Reproductive Health

Georgia Plays Front-Runner on Anti-Choice Agenda

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A small gathering of anti-choice activists this week denounced abortion as black genocide. They join a widening attack on reproductive rights in Georgia and across the country.

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'Turning Back the Clock'

Janelle Yamarick is community services director for the Feminist Women's Health Center, an Atlanta-area abortion provider.

"We believe that many Georgians are not aware of what's happening in our state capital," she said. She said Franklin's bill, along with others, "are about turning back the clock on the fundamental human right for a woman to make her own health care decisions in conjunction with her doctor, religious advisor or family."

Franklin's "prenatal death" bill hasn't moved toward further action in the legislature, but Yamarick said it's important for Georgians to know that "such a wildly out-of-step bill has been introduced."

Pro-choice activist Loretta J. Ross is national coordinator of the Atlanta-based SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.

"These folks are attempting to shame and blame African American women for our choices," she said "They are funded and supported by the white anti-abortion movement to attempt to portray themselves as legitimate champions of black children. In fact, they are shameless themselves in trying to exploit serious issues of racial justice for their own goals of limiting the freedom of black women."

The Guttmacher Institute debunked claims that abortion clinics are targeting black neighborhoods. In 2008 it examined the racial and ethnic makeup of neighborhoods with abortion clinics and found that fewer than 1-in-10 abortion clinics were in predominantly African American neighborhoods.

The Atlanta National Day of Mourning event this week was sponsored by the National Black Prolife Coalition, a collaboration of black anti-choice leaders from around the nation that's based in Dallas. Similar gatherings were also held Monday at state capitals in Pennsylvania, New York, Alabama, California, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Virginia. No future protests were planned at the events.

Davis said she thinks the abortion rate among black women isn't a matter of inadequate access to contraception, since the state has hundreds of clinics that provide contraception.

Dawn Daniels, of Lawrenceville, Ga., said she attended the protest with six of her seven sons because she is alarmed that abortion "is killing off my people."

Asked if she favored increased access to contraception, she said she was "in favor of holiness."

Davis says a Bible-based campaign would win people "one heart at a time."

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Diane Loupe is a freelance writer and editor based in Decatur, Ga. A former reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she has an master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.

For more information:

"Ga. Law Could Give Death Penalty for Miscarriages," Mother Jones:
http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/02/miscarriage-death-penalty-georgia

The CDC's Abortion Surveillance Report for 2007, released Feb. 25, 2011:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6001a1.htm?s_cid=ss6001a1_w#Tab12

"Abortion and Women of Color: The Bigger Picture," Guttmacher Institute:
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/11/3/gpr110302.html

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