The Womb Police: Abortion Bans, Black Bodies and Contemporary Genocide

I speak only from my own reality. I know a lot of people won’t agree or like what I have to say. Thats perfectly fine. However, I look at everything differently. FYI before you continue reading.

I have a lot to say about these new abortion laws. Many mixed feelings. A lot of my views are coming from a Black lens. Black women have been used as breeding machines and force sterilized. Two totally different evils. Which one is the reality just depends what’s going on in the world at that moment. In the 40’s-70’s black folks didn’t support abortions (60% weren’t down with it). I mean, why would they be. Black people were being injected with syphillis experimentally for 4 decades, forced sterilized for 7 decades(and even now. Y’all just don’t know about it…I know stories) and labeled as beast by their own and other groups socially. There is a fear and lack of trust for the government and medical personnel amongst the Black community. Doctors don’t treat us very well. I know women in their 80’s who were sterilized against their will 50 years ago and they fear speaking out about it. This is a recent issue! I have to say that in case anyone tries me with that, “Oh my God! That was so long ago” mess. There is a history of population control within the Black community through Eugenics beliefs. The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margret Sanger, was a eugenicist. She believed in controlling the amount of children poor women had as a means to “better the race”. She didn’t focus on race or color. I will say that. On the other hand, Planned Parenthood offices are often placed in Black and Latinx communities….but I’ll let y’all think about that.

Black people make up 12.1% of America. However, Black women make up 40% of abortions carried out in the USA. At this rate Black Americans will be endangered in the near future. Our bodies have been policed for so long. This ban is not shocking or scary for me. Trump becoming president wasn’t scary for me either. Just another thing to deal with.

Honestly, I feel my Black identity more than my gender and sex. In the same breath I don’t think any man (or male) should tell any female what to do with her(their/insert fitting pronouns) body. I also think that if a man doesn’t want a child and suggest an abortion and the female refuses, he shouldn’t be financially obligated. And vice versa (because males can have children. I am using all terms from my heterosexual identity FYI). The whole act of child bearing is a two person thing to me. Females carry the child. Males help produce it. If one side can choose not to want in, I think the other side should be able to do the same.

It’s not ok for rape victims to bare the seed of violence if they don’t want to.  It’s not ok to have children that are results of inbreeding. Some people don’t need to have children. There are plenty of situations were abortion needs to be legal. Taking it’s legality away will most likely result in back alley abortions or people going to Mexico to get drugs that induce miscarriages (the latter is already happening in large amounts).

I’m pro everyone doing whatever the hell works for them as long as they are safe and the term of the pregnancy is regulated. This “heart beat” topic is non sense. Have you seen what a fetus looks like at six weeks? It doesn’t look like a child at all. It is not developed. Fetus don’t start looking like actually human like figures until week 14. Additionally, fetus have no organ growth other than the heart for the first eight weeks. Nothing can live with just a heart. So why are we pinpointing a developed heartbeat? Seems fishy to me.

Deeper research is a must. You can have an opinion but learn other opinions. Accept that you need to know more. I need to know more and my opinion is always evolving. It may completely change in the next few days. With that, I don’t think this is a decision men or women need to be exclusively making. Collaboration is cool. But then again, I’d be damned if a man told me what to do with my body. It just doesn’t make sense. I’d also be damned if a woman told me what to do with my body. Sooo yea, I’m just a girl from Chicago that won’t accept what the media wants me to. Let people do what they want. If you don’t they will do it anyway. Look at drug. They’re  illegal and people still use and abuse them. I’m pro choice. I’m also pro life, if that is best for you.

Martin. Like Luther King Jr.

Last weekend I was headed to Soufriere to go to the sulfur pools. On the way there we made various stops. These stops blessed me with diverse angles of the island. Also, may I add, seeing St. Lucia from these contorted angles was absolutely breathe taking. I am still in awe! Anyways, while stopping at one of the many locations I proceeded to whip out my trusty Nikon D5200. With my camera in hands I adjusted my aperture, increased my shutter speed and, captured some of the beauty that lie in front of me.

While shooting I was interrupted by a gentle baritone voice. The voice exclaimed, “Take my picture!” I looked back to the sight a man. The gentleman was about 5’7. His hair was short with a dash of salt and pepper. His complexion was reminiscent of freshly mixed chocolate cake batter. Smooth and flawless. Excited by the demand he made… I took his picture. I snapped about three rough shots then proceeded to converse with the warm St. Lucian man. Here’s a rough transcript:

Me: “What’s your name sir?”

Martin: “Martin”

Me: “Mark?” I said with little confidence in what I thought I heard.

Martin: He shook his head. “Martin. Like Luther King Jr.”

Me: “Oh, MLK. What a powerful name! You are blessed.”

Martin: “I live up to my name sake. What is your name?”

Me: “I’m Shae”

Martin: “What name your parents gave you?”

Me: I responded giggling, “Shaela. My name is Shaela.”

Martin: “Umm. Are you English Shaela?”

At this point I was internally dying of laughter. I have a pretty thick Midwestern Chicago accent. Though I have the ability to, I often I forget to turn it off. I definitely hadn’t turned it off during this conversation. After regaining my composure, the conversation continued something like this:

Me: “Not at all. I’m from the States. North American-” I paused in concern of his expression.

Martin: With a worried look on his face screech “Why do White People hate you all”

Me:  Caught off guard by the conversation switch, I replied, “What exactly are you referencing?”

Martin: “Every time I watch the news I see someone in America being killed by a White police officer. Or, I see Blacks speaking about how White American are racist toward them. Or I hear about American ghettos and Black Lives Matter. Why?”

Me: Reflectively, I replied, “Well Martin. The history in American runs deep. And, to an extent, it similar to St. Lucia. Colonialism, colonization, slavery and murder were all methods Europeans used to gather and control Africans and Indigenous Americans. It is the unfortunate and dark past of the US. The real issues is that history, if not handled, made right, and dealt with accordingly, repeats itself. This is where these microaggressions and acts of discrimination come into play. Racism has never stopped in the state: racism has just surfaced in other ways.”

Martin: “Shaela, where are you from?”

Me: Confused by yet another shift in tone, “The US.”

Martin: “No, where are you from?”

Me: “Oh sorry, I’m from Chicago.”

Martin: “Ummm” kisses teeth “Why do you all hate yourself? All that killing in Chicago. Why?”

Me: I take a long pause “Umm. Martin, I would’ve loved to have you sitting in on some of the conversations I had with my friends back home. Seriously.” Letting out a light chuckle I continue, “But honestly, to answer your question, again, I think it’s the microaggressions and systematic racism. After a while either you start believing what you see, hear, feel, or you fight against it. Personally, I think everything you’re seeing on the news is a reflection of both people fighting against it and people believing it. Me, myself, I’m proving all the racist I’ve been hit by that they are little. They’re wrong. They hold no weight in comparison to my power. That’s that!”

Martin: “Shaela, where are you from?”

Me: Laughing hysterically, I reply, “My father is Haitian, Martin.”

Martin “Welcome home!” We both laugh.

I’ve been thinking about this conversation all week. Social justice is alive and thriving throughout the diaspora. It warms my heart. It also awakens my desire and pursuit of peace. Media representation is worldwide. It is my job to fight for the rights of marginalized groups throughout the diaspora. It is my job to document this fight. It is my job to serve. It is my job to humble myself. It is my job to use my voice.

I am a woman. I am an American. I am first generation American. I am Black. I am from Chicago. I am a product of poverty. I am a product of wealth. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer. I am privileged enough to serve. I am humbled. I. AM. CHANGE. And it’s time to get to work!

**P.S. I want my students to embrace risk taking. So, with that said, I’m starting to take more risk in my own writing. I hope you enjoyed this passage. However, if you didn’t, I hope you felt uncomfortable. Discomfort aids in growth.

***P.P.S I might blur out Martin’s face and add the pictures to this post.