I stand here today, a bit amazed, that it’s 2012. That it is 2012 and here we are again fighting for the very bare bone basic women’s right to dignity and respect.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen an on slot of vicious attacks blatantly calling women sluts and being proud of it. We’ve seen a race based billboard campaign targeting black women and families across the nation, and Latinas right here at home. Over the past several years over 700 anti-choice/ anti-women bills have been introduced, not limited to force transvaginal ultrasounds and personhood initiative so extreme it couldn’t pass in Mississippi.
But they say it’s not a war on women…
Well lets talk about what’s going on with women and our families in this very community. Black women are dying at three times the rate of other women from complications of giving birth. 1 out every 1000 black infants will not make it to his or her first birthday. Los Angeles County has the highest rates of chlamydia in the country, with the majority of those cases impacting black women and latinas. All while some argue to cut health services and programs that support women and families.
However, there is a silver lining for us in California, we have women champions like Assemblymember Holly Mitchell that are authoring bills to increase women’s access – like AB2348. Making sure that women health is not a political pawn in an election year but something that we continue to work at and do better every year.
Increased access to birth control and family planning via AB 2348 is crucial to the reproductive health and safety of the women in our communities. Black Women for Wellness supports this bill as it preserves a woman’s right to reproduce at a time she feels prepared, if at all she chooses. This bill will help prevent unintended pregnancies by offering women the appropriate contraceptive care in a timely manner.
Unintended pregnancies – not necessarily unwanted but unplanned, pose great risks which include stress and difficulty during and after birth to both mother and infant with effects that could carry on though out both mother and the child’s life. African American women have the highest rates of unintended pregnancies and also lead in the realm of low and very low weight births.
Proper family planning services are imperative in the efforts to reduce if not eradicate this disparity and AB 2348 seeks to do just that. By increasing the availability and timeliness of contraception, a woman is encouraged and empowered to make her own decisions regarding her pregnancy. Increased availability of birth control and family planning services reduces the chances of an unintended pregnancy which fosters the decrease of a stressful pregnancy and maternal and infant mortality. We encourage the overall health and well being of our women by securing her mental, physical and even financial health -which access to safe and effective birth control is an essential part of.
AB 2348 advances reproductive health by offering a woman greater control over her body and thus her life. Black Women for Wellness is asking our elected officials to stand with the community – to stand up for women – and support AB 2348.