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African American Women and Freedom The Reproductive Choice of the African American Women

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Abstract The paper on African American women and the history of their reproductive choice delves in to the various aspects that these women suffer with regard to pregnancy. They are not treated with the same equality as the American women. The freedom to do as per their liking with their bodies is not granted which makes them suffer at the hands of callous doctors. This practice has to be stopped and though various women’s organizations and activists are at it, there has not been much of a success. Therefore, more work is required to stop these unhealthy practices and ensure that the African American women are given the freedom which they are due. The question ‘Was reproductive freedom achieved and in what way was it helpful for the African American women?’ is the question which is answered in the paper. The references ‘Reproductive Freedoms and African American Women and Women of color’ and ‘the reproductive rights movement ‘ help in discussing this topic.


Freedom has to be given to the African American women in their reproductive choice as it plays an essential role in their life. But the sad part is that many women’s rights movements have chosen to completely ignore this aspect. They want the freedom of going in for abortions when they are expecting an unplanned pregnancy (Rutherford, 1992). The African American women demand reproductive freedom to make them financially, socially, mentally and politically strong. They are denied ways to undergo abortion, consuming birth control pills and gaining knowledge of sex. On the contrary, one can see that some African American women were sterilized forcibly if they wanted to receive benefits from the government. Some have been sterilized without their agreement (Ross, n.d.).  Hence, these facts make us ponder as to how the administration could be so cruel as to make these innocent women suffer. The purpose of writing this is to depict as to how the African American women were harassed and were unable to claim their legal rights of reproductive choice. This has been an eye-opener for many people who had been so far unaware that such a practice was being carried out.

Organizations Formed To Help The African American Women:

The Black Panther Party and Young Lords Party fought against the thought that the use of contraceptives was equal to consuming genocide. They as well wanted forced abortion and sterilization to be abolished and not be attempted on an African American women involuntarily, that is, without her consent. The other organizations, to name a few were the NWRO, the BWLC etc (Nelson, 2003).

The Stigma Of Abortion:

Abortion was considered to be a stigma and the African American women died of this nearly four times more than the American women. This was so as the women lacked good health care facilities and the costs were as well high ranging from $ 600 to 800  which was beyond their capacity to spend. Only a few sympathetic doctors agreed to do it for free. Some of the women induced abortion on themselves by hitting on their  tummy, inserting pointed metals into their uterus, drinking poison etc. This resulted in bleeding emergencies which sometimes proved to be fatal. Poverty was one of the causes for aborting a child and many others felt that a support from the public to help the poor women financially would solve the problem of rearing the child (Nelson, 2003).

Unhealthy Surroundings In Workplaces:

The African American women were made to work in environments that were dirty and hazardous which had an impact on their child- bearing capacity. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 stated that no employer could  keep women who are in the reproductive age, in certain types of dangerous jobs. This was known as the “fetal protection” case which was put forth by the Supreme Court. This barred the entry of women from doing jobs in production units which would have affected their reproductive capacity (Rutherford, 1992).

The Ralf Sisters Case:

In the year 1973, two sisters who were mentally disabled, were persuaded to undergo sterilization without their realization. The nurses in the clinic coerced their mother into thinking that her two daughters were being given birth control injections with her consent.

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