Abortions & STD’s:
A potential double-whammy for African American Women
By Bro. Mxolisi
Abortion is an extremely hot topic in the U.S., particularly elective abortion procedures which account for as much as 93 per cent of more than 1 million abortions performed in the U.S. each year. Elective abortion is the induced termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus, for reasons other than a perceived threat to the physical well-being of the unwilling would-be mother.
In the midst of the storm that is raging on this issue is the disproportionate number of African American women who are choosing to terminate their “unintended” or unwanted pregnancies in this fashion. These are pregnancies that result largely from unprotected or inadequately protected sex. With Black women comprising approximately 13 percent of the female population, they are accounting for 37 per cent of all abortions, a matter deserving of serious and urgent examination.
In addition to the pregnancy-abortion issue, there is the matter of the alarming rates of sexually transmitted diseases occurring in Black women, including the treatable but as yet incurable herpes and HIV/AIDS infections. Nearly half (48%) of Black women between 14-49 years of age are said to have the herpes virus, which increases their susceptibility to potentially deadly HIV/AIDS infections. This contributes to Black women accounting for nearly two-thirds (over 62%) of HIV/AIDS cases among women and a similar percentage of the new HIV diagnoses among all U.S. women – with unprotected heterosexual contact being the source for 80% of these infections.
Is abortion a civil right or genocide?
Since the Rowe vs. Wade decision of 1973, over 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the U.S. With over 1 million abortions being performed in the U.S. each year, Black women account for over 400,000 of them – approximately 37%. Black and Hispanic women have higher abortion rates than non-Hispanic white women. Black women’s abortion rates are 49 per 1,000; Hispanic women’s are 33 per 1,000 and non-Hispanic white women’s are 13 per 1,000. While an estimated 43% of all women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old, 47% of all abortions are being performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion. Women who have never married and are not cohabiting account for 45% of all abortions. Non white, poor and unmarried dominate the profiles of women having abortions.
|Black and Hispanic women have much higher abortion rates than white women—because they have much higher rates of unintended pregnancy.|
|Notes: Abortion data, 2004; unintended pregnancy data, 2001. Sources: Guttmacher Institute, 2008 and 2006.|
Some folks argue that Black women have been duped by the feminist movement into viewing abortion as a civil right, leading to their disproportionate opting for that procedure. Some of those same folks, taking note of the anti-African sentiments and rhetoric of Planned Parenthood pioneer Margaret Sanger and her associates, take the position that these high levels of abortions are manifestations of a genocidal conspiracy against people of African descent. Others argue that abortion has become an irresponsible, increasingly immoral, after-the-fact contraceptive convenience – a slippery slope for civilized society.
At BlackGenocide.com (BG) it is argued that abortion “has swept through the black community like a scythe, cutting down every fourth member” (counting aborted fetuses as members lost). With abortion numbers added to African American deaths by other means, and the birth rate for Black families being 1.4 children per unit, BG calculates that the Black population in the U.S. is diminishing by nearly 130,000 each year. Additionally, they might point out that it is suspected that women who undergo abortion procedures might have increased risks for breast cancer and other physical and mental/emotional challenges.
On the other side of the argument, defenders of women’s rights to reproductive self-determination say the claim of genocide is a misconception; that access to legal abortions actually saves lives in the black community, in contrast to the days when illegal abortions were common. They feel that more energy and resources need to be directed toward resisting and eliminating the real destruction that is occurring in African American communities — the disproportionate impact of institutionalized and systemic racism which results in inadequate education, perpetual unemployment/under-employment and poverty, health care disparities (including infant mortality), the destabilization of families, and the inequities of the justice system which results in the disproportionate incarceration and criminalization of black men and women, among other things.
Additionally, they assert that Black women are hardly dupes for modern-day feminists, pointing out that Black women have been involved in “reproductive activism” from the late 1800’s to the present; that they have played significant roles in getting birth control into black communities.
Unprotected / Under-Protected Sex
Forty-six percent of women having abortions were not using a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant, while eight percent (8%) of women having abortions have never used a method of birth control. Of the fifty-four percent of women having abortions who say they were using a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant, the following is reported: 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently.
|The most commonly used contraceptive methods vary widely in their theoretical and real-world effectiveness, but all are far more effective than not using a method at all.|
|Method||First year failure rate*|
|Perfect use||Typical use|
|*Percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy during first year of use. †Failure rate varies by specific method of periodic abstinence, from 9% for calendar method to 1% for post-ovulation. Source: Guttmacher Institute, 2008.|
With there being 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States each year, incurring an estimated $13 billion in medical costs, improved access to and consistent usage of contraception could prevent up to one half of unintended pregnancies and result in considerable health care expense savings. The Guttmacher Institute reports that for every dollar spent in helping women avoid pregnancies that are unintended, four dollars is saved in Medicaid expenditures.
Sex Education: Internet Fantasies & Porn vs.
Straight Talk From Parents, Elders and Others
It is said that the internet, with its vast array of explicit pornographic presentations, has become the modern world’s primary source for sex education and values. Additionally, other media (television and movies, music industry, bathroom walls), celebrity obsessions and peer-group fabrications join in to fill the void left by inadequate or non-existent straight and strong talk on the subject from parents and elders, and other responsible forces in our communities.
Whatever one’s stance might be on the issue of whether abortion is genocide or murder or a woman’s legal right, or whether sex outside of marriage is a sin, it ought to be a “no-brainer” that those who are not prepared for and looking forward to the joys and responsibilities of parenthood with a partner who is equally prepared and committed, should never engage in unprotected sex! We need to go hard to get that lesson across to the young and not-so-young; to males as well as females.
We need to go hard and thorough to explain the awesomeness of the god-like power entrusted to us through the reproductive power of sexual intercourse, and the absolute irresponsibility of sexual engagement without contraceptive measures if impregnation is not intended. It must be understood that sacred regard and preparedness for its procreation potential — and the accompanying responsibilities — is the pre-requisite for engaging in “raw” sex. We must do all we can to overthrow the values and overcome the impulses that allow and encourage the reckless roulette of unprotected sex by those who are not prepared for its awesome and ultimate possibility – new life.
For many of us that requires being able to face up to our own errors, to be able to say to our children (correctly in this case), “Do as I/we say and not as I/we have done.
For if we had it to do all over again, we would wait until we were more prepared and equipped to give you all that you need and deserve.”
The Muss & Fuss of Contraception
Some folks complain that some contraceptive methods are inconvenient and/or messy; that they interfere with one or both sex partner’s enjoyment. But that pales in comparison to the ordeal of unintended pregnancy, and seeking out and undergoing elective abortion and its physical and mental/emotional aftermath – unless one has slipped down to the point of regarding an embryo or fetus as being of no more value than an inconvenient fingernail.
Take the time and the trouble to find the contraceptive method that’s right for you!! Use it every time, all the time, until you find your life-partner and both of you are prepared for the responsibilities of parenthood. That’s easier and less problematic, in the overall scheme of life, than unwanted pregnancies or unplanned babies!!
HIV/AIDS: The Agonies of Ecstasy
Significant numbers of African Americans believe (or have believed) that the HIV virus is man-made, spread by the CIA, a form of genocide against Blacks; that AIDS was produced in a government lab; that there is a cure for AIDS that is being withheld from the poor. Could be; could be not!
Whatever the case, with nearly 50% of all known and new HIV infections in the country being diagnosed within the African American population, with Black women being a disproportionate number within those statistics, it must be understood that unprotected sexual intercourse with one-night-stands, friends-with-benefits and other similar casual relationships is extremely risky business. It could be, literally, a matter of life or death. It has been speculated that, “A 22-year-old woman who has sex with multiple men in an area with very low HIV prevalence, such as a Georgetown bar for well connected young people in D.C. politics, probably has less chance of getting infected than a 22-year-old woman who had sex with only one man in a poor D.C. neighborhood with a very high HIV prevalence.”
The very least that one can do is to insist, without compromise or deviation, on the use of a condom for every sexual act with anyone whose HIV/AIDS status is not known and trusted by you.
At Madamenoir.com it is recommended that every person owes it to her/himself to investigate their thoughts and ideas on sex: What are your reasons for engaging in sex? When is the right time to agree to a sexual relationship? Who is this person that I’m attracted to? What are his/her answers to these kinds of questions? What cultural or religious values guide your decisions and behavior? Additionally, it is suggested that being tested together and having first-hand knowledge of each other’s results can be a helpful step, keeping in mind that HIV results can take up to six months to be confirmed.
Ancient African wisdom says: Know Thyself; I must control my thoughts; I must control my actions; I must cultivate the ability to distinguish between the right and the wrong; I must cultivate the ability to distinguish between the real and the unreal.
Let these words to the wise and the unwise make a difference! –Bro. Mxolisi