Jen isn't the only one at All Our Lives who is asking "What's next?" of those who seek to oppose abortion in such self-defeating ways.
I recently sent the following message to an organization that just brought controversial billboards on race and abortion rather close to home. Apparently the root causes of abortion are not eugenic and genocidal enough to claim their attention, even though attention to these and not simply to the end result, the incidence of abortion, would make a lot of unintended pregnancies and abortions go away.
Dear Life Always,
I hear that you plan to bring billboards into the African American majority areas of my city, saying that "every 21 seconds our leader is aborted."
Now I am pro every life, before, during, and ever after birth. And for this reason, I need to ask: why have I not heard of you coming before into the place where my family and I live, alleviating the very reasons why Black women and babies so frequently are involved in situations of unintended pregnancy, abortion, inhumanely unsupported parenthood?
Many Black women say they feel blamed and scapegoated by your billboards. Might this outcry not be a sign to you that your tactics are misdirected? Why not listen and learn in a spirit of humility?
I wish you'd take the money you are sinking into these billboards and spend it and fundraise instead on fostering everything and anything necessary to challenge the realities of institutionalized racism that account for the higher abortion rate among African American women, including the denial of health services such as family planning (prevention) and prenatal and postnatal care; institutionalized poverty; subsubstandard housing conditions; family and community violence; the enforced lack of educational and job opportunities; the criminalization of Black men; the ruthless stereotyping of Black women as sexually and reproductively feckless, irresponsible, destructive…
If every 21 seconds our leader is aborted, then prolife must mean getting on the case like this. It cannot mean anything one whit less. It cannot mean running away from or denying this full and inescapable set of responsibilities. And it must mean dealing with the fact that pregnancy and motherhood are twisted around by social conditions into forms of oppression that abort women's own leadership capacities!
And you know what? I'm sure Life Always is swamped with responses to these Obama-portraying billboards, but…I haven't heard back from them. And I wonder if I ever will.