GUEST COMMENTARY: Action by Missouri Right to Life is reprehensible

Thursday, July 14, 2011 | 11:44 a.m. CDT; updated 1:01 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 14, 2011

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.


Related Media

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.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


jane ashley July 14, 2011 | 12:49 p.m.

Thank you for expressing this so well!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 14, 2011 | 2:46 p.m.

Well, first of all, I think your article is extraordinarily offensive.

You ask, "If you care about black babies, why are urban school districts crumbling?"

I say, "Why don't you tell us instead of making a totally illogical comparison? What I think about black babies has NOTHING to do with why urban school districts are crumbling. As with ANY crumbling school district, I think it has a whole lot more to do with how folks perceive the value of being an educated person!!!"

Second, what does my caring or not caring about black babies have to do with your claim that black babies comprise 25 percent of the more than 10,000 children foster children? Perhaps it has a whole lot more to do with the PARENTS NOT CARING ABOUT THEIR OWN BABIES!!!!!!

Did you ever think about THAT particular notion? Or are you just in a blame-game mode?

Third, it is NOT necessary for a pro-life person to you say...a "Bible-toting, scripture-quoting extremist." In fact, for me, scripture has NOTHING to do with it.

Now, perhaps YOU can explain why squeezing through a narrow, 4", muscular canal confers "human rights" on a newborn like some sort of right-of-passage PhD birth degree? On one side of that canal, it's an "it"...on the other, it's a baby with constitutional rights.


Your illogical comparisons show the need for a logic class.

You are right, tho, that billboards that can be interpreted as noxious or racist or otherwise is not a good thing. So, you got one thing right in your missive.

Finally, you mention "reprehensible rhetoric cross[ing] a line".

You may know "it" when you see it, but you obviously don't know "it" when you write it.

Try a mirror.

(Report Comment)
James Krewson July 14, 2011 | 3:11 p.m.

"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?"

The same reason we have laws protecting spouses from physical abuse. Just because you believe that spousal abuse is wrong in your own home, you are perfectly right in wanting to criminalize spousal abuse in someone else's household. So we are within our rights to prevent baby abuse and murder in someone else's womb.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 14, 2011 | 3:24 p.m.

Well, Mr. Williams, you are obviously not one of Generalissimo Obama's loyal foot soldiers.

Having already lived a reasonably long life I have noticed that often blatant extremists rush to label anyone with differing views as being extremists. As you say, they should look in a mirror. But they won't. They never do.

(Report Comment)
Charles leverett July 14, 2011 | 3:48 p.m.

"Abortion is a moral decision that’s best decided between a woman, her doctor and God, or whomever she chooses to worship."
I'm usually for seeing both sides of an argument, but this side is fatally flawed.
It's like saying slavery is a moral choice between the master and their God. You forget about the person who a choice is being made for. Its the same with abortion. I don't care what a woman does with her body as long as it's not hurting someone else, and abortion does, abortion results in the death of a baby, a HUMAN life.
This is a general abortion argument, but doesn't cover potential medical problems.
This isn't an extremist view unless you say that being "anti slavery" (which we all are I'm sure), anti spousal abuse etc is an extremist position. I don't care whatever argument you make, until you can over come the whole taking a human life because it's your right argument there is nothing that will change my mind.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black July 14, 2011 | 3:55 p.m.

Mr Williams, I think you do a good job of making her point. I guess black parents are disproportionately bad parents. since they make up 25% of the foster kids but a much smaller percentage of the population as a whole. And I didn't get that all right-to-lifers are crossing the line, just the Missorui Right to Life.
How many kids do you have? I hope you are not one of the "I don't have kids, but I'll tell you how to raise yours" types. Not saying you are, just asking.
Let the liberal bashing begin.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black July 14, 2011 | 3:58 p.m.

In my experience, I have never met someone who is against abortion, but scripture doesn't ever enter into it.

(Report Comment)
Kate Barsotti July 14, 2011 | 6:15 p.m.

I wish this issue were simple. It's not.
If you criminalize abortion, except for the life of the mother, who makes that decision? How do you prove her life was at risk? Doctors, out of self-preservation, will hesitate because they don't want to go to jail. Any medical decision can be second-guessed later. Hesitation may end up killing both mother and child. There are women in Mexico today who are in prison for murdering their fetuses. They had miscarriages but were accused of inducing abortions. They could not prove otherwise. We still do not understand what causes most miscarriages, and advocates believe the miscarriages occurred naturally. So, added to the heartache of a misscarriage, they are now in jail and unlikely to be released. Pregnant women have been jailed for being injured. Doctor and nurses have called police for suspected abuse when a pregnant, depressed woman fell down the stairs. She ended up being released only because the pregnancy was not that advanced. There was no hard evidence she was anything except clumsy. In other words, if you are pregnant and have an accident, be careful what you tell your doctor. Never admit you are depressed or overwhelmed. If you get pregnant, it had better go perfectly. PERFECTLY. Or you will not only be accused of being a bad mother, you might be accused of being a child abuser or murderer. If you can avoid an abortion in your personal life, that's wonderful. It's a courageous decision. I wish we had better benefits for children to make that choice even easier. In a perfect world, abortion would never be used as birth control. In this case, however, trying to fix that problem leads to others. It already has.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote July 14, 2011 | 6:29 p.m.

I was unfamiliar with the billboards, Rep. Jones is right, they are offensive:
I think many folks over-look the role poverty plays in manifesting social ills. If Missouri Right to Life controlled for income, there would not be as large a racial disparity in abortion rates (
Unfortunately, for them, that would identify poverty as an influencing factor. As Rep. Jones notes and to which others strangely take offense too, addressing poverty is not on the agenda for the Missouri Right to Life. Rather, they (MRL PAC) seem to endorse and support politicians most interested in reducing taxes by eliminating/cutting programs that benefit the economically disadvantaged, and who also happen to be, paradoxically, "pro-life".

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 14, 2011 | 6:46 p.m.

Charles leverett: It's like saying slavery is a moral choice between the master and their God. You forget about the person who a choice is being made for.

Wow, that's one helluva thought. Very nice comparison between the two issues. The only difference is one of the "persons" for whom choices are made is on one side of a muscular tube, and the other "person" is on the other.

Tony: I'd agree with you that ANY population with 25% of all foster children as their "identified" population is having serious parenting problems. But, the author wrote an If-Then statement, to wit: "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...?

That If-Then statement is pure illogical crap and about as logical as "Do you still have feelings for your neighbor's goat other than agricultural ones?"

MY point was...if you think the population you identify with has 25% of the total population of foster children, perhaps you should look to the care of parents within your identified population. Regardless of WHICH population you identify with.

Kate, here's a scenario for you: A woman desiring an abortion of a 10 week old fetus has her hands on the door of Planned Parenthood. She is approached by a robber who shoots her in the abdomen, killing her and the fetus.

Is this a single or double homicide?

Now, scenario #2: The fetus is 36 weeks.

Single or double?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 14, 2011 | 6:59 p.m.

Tony Black says, "In my experience, I have never met someone who is against abortion, but scripture doesn't ever enter into it."

Well, you have now. I'm perfectly capable of ascribing personhood to pre-delivery fetuses without any call to God.

Oh, as to my "fatherhood" experiences, I have 3 grown daughters and 6 grandchildren. The oldest grandchild was born out of wedlock and no consideration was given to abortion even tho dad was a creep and out of the picture. Do those facts help establish my credentials, or will you try some other illogical gambit to discredit my credentials to speak on this issue?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 14, 2011 | 8:23 p.m.

<crickets chirping>

(Report Comment)
Tony Black July 15, 2011 | 7:56 a.m.

Michael, I see your point, explained this way. I still think blacks are disadvantaged socially, even in this day and age. And I am glad to see you are a family man. Too many people tell others how to live with no experiences whatsoever to draw from. I am not an abortion supporter. I have never been in (nor would want to be ) in the position to make that decision. However, had your daughter decided to have an abortion, it sure as hell isn't MY place to tell her whether it's right ro wrong. If the government thinks fetuses are people, why aren't they a tax deduction till they are born?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 15, 2011 | 8:12 a.m.

Tony: Our laws are seriously conflicted when it comes to fetuses. 'Tis true fetuses are not a tax deduction before they are born, although most medical plans DO cover fetus health in addition to the mother's health...and medical plans generally do NOT cover an "it". And, even if a mother is actively seeking an abortion, a person can be charged with a double homicide if he/she kills the mother-fetus pair. Pro-choice folks will not speak on these (and other) legal inconsistencies; after all, if you believe a fetus is a non-human "it" with no inalienable rights, then there can be NO crime involving death/harm to the fetus...even if the mother wants her baby. Yet, pro-choice happily go along with "sometimes it's an "it", sometimes it's not, and I get to say which-is-which" posture. Absurd.

History judges a society by how they treat their babies. Before and after they are born. Plus, while it's easy to say "It is not my place to say right-or-wrong", most societies believe they have a vested interest in their children.

To get back on-topic, I found the originating article quite absurd, insulting, and illogical. Especially, the latter adjective...with all that "If you cared about black babies..." nonsense.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 15, 2011 | 2:02 p.m.

We need more babies so we can send them to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox July 16, 2011 | 5:33 p.m.

Love it when racist's get called out then flip because they are delusional. Also love how most Pro-Lifers are from a certain religion renowned for their abuse of children, yet they won't address that, why don't they just join forces with NAMBLA, you know poor and neglected children are the easiest to abuse. Baby rapist's on a moral high horse is what I see. 15 million children starve to death every year. Climb back into your SUV, drive out to your plastic mansion, and STFU until you get a clue.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.