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Op-Ed: Proposition 115 Is an Attack on Black Women’s Lives

Elephant Circle, supporting women of color.EXPAND
Elephant Circle, supporting women of color.
elephantcircle.net

Time and again we have seen bills pushed to control the ability of women of color to make our own reproductive health decisions, from when to become pregnant and raise children to creating more obstacles to abortion access. We heard the horrific news that immigrant women were being forced to have hysterectomies — and over the past year, bans on abortion have swept the nation.

Let’s be clear: This is all part of a political agenda to deny autonomy to women of color. We are told when we can and can’t have kids, and what kind of health care we are allowed to get. This is all while people ignore the very real plight that Black women are facing when we seek to try to have healthy pregnancies.

Black women are dying in childbirth at the same time I hear lawmakers talk about how much they value life. Where is the care for the lives of Black women when it comes to Breonna Taylor, who was gunned down by police, or Deidre Johnson, a 35-year-old woman in Colorado who nearly died as a result of pregnancy complications and a medical system that does not hear our voices or see our needs?

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And now we are facing the fourth attempt in the past twelve years to take away decisions and medical options from Coloradans. This time they are targeting people who need care later in pregnancy. A lot of these are people who had a pregnancy that did not go the way they had hoped. This is not a time when we need to have politicians tell us what to do.

Proposition 115 is a dangerous ban on abortion that will force a pregnant woman to remain pregnant in every case, except if an abortion is required to save her life — with no exceptions for health or individual circumstances, including a lethal fetal diagnosis, woman’s health or even rape. Proponents of Prop 115 say that this ban is a reasonable “compromise.” However, there is nothing reasonable about restricting medical care for others based on personal preference or political beliefs.

Anti-abortion politicians and extremist citizen-led groups have been working to push abortion care out of reach, with the ultimate goal of banning it outright. They’ve created a web of barriers that disproportionately affect the ability of poor women, young women and women of color to access safe and affordable abortion care.

Instead of wasting more time undermining the bodily autonomy of women of color, we should be dealing with the fact that nearly one in eight Colorado kids do not know when or where they will get their next meal. Or how about the fact that we rank 45th nationally for access to food stamps? And that Black Coloradans are more likely to struggle to make ends meet to ensure the health and well-being of our families?

Marginalized people in our state are pushing past unbelievable obstacles to strive to create healthy, empowered, liberated lives. We do not need a policy that pushes care out of reach in tough circumstances. We don’t need meddling and myths and political games being played with our bodies or our families. Black women need support and a little more care for our lives.

Vote No on Proposition 115.

Nyia Milton is a certified doula and part of the team at Elephant Circle, a Colorado-based organization working to defend and empower strong and healthy pregnant and postpartum people and families.

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