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Est. April 5, 2002
May 30, 2019 - Issue 791

Lawlessness in Action


"As a Black, voting woman, I have serious concerns
about my right to exist as a free citizen with all the
protected fundamental rights including
the power over my own body."


Recently, a Black woman report to the local consumer affairs reporter that her mentally and developmentally challenged sister had come up pregnant at the facility entrusted for her care. Under current and proposed anti-abortion legislation, Sista Doe had no recourse for this situation but to have a baby by an unknown rapist in their midst—staff or resident.

The family’s focus was putting heat on the nursing facility and not being a poster-issue for the abortion rights movement. As a reproductive justice advocate, I am compelled to lift up the family’s plight as a double injustice.

I predicted some years ago that these conservative folks would make being a “gleam in yo daddy’s eye” the start of conception. Fast forward and we see the aggressive attack on abortion rights by Republican lawbreakers. Several southern states have just passed “heartbeat” laws, a draconian measure that culminates a multi-faceted strategy to slam dunk the 14th Amendment in the trash bin of U.S. history.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson jubilantly looks forward to signing the anti-abortion bill passed by his GOP posse. Parson claims he wants to make Missouri “one of the strongest pro-life states in the country.” Being pro-life does not begin and end with abortion. When it comes to health and well-being indicators of all Missouri citizens, this state is often at the bottom. Deal with that, Mr. Governor.

Alabama’s governor just signed the harshest anti-abortion legislature yet. The state needs to be addressing its murderous conditions in its dungeons called prisons. The Department of Justice has spotlighted the inhumane and unconstitutional conditions in the state’s prison system. Its detailed report outlines cases of inmate deaths, suicides, rapes, extortion of the families of prisoners, and rampant contraband weapons and drugs—with prison guards leading the lawlessness.

We know this is not about the sanctity of life as these so-called pro-lifers claim. Most of these legislatures have ignored life-saving programs by killing any proposed legislation or de-funding social service programs. The quality of life indicators are at the bottom in most of these southern states.

Over the years, the religious right and other conservative forces have used three basic shrewd and lethal tactics to get to the destruction of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court case that led to the 14th Amendment in 1973.

One of those tactics is to constantly chip away at the law on the state level. For the last couple of decades, anti-choice legislation has been at the top of the Republican’s state and federal agendas. The was not a whole-sale attack due to the public’s overwhelming support of a women’s right to choose. With trump in office, all that’s about civil and human rights have become a punching bag.

The above tactic included defunding of abortion clinics which also included clinics like Planned Parenthood who provided a host of services; abortions make up about three percent of its services.

Another tactic is the fear whip. Women seeking abortion services often must pass through a double line of shoutin’, shamin’ anti-abortion protestors. For graphic effect, some hold gigantic posters of mutilated fetuses.

The sickening part of the fear tactic goes beyond targeting clinics, doctors, other medical personnel and innocent bystanders literally have bull’s eyes on their backs. Since the legalization of abortion, extremists have resorted to arson, stabbings, shootings, stalking, and bombings to get their way.

Dr. George Tiller was one of the few doctors in the country to perform late-term abortions. He was harassed and threatened for years. Then he was assassinated in his church—not at his clinic. The closing of his clinic soon followed.

These effective tactics have led to a dramatic drop in the number of abortion services. Missouri now has only one facility and that’s the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.

The anti-abortion army is not just white zealots although there’s too many white men who are the public face of that movement. There are also misguided Blacks who cry genocide every so often. The last cry was met with the “Trust Black Women” campaign spearheaded by women of color groups who fight for reproductive justice.

These tactics support the strategy and ultimate goal of getting Roe v. Wade before the conservative U.S. Supreme Court where it will be overturned once and for all.

And so, I ask you. Put aside what Amendment 14 is all about and just focus on the fact that it is a constitutional amendment. If these so-called lawmakers are successfully at erasing Amendment 14 from the Constitution, other amendments such as Amendment 13 which gave women the right to vote could also be in the crosshairs.

As a Black, voting woman, I have serious concerns about my right to exist as a free citizen with all the protected fundamental rights including the power over my own body.

Stand up and join the movements to support women and to protect reproductive rights. There will be plenty of rallies nationally, but we need to develop some effective counter tactics that make our demands real on the state level. The institutions created to protect those rights must be held accountable.

#StoptheBans Editorial Board member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers, founder and Chair Emeritus of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and speaker. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle.  Other writings by Ms. Rogers can be found on her blog jamalarogers.comContact Ms. Rogers and BC.




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Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
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Peter Gamble

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