained for a variety of reasons from making public statements about reproductive justice issues.”
Says SisterSong director Loretta Ross about why her organization is down for this cause: “We’re participating because of the specific attack on African American, Latina, and Asian American women in the racist and sexist billboard and legislative campaigns over the last few years, and the attempt to claim that women of color are too unintelligent to make our own decisions about our bodies and our lives. We believe that women need comprehensive sex education, increased access to birth control and abortion, and improving the social and economic conditions that enable us to raise healthy families.”
Click here for more information about the virtual march and Trust Women Week.
Akiba Solomon is an NABJ-Award winning writer, freelance journalist, editor and essayist from West Philadelphia. She writes about the intersection between gender and race for Colorlines and is the co-editor of Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts .