I’ve been a patient of Planned Parenthood in three cities — St. Louis, Hampton, Va., and Los Angeles. None were in black neighborhoods.
I was a patient there because my mother (who is now deceased) told me that the best place for a young woman’s reproductive health was Planned Parenthood. If she had not given me that sage advice, I wouldn’t be alive today.
I went to Planned Parenthood for birth control because my mother threatened me and told me not to bring home any babies out of wedlock when I was in college.
During a routine Pap smear, Planned Parenthood discovered pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. Planned Parenthood performed the necessary procedures to remove the cells and subsequently saved my life.
In my own house, I am pro-life. As a black woman and a mother, I can decide what’s best for my body and for my child. But who am I to tell someone else what’s best for her?
That’s why I am pro-choice for everyone else. Abortion is a moral decision that’s best decided between a woman, her doctor and God, or whomever she chooses to worship.
Missouri’s laws that would further restrict abortion have no place in my bedroom or my uterus. Those same Bible-toting, scripture-quoting extremists who think that Roe v. Wade should be overturned are the same people who claim to care about black babies, which is utter nonsense.
If you care about black babies, why do they make up 25 percent of the more than 10,000 children in the foster care system, according to the Missouri Department of Social Services?
If you care about black babies, why are urban school districts crumbling?
If you care about black babies, why is Missouri No. 1 in crimes committed against black men?
I was insulted, to say the least, when Missouri Right to Life had the gall to put up billboards in black neighborhoods with offensive and blatantly racist messages.
The wholly unsubstantiated claim made on these billboards is that black women kill their babies, perpetuating the racist stereotype of black women as unfit mothers.
Regardless of where one stands on the issue of abortion, I believe that the overwhelming number of Americans would agree that this type of reprehensible rhetoric crosses a line that should not be crossed and has no place in the debate.
Although Missouri Right to Life enjoys a constitutional right to espouse a racist message if it so chooses, I am a black mother of a beautiful little boy.
I do not take it lightly when someone questions my integrity as a woman raising a child in this world.
So, Missouri Right to Life, when you start making a difference in the black community to help us raise our black babies, we can talk.