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Abortion and Racism

Kevin Benatte, AfroChuBZZ

Allow me to remind you of two statistics:

In 2016 52% of white women voted for Trump.

In 2020 57% of white women voted for Trump.

White women vote Republican, yet Democrats continue to push the narrative, if we could get suburban white women to vote Democrat, women will rule the world and everyone will be better for it. Well, I am calling BS on that narrative.

White women have never been a swing vote. White women in the last 18 presidential elections have voted overwhelmingly Republican. Why would they? White women benefit from white supremacy. Author Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers in, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South challenges the misrepresentation of white women as subservient to a dominant husband and presents us with a portrait of a white woman that was economically savvy and often cruelly managed her “property”. White women since the beginning have been acutely aware of how they benefit from white supremacy.

White women benefit from the status quo.

Dismantling them would require tearing down the system and building a new one where they could lose both privilege and the protection of white men. So they pushed social agendas such as segregation and when segregation was banned, white women moved on to abortion to provide a rallying cry for all that white women rage. While simultaneously ignoring their complicity in victimizing people of color, white women proclaimed themselves the victims of oppression and proceeded to don their pink pussy hats in 2016 and took to the streets. White women see the fight for abortion as a tool to maintain freedom and independence.

While interesting, it is not particularly remarkable. What is remarkable is that although approximately 40% of white women have abortions (that is almost 1 out 2 women), abortions are still viewed as a black issue. We have all heard the refrain that black women have abortions due to poverty, irresponsibility, and lack of education and opportunities. Have you ever taken a moment to see where all the Planned Parenthood clinics are located? They are not in white neighborhoods. Planned Parenthood has worked hard to distance themselves from the racist background of their founder Margaret Sanger, who was a eugenicist and advocated for the selective breeding of Black people. Yet white women know they cannot win this fight without Black women or largely women of color.

Reproductive Health and Black Women

To broaden the support for pro-choice policies, the argument has been framed around women’s reproductive health, yet there has been no meaningful discussion around women’s reproductive health. White women often take a myopic view of abortions, seeing it as their only reproductive health issue. If we were to have a real discussion we would be talking about Black women’s reproductive health. The conversation would center on the funding for research, programs, and advocacy for the poor health outcomes that Black women suffer within the American healthcare system. Black women have higher rates of breast cancer, maternal mortality, and frequently have their health concerns dismissed. If this was really a fight for women’s reproductive health we would stop marching around in pink pussy hats and begin protesting the healthcare system and their treatment of Black women. The challenge is that data and the health issues of Black women specifically and Women of Color generally are often appropriated by White women and summarily lumped into “women’s” health issues, even though these health issues affect white women to a lesser degree. And while these actions may seem harmless on its face, they are not. The appropriation of Black women’s health issues has resulted in the appropriation of government and private funding into organizations and programs that are primarily run by White women and targets White women, with only a token of funding going into organizations, programs, and communities where Black women predominate.

White women’s discussion of abortion is disingenuous without a discussion of how this fight is not about abortion, but about maintaining white supremacy particularly in light of government-sanctioned attempted genocide of black women and other POC women through forced sterilization.



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Dr. Elizabeth N. Webster

Dr. Elizabeth N. Webster


Fmr Candidate for Ga State House. Epidemiologist. Researcher. Business Owner. Civically Engaged.