Discover more from Footnotes by Jemar Tisby
Abortion and the Black Community
My Pass The Mic co-host, Tyler, and I have an honest conversation about the politics and religious beliefs surrounding abortion.
Black Christian perspectives don’t often hit the mainstream news. That’s why outlets like this one matter. Will you help me produce more content by becoming a paid subscriber?
A leaked document signaled that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and make legal access to abortion a matter of state, not federal, policy.
In addition to being an intimate personal issue as well as one of bodily autonomy and the limits of government, abortion is one of the most volatile battle fronts of the Culture Wars.
Conservative Christians, in particular, have raised overturning Roe v. Wade the primary conviction that determines both a person’s fidelity to the faith and who they should elect to political office.
But the matter of abortion access is far more complicated than the loudest voices on either side communicate.
Abortion and the Black Community
On a Pass The Mic podcast episode from April 2019, my co-host, Tyler Burns, and I discuss abortion from the perspective of Black men.
We acknowledge that we are two males talking about a topic that affects women in far more personally. We also acknowledge that devout people of faith may come to different conclusions about Roe v. Wade and abortion.
It’s a delicate topic, but we have to talk about it.
In this episode we talk about the history of the Religious Right’s opposition to abortion and its roots in opposition to racial desegregation.
We also get into the idea that opposing abortion and overturning Roe v Wade is actually a “safe” justice issue for many white Christians. A stance against abortion does not have to require any significant lifestyle change in terms of how you spend your money, where you live, where you send your kids to school, and more.
Tyler and I spend most of our time talking about how opposition to Roe v Wade is weaponized against Black people. Conservative Christians sometimes use the data that Black children are disproportionately affected by abortion to try to stir up more support for an anti-abortion stance.
They pathologize Black communities and demonize Black women both for having too many children as well as choosing abortion in some cases. All the while they basically ignore the poverty, lack of health care, and under-resourcing that often surrounds Black communities and women.
As Black Christian men we advocate for a supporting life from womb to tomb. A stance that requires increased investment in social support systems and resources that make it easier for women, babies, and families to flourish.
Ultimately, we’re interested in holistic views of morality. We cannot isolate a single issue as the only and primary matter pertaining to our decisions as political actors and people of faith.
An integrated ethic of life must consider multiple factors and the interconnectedness of moral issues to develop informed and compassionate stances on critical policies.
To paraphrase Tyler—we need prophetic imaginations creative enough to construct a morality outside the parameters that whiteness gave us.
You’ll have to listen to the whole episode for context and detail. Tune in HERE.