Abortion is always a painful topic to bring up because of those who are against it. Personally, I believe that adoption is a better choice, however I know that other women may not have that choice. For instance, if you were raped, if you or the baby will not survive post childbirth, if there is evidence that the baby will not make it to full term, or if you just can’t financially afford to take care of a child.
A year ago, I went to planned parenthood to get a birth control prescription. Leaving the facility, I was met by this family who were peaceful protestors. They had asked me what brought me to planned parenthood to which I replied for birth control. They were then telling me of risks that can happen while on certain pills, even those were small chances. I just said I was aware of what the risks were and went on with my day. Imagine if I had said I was there for an abortion, would they have been just as nice, or would I not even tell them reason I was there or just keep walking. Would these people, who were white, be just as nice to me if I was a woman of color? I’m not implying that being white makes abortions easier, but if you are a white, middleclass woman, it might be easier for you to obtain one.
Variables that can give a person an advantage over another include religion, race, gender, and sexuality. For instance, you may get a good job because you’re white or you might get pulled over and shot by an officer because you’re black. Peggy McIntosh taught a seminar at Wellesley College in the late 1980s when she first came up with a list of some of the ways the color of her skin gave her an advantage to living life. This list was then published in 1988 and included the 46 privileges that she hadn’t noticed before then. I believe that these privileges obscure the thoughts of women of color for these white women because they don’t have to live with their struggles. Which seems obvious, but people still to this day need to be reminded of it.
In “Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism”, Maxine Baca Zinn and Bonnie Thornton Dill go into detail of how women of color challenged the power of feminisms constructed surrounding the lives of white women. U.S women of color have carried this issue with equal theories of gender since the late 1960s. In this article, Zinn and Thornton examine the theories and the ways of difference and diversity instill contemporary feminist studies. Multiracial feminism is the term that is used to pull in on their analysis. “It is a perspective that attempts to go beyond the recognition of diversity and difference among women in order to examine the structures of domination, especially race and the social construction of gender”.
Kimerè Crenshaw started the term intersectionality in 1989, however the foundation of it was started decades before by feminists of color who were rightfully upset by other feminist organizations, such as National Organization for Women. Those organizations focused on gender as the primary source of oppression and discrimination for women. This focus always led to agendas that went with the experiences and needs of white, middleclass, straight women and ignored the issues that were important to other groups of women. Today, intersectionality is now the framework to address invisibility of larger disregarded groups. In the US, the ongoing debate over abortion represents the consequence of policies that fail to be intersectional. The 1973 case Roe v. Wade was a turning point in the legalizing of abortion and reproductive rights.
The Hyde Amendment resulted and restricts federal funds, like Medicaid, to cover abortion care. Because of this limitation, low-income women, primarily women of color and those in rural communities are disproportionately affected. Most of the people who are involved with the decisions of amendments, laws and so forth are usually white males. These white males fail to think of the possibility of woman living in a state with restrictive abortion laws and lacks insurance coverage might have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket, which doesn’t include hotel or transportation cost if she were to need to travel to the nearest clinic that offers abortion care.
The Hyde amendment and other restrictive state policies cause about one in four women to be denied abortion funding and carry accidental pregnancies to full term. This results in those who are denied abortion access are more likely to fall deeper into poverty if they are low-income women. What should happen is to put forth an intersectional abortion policy that would ensure all women would have access to the services they wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. This policy would allow federal funds to cover the costs surrounding abortion and prohibit states from closing clinics or turning away patients looking for help in reproductive health services.
We as a society are moving backwards to the times before abortion was made legal. If a women truly needs and wants an abortion, she will find a way to get it done even if people make it difficult for her to have one. For example, in New York City in 1970, of all the women who died after illegal abortion, black women made up 50 percent and Puerto Rican women were 44 percent. Recent polling shows that 67 percent of Americans believe that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned. Also, 67 percent of Black Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. So if black civil rights groups are in fact more supportive of reproductive rights than 40 years ago, then the world and this analysis is evolving about the intersectional oppression.