by Sofia Infante, Communications Intern, MCFL
During Black History month, we acknowledge and give thanks for the achievements of so many African Americans and the indelible marks they left on American society. The triumphs of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. were hard won, as they fought against the prevailing racist and inhumane realities of their time. Their work towards a more just and compassionate society is continued today as the chains of slavery on African Americans look entirely different, but remain as virulently degrading and violent.
Although slavery was abolished in 1865, and segregation was largely outlawed in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination against African Americans--especially women--is almost as prevalent today, if not more vicious and insidious, than it was in the past. According to the Guttmacher Institute, for every white woman who obtains an abortion, four black women have an abortion. Since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe. v. Wade, African American women have had abortions at a disproportionately higher rate than other minority women, and white women. Less than a decade ago, although African Americans accounted for 14% of the childbearing population, they obtained 36.2% of abortions (Abortion Surveillance Report, CDC). According to some estimates, more than 19 million African American babies have been killed since 1974. This means more black babies have been killed by abortion than crime, accidents, heart disease, cancer, and aids (Cure Policy Report).