Until fairly recently – I’m talking about the past few months – I felt like making the connection between racism and the American anti-abortion movement was mostly an academic endeavor.
You’ll find the story in obscure Twitter threads and textbooks, but if you weren’t steeped in the daily reproductive rights news (or weren’t a non-white pregnant person), it might have -be been easy to miss the explicit of the anti-abortion movement. racial references.
But Republicans have suppressed any claim that their opposition to abortion is based on anything other than deeply held racist beliefs.
Black women are Louisiana. They are not statistics to be “corrected” and analyzed from larger data.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., helped drive this home with comments he made last week, in which he appeared to brag about how good his state’s maternal mortality rate was without the existence of black women. When Politico asked Cassidy, who staunchly opposes abortion rights, why the maternal mortality rate in her state is so high, the senator suggested that black women were just an outlier responsible for increasing this number.
“About a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So if you correct our population for race, we’re not as outlier as it looks otherwise,” Cassidy told Politico.
But… Black women are Louisiana women. These are not statistics to be “corrected” and analyzed from larger data, and it is obviously racist to suggest separating their pregnancy-related deaths from the total number in order to minimize the severity of maternal mortality.
Seemingly sensing the horror of his comments, Cassidy claimed his remarks were not intended to “minimize” but to “center the issue”.
“For some reason, people of color have a higher incidence of maternal mortality,” he added.
The reasons – primarily systemic racism – are well documented. Cassidy, a former doctor, was rightly trolled for his comments.
Cassidy’s remarks were cruel, but when viewed in the context of the GOP’s anti-abortion crusade, they fit neatly into the party’s pattern of continuing restrictions on reproductive rights despite — or even because of — their racist implications.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Hungary last week, the group’s leader, Matt Schlapp, appeared to link the GOP’s anti-abortion stance to the racist “Great Replacement Theory” that claims non-white groups destroy America by demographic change.
“Roe v. Wade is on trial in the Supreme Court right now, for people who believe that we need to somehow replace populations or bring in new workers, I think that’s a appropriate first step in giving the … enshrinement in law the right to life for our own unborn children,” Schlapp told reporters outside the conference, according to Vice News.
“If you say there is a population problem in a country, but you kill millions of people every year through legalized abortion, if that were to be reduced, part of that problem is solved” , he added. “You have millions of people who can do many of these jobs. How come no one talks about it?”
As it turns out, a lot people brought this up. In fact, many Republicans coming close to the same racist “replacement” theory have made similar points about maintaining America’s racial makeup.
Perhaps unknowingly, Schlapp and others are doing us a favor by openly displaying bigoted beliefs like these. This is further proof that the noble religion we’ve been told drives the anti-abortion movement is actually much more devious.