With Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment and Richard Mourdock’s discussion of what God may have “intended,” women became targets during the 2012 election cycle. Colorlines columnist Akiba Solomon lined up the lessons she’s learned during the last year or two in politics, and here’s what she found.
Here are my lessons:
1. The Republican-led war on abortion, Title X-funded reproductive health care and contraceptive access was—and still is—a war on poor women of color and their families.
Traditionally speaking, defending reproductive health rights has been the (good, strong) work of feminists. Ironically, this allows some people who don’t identify with or know the ins and outs of feminism—particularly men—to be silent on an issue that directly impacts their own households. The truth is, reproductive health rights and access are inherently raced and transcend gender because they affect a disproportionate number of people (not just girls and women) of color. We are less likely to have private insurance; less likely to be employed; more likely to be poor; more likely to die of HIV/AIDS and the list goes on.
For example, Latinos make up about 16 percent of the population but a whopping 29 percent of those who use Title X-funded family planning services. Black people make up about 12 percent of the population but 19 percent of users. Family planning services include screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases that can limit fertility or cause death; birth control that allows prospective parents to determine the timing and size of their families; and breast exams that can reveal a mother, daughter, sister, aunt’s or grandmother’s cancerous lump. These are family issues.
Read Akiba Solomon’s entire piece at Colorlines.
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