Saturday, February 27, 2010

When statistics go bad.

A new york times article about the rising anti-abortion movement in the African American community mentions a "Sting video" operation by conservative activists who filmed planned parenthood workers "welcoming donations specifically for aborting black children." They are using this to argue that the statistically high abortion rate, or "womb lynchings" (I'm not even making this up) among black women is a new form of eugenics.

WOW is that some anti-choice spin right there. I feel like I just stepped into bizzaro land.

Let's apply our sociological imagination here for a moment. Maybe the high abortion rate among black women is because due to historical and continuing structural inequalities that have prevented African Americans from acquiring wealth, black women are more likely than women of other races and ethnicities to be living below the poverty level, and poverty is highly correlated with the unwanted pregnancy/abortion rate, not to mention the rape rate. NOT because they are black, but because they are poor, and poverty is associated with crime. Maybe, just maybe, some people are specifically donating money to HELP black WOMEN who need help paying for abortions, perhaps because they themselves had a hard time paying for their own abortion, or struggled to succeed in life because they were unable to afford one. Or maybe they were just feeling particularly altruistic and had a reason to want to help young black women struggling to raise the money for a medical procedure that has a time limit.

Only someone starting from an anti-choice standpoint that abortions are murder, and that they are always a bad decision could see donating money to help women fund them to be targeting a specific type of child- because they focus on the child, not the mother. It is the mother who is making the decision to have an abortion, no one forces any mother to have this procedure, and I firmly believe that everyone who wants to have an abortion should have access to an affordable, safe, and local provider.

That's one heck of a PR lady. That's one heck of a group of rich white ladies who hired the "Right" PR lady. Sadly she managed to hit upon the perfect mixture of paranoia based on lasting memories of the great injustices done to the African American community and a veneer of scientific legitimacy due to some misinterpreted statistics that are presented as evidence of a deliberate 'genocide' while glossing over the historical structural reasons behind those patterns. You know what though? If I were black I would probably be paranoid too - because white people HAVE done shit like that, not too far ago in the past.

This is fairly diabolical.

1 comment:

  1. I went to a very conservative christian school. They have targeted Ms. Margaret Sanger as a "womb lyncher". Whether that is true or not, I dont know the facts, all I know this is common theme on the anti-abortion agenda. They use it as a weapon. Then again pro-choice use the freakonomics statistics that abortion lowered crime rates. All in all planned parenthood states that 50 percent of women choose to have an abortion on the bases of financial reasons, and if you look at data, ethnic minorities are the lowest income. Once in that income bracket, I think religion does little to stop people from getting abortions. To add to that in the 1950's back ally abortions complications were the number one killer in child bearing age of women. Sometimes people need to look at the total picture before making a total arguement.


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