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Racial Demographics of Abortion – The Personhood Amendment Debate

Black Lives Matter

It is said that there is a very high rate of abortion in the U.S. among the black women as compared to white. If we see the figures and try to figure out the number abortions being carried out across the demographics divide of the country, we will be astonished to see how much it has to do with the race. To see how high the abortion rate among black women in comparison to white women is, we can tell that overall white women opted for 138 abortions for every 1000 births last year as compared to the black women who opted for 501 abortions for every 1000 births. To minimize this, the Republicans introduced a Personhood Bill in 2010.

Before we go into the details, it is vital to discuss the background of why such a measure was taken and why people think black women are going to be the prime victimized after this act is passed countrywide. Partly due to the reason that rate of abortions have tremendously increased in the states and according to a survey black women are likely to get four times more abortions than white. It is also important to note that it has nothing to do with hidden agendas or mal intent. It is only to do with popular practices among a certain chunk of the society.

This issue has been highlighted by many organizations. One of such organizations blackgenocide.org has concluded following points on their website:

  1. Minority women make up 13% of the female population aging 15-44 in the U.S., but they have gone approximately 36% of the total abortions.
  2. There are more than five times chances that black women will have an abortion as compared to a white woman in the U.S.
  3. On average, 1,876 black babies are aborted every day in the U.S.

It is true that abortion results in great loss of life. It is estimated that Black women have carried out approximately 16 million abortions since 1973. According to Michael Novak’s calculations, the current population of Blacks in the U.S. is 36 million while the missing 16 million represents an enormous loss. Without these abortions, America’s Black community would now be 52 million which makes it 36% larger than it is now. So like it has caused in cutting down every fourth member of the Black-American community.

The main disadvantage of having abortions is that it tremendously affects the health of the woman who undergoes an abortion. A very profound study done by the Howard University in 1993 showed that African-American women (above the age of 50) had 4.7 times more chances of getting breast cancer if they had any abortions as compared to women who had no abortions.

To change this trend, Personhood Act was initiated as a constitutional amendment in Colorado on 2nd November 2010. According to it, personhood sees every human being from the very beginning of his biological development in the fetus. In definition Personhood law is a law designed to extend the legal concept of “personhood” to pre-born humans. Specifically, this law gives legal status to a person to any fertilized human egg, from conception until birth. Therefore, now this bill is being sought to ban abortion in different states of America.

The law is being re-emphasized since March 2015 when a pregnant woman was attacked in Colorado. This can charge a person with murder who causes a pregnant woman’s fetus to die during its development stages. Although the Colorado voters have rejected it thrice now the government is determined to implement it.

The recent reintroduction of the bill by Republican’s Sen. Paul Rand is claimed that it only attempts to sidestep Birth Control Controversy and varies slightly from the one he first introduced in 2013 stating that it should not be interpreted as “a ban on in vitro fertilization, or a ban on the use of birth control or any other means of preventing fertilization.”

The Republicans are of the view that they want this bill to be implemented because it is not the first time that anyone has attacked a pregnant woman and caused the harm to the fetus. And in the past, there has been a similar bill drafted by Cadman after DynelCatrece Lane aged 34 stabbed Michelle Wilkins and cut the 7-month-old fetus out of her womb. Mother aged 26 survived but the baby couldn’t. Boulder County District Attorney Stanley Garnett filed eight felony charges against the attacker, including attempted murder, a 1st-degree assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy. But he said he was not able to file murder charges against him because the baby never lived outside the womb.

He further explained that the purpose of his new bill is to ensure that a public prosecutor can file murder charges in such cases irrespective of the age of the fetus. The Republican lawmaker who wrote this bill explained that he was careful to write the law so that it does not affect the right of abortion that is currently being practiced by anyone in the country. It does not apply to an act performed by the mother in pure medical scenarios or to a physician performing a medical procedure or any licensed medical professional upon the request of a pregnant mother or in cases a fetus is harmed during the dispense or administration of the prescribed medication.

However, the Democrats and women’s rights groups have expressed concern that the measure could still be used to charge pregnant women. Because the bill gives personhood right to fetuses. They are concerned that it might open the door to a full prohibition on abortion and even the use of birth control measures in the states. They further are of the view that such bills, whenever passed, could not ensure the protection of women and instead have caused more harm than good. It is more often that low-income women and black women have been charged with such bills, already belong from the most vulnerable populations.

As soon as the legislation was materialized, an Indianan woman, Purvi Patel, aged 33 was sentenced to twenty years in prison for felony neglect and “feticide” after a miscarriage during pregnancy and then dumping the dead fetus. Since then it has become a hot debate and people have shown an overall concern and reservations over this matter.