“This podcast is not about abortion.” On This special edition of TheGrio Daily, Michael Harriot passes the microphone to Dr. Christina Greer, host of TheGrio’s newest podcast, The Blackest Questions, as well as the political analyst for TheGrio and associate professor of political science at Fordham University. Dr. Greer will be informing you all about what the overturning of Roe v. Wade means for Black women and the Black community. TheGrio Daily is an original podcast by TheGrio Black Podcast Network. #BlackCultureAmplified
[00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified.
Michael Harriot [00:00:11] Hello. I’m Michael Harriot and welcome to theGrio Daily. Today, we have a special edition of theGrio Daily, because as many of you know, Roe versus Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, leaving abortion rights up to the states. So to have a better understanding of how this affects Black women and Black birthing people we have a special episode with Dr. Christina Greer, the host of theGrio’s newest podcast, “The Blackest Questions.” Dr. Greer is the politics editor for theGrio and associate professor of political science at Fordham University.
Protesters [00:00:50] Abortion is a right. We won’t give up our fight.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:01:00] Hi, from TheGrio Black Podcast Network. I’m your host, TheGrio politics editor and associate professor of political science at Fordham University, Dr. Christina Greer. And as the nation grapples with the reality that abortion is no longer a constitutional right in this country, at theGrio, we’re asking, what’s in it for us?
Protester [00:01:17] As a Black woman we are more likely to die from complications from pregnancy. As a Black woman, you are more likely to die when you’re giving birth to a baby when you can not have an abortion. You have to go through a life threatening situation of having a baby. You can die from that. It’s not only just a woman’s issue. It’s an all gender issue, right? If you’re a human being, this is your problem, too. It’s not even about women’s rights. It’s about human decency.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:01:45] On Friday, June 24th, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortion at 15 weeks and effectively ended the protection of abortion as a constitutional right. Now, the country’s most vulnerable populations, Black and brown women, are trying to make sense of what this means for them.
Speaker [00:02:02] You know, I’d be lying if I said I was surprised, but I’m also enraged and disgusted by the complacency and the evil that allowed this. A lot of our civil liberties were gained based on the same premise as Roe v Wade. And so the important questions I’m asking myself now are what additional losses of liberty await, and how do we marry our individual and collective practices of both hope and rage to recover what we’ve lost and prevent further harm? I have tried to record this about five or six times, and every time I feel like I don’t really have the right grasp on what’s happening. And I think that’s due to fear and. Not knowing what’s to come. Know fear of the unknown now.
Protesters [00:02:52] Change Now.
Speaker [00:02:55] Black feminist scholar and artist who works on issues of sexuality particularly horrified by this decision. I am of the generation whose mothers lived pre wade and navigate that world and I know my friends know what that caused them. We lived with them firsthand and knew what that did to their lives, to their choices, their ability to build full lives they wanted.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:03:24] There’s a lot going on, y’all, and I’m so glad I don’t have to unpack it all by myself and just a little bit. We’re going to talk with journalist Akilah Johnson, who covers the effects of racism and social inequality on health. But first, I’m so grateful to be joined by my Grio colleague and managing editor of politics and Washington correspondent Gerren Keith Gaynor. Gerren. Thank you so much for being here with me today.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:03:46] It’s a pleasure to be here. I. You’re one of my favorite people, Chrissy. So I think you’re the perfect person to facilitate an important conversation to be had right now in this country.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:03:56] Right. Well, thank you. I really appreciate that. And before we get into unfortunate stuff, I do want to say happy pride. And I would just want to thank you for all the work that you’ve been doing that just for TheGrio, but for Black folks writ large.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:04:07] Thank you so much.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:04:09] So I want you to talk to us about some of your initial thoughts and comments, reactions coming from legislators on Friday. How are Black women lawmakers responding to all this?
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:04:20] So it’s funny enough, hours before the ruling came out from the Supreme Court. 20 Black women members of Congress signed a letter to President Biden asking him to declare a public health and national emergency in anticipation of this ruling. And so when the ruling came out, our very own TheGrio White House correspondent April Ryan had the chance to speak to some members of Congress, one of whom was Representative Cori Bush, who said that she felt like she was punched in the gut. And Congresswoman Bush is someone who has spoken out about her own journey, deciding to have an abortion at 18 years old. She actually was with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra at a clinic when the decision came out. And so she obviously, like many women, particularly Black and brown women across the country, was disheartened. And you can hear the pain in her voice. And so even members of Congress who have have power and have influence, even they even though we kind of knew this would happen, we knew since May 2nd when the draft from Justice Alito came out that this was likely going to be the decision. I think for many members of Congress, including other people who are not a part of Congress. It wasn’t until that decision actually came out that it was really felt. And Congresswoman Bush said that she was inspired to tell her story about her abortion by Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, who, as we know last year doing an oversight committee hearing share her story because of these laws that were being passed, particularly in Texas, that was restricting, restricting or banning abortion. And Barbara Lee speaks in very detailed she has details about her abortion, how she shared it multiple times. But she talked about getting an abortion in a back alley before Roe v Wade and her fear that this will we will now see this. Modern America return to the years before Roe v Wade, where women risked their lives and their health to to make that very difficult decision. And so members of Congress are riled up. I know. Congresswoman MAXINE Waters in particular, has been one of the many who were out outside the Supreme Court protesting this decision. She said, the hell with the Supreme Court and we’re going to fight. But the reality is that that that fight is in Congress. And it’s a fight that many people have been calling for, including Congresswoman Cori Bush and other progressive members who have been from the very beginning saying we need to codify abortion rights in Congress. And that has yet to be happy. That has yet to happen. The House passed the Women’s Health Protection Prevention Act Protection Act. However, the Senate, as we know, did not. And it wasn’t just because of the filibuster. Senator Joe Manchin voted against that that that bill. And so the question becomes, can Congress do it? And we’re heading into an election in November. And so there’s an expectation that that Democrats may lose their majority in the House or the Senate or both. And if that happens, who knows when Democrats will or pro-choice lawmakers will have the opportunity to codify abortion rights? And so the Supreme Court ruling will stand potentially for many years to come.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:08:08] Right. And I mean, so frightening and dangerous in so many ways, Gerren. But, you know, I love the example that you gave of Cori Bush, because not only does she have a health care background, but she has a social justice background. And her bravery and honesty really just highlights the importance of the type of intellectual diversity and also occupational and background diversity that we need in Congress. Not everyone needs to be a lawyer or business person, you know, in Congress because they bring real world stories. And obviously, Representative Barbara Lee, you know, is a little closer to my mother’s age. And my mother told me stories of, you know, losing three classmates in high school to back alley abortions. And so what this new ruling actually is showing us is that abortion won’t be outlawed, safe abortions will be outlawed. You know, abortion is health care will be outlawed. But we know, unfortunately, so many women are going to have to rely on other factors and other sources when they are in desperate need to make a decision for themselves and their families. And so when we think about this legislation, you know, I’m a political scientist, as you know, and I’m a little worried about November 2022. I’m definitely worried about November 2024. We know that most Democratic legislators are concerned about this, but we still see, as you said, Democrats in the Senate holding up the process. I do wonder if Republicans have overplayed their hand. That might be a silver lining with, say, you know, white female suburban voters who they’ve always, you know, sort of worried about swing voters. But some of the legislation and the work of prior administrations has kind of brought us to this moment because we know Roe v Wade was litigated in 1973, and we’ve seen Republicans really work for the last 50 years to try and erode that particular decision. You’re in D.C.. What is the Biden administration’s role and responsibility here legislatively? You know, we know we’ve got these three branches of government, the executive, the legislative and judicial. The judicial has made it very clear 6 to 3 what they want. But we do have technically it’s a slim margin, but we do have a Democratically controlled house. We do have a slight Democratically controlled Senate, and we have a Democrat as a president. Is there a failure of this current legislative body to codify Roe? Is there a failure of the Biden administration to codify Roe? Talk to us about kind of that DC politics that the executive and the legislative branch in response to this moment right now.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:10:27] Yes. So in the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court decision for every day when I was in the White House press briefing room, almost every time abortion came up. What will the Biden administration do? Where are they preparing to do in anticipation of this ruling? And the Biden administration was they held their cards close to the chest. They obviously said that they were disappointed in the leaked draft. And then when the decision actually came out, President Biden just hours after the ruling gave his address and he finally outlined and charted what presumably is the strategy from the White House and potentially the Democratic strategy. One of them, the top line is that they believe that it is necessary for voters to have their voices heard at the ballot box, that they should elect more pro-choice lawmakers or in the eyes of the Democrats, elect more Democrats to Congress in order to codify abortion rights. President Biden admitted that while he is the president. His power is limited in in this fight. There is very little that he can do. The executive action to protect abortion rights for women and people who can get pregnant. He talked about helping women across the aisle and supporting them and spoke, I think, very strongly that he will do everything within his power to ensure that Republican governors and Republican leaders across in different states that are abandoning restricting abortion, that they will not stop a woman’s liberty of traveling across state lines to get an abortion. He also talked about expanding or supporting access to medicine and contraception for for women and people who can get pregnant. But many people feel that that’s not enough. You have members of Congress still, even before this ruling, but especially now saying that we don’t have to wait until November to see if we can elect more Democrats, that that they can do it now if they were to eliminate the filibuster. And so the filibuster is something that I think is going to be a big conversation in Washington, not just about abortion, but we’ve had we’ve heard this conversation about the filibuster from many different agenda items on for Democrats, including voting rights. And President Biden was very reluctant to speak out against eliminating the filibuster until January of this year when he gave that speech in Atlanta for voting rights to pass federal reform. So the question becomes, will President Biden also use the bully pulpit, use his power as president to also speak against eliminating the filibuster, not just for voting rights, but for abortion rights? It doesn’t seem likely. President Biden, as you know, is a former senator. He seems to be reluctant as many moderate Democrats to do that. But this is a time where people are calling for that to happen and not just eliminating the filibuster, but also a more progressive strategy like expanding the Supreme Court. Right. I’ve spoken to Congressman Mondaire Jones, who co-sponsored that bill with Congressman Hanks to expand the court. It’s not a popular idea right now in the Democratic Party. That doesn’t seem to be an appetite. But I think with all that we’re seeing right now in Washington, with these protests, the voters are.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:14:15] Clamoring for something.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:14:16] Are asking for something, and they’re desperate. And so we have to see and wait. But I think that this is going to be the filibuster is going to be the thing where President Biden and members of Congress can come together and coalesce around this issue.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:14:28] Golly, Gerren, we’re so thankful that you’re in Washington, D.C. following this and speaking to lawmakers. Before I let you go. Can you tell us about the possible next steps for pro-choice lawmakers? Now, I know Mondaire Jones is from New York, so I I’ve, you know, been very familiar with the work that he’s been doing in Washington, D.C.. But what is the plan that Biden has in trying to combat the court’s decision? I mean, we do know that his hands are somewhat tied. We do know that legislatively things don’t look great. But as you mentioned, there is this idea of executive orders that are possible. Is that something that you’re hearing the Biden administration discuss?
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:15:06] Yeah, I’m hearing that President Biden is going to essentially use the federal government, use federal agencies to help support states that do legalized abortion, to help them be able to have those resources in services for women, people who can get pregnant so that they can have access. But in terms of where states where it is restricted and banned, there’s honestly nothing that President Biden and pro-choice lawmakers can do.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:15:35] Wow.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:15:37] So what can we do then? I mean, besides vote. Mobilize to vote. Are there any conversations about what the holistic approach looks like for people who care about a woman’s right to choose?
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:15:50] We spoke to Black women who are in the civil rights community who say that they are not going to take this lying down, that they’re going to fight. And part of that fight is mobilizing Black voters. These organizers have always been mobilizing Black voters around issues like voting rights, like police reform. But abortion rights is something that I think is going to really galvanize voters because we’re seeing a constitutional right that was a right for nearly 50 years to be removed. And so even if you’re not a woman or a person you can get pregnant with, such as myself, you might be queer and might be disturbed by the opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas that suggested that they will revisit other fundamental rights like marriage equality. And so it’s really going to take a coalition of not just people who are pro-abortion rights and pro-choice, but who are pro democracy and and other issues coalescing together and saying that we have to come together if we’re going to prevent constitutional rights from being taken away.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:16:56] Right. Oh, Gerren. I can’t thank you enough for joining us and I really can’t thank you for all the work that you’re doing in the Capitol on behalf of theGrio and Black people in this country. To keep up with your coverage of the Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down Roe v Wade and his other stellar reporting from the White House and Capitol Hill. You can follow him on Twitter at Mister Gerrenalist. That’s GERRENALIST. MisterGerrenalist. And you can, of course, read his stories on the group’s website at WW dot TheGrio.com. Thank you so much, Gerren.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:17:32] Thanks, Christie.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:17:34] We’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we’re talking to journalist Akilah Johnson about the piece she penned for The Washington Post just days before the ruling about Black women’s rights for reproductive justice.
Panama Jackson [00:17:46] What’s going on, everybody? Panama Jackson here. And I’m the host of the Dear Culture Podcast on theGrio Black Podcast Network. And I’m telling you to check us out every Thursday on theGrio’s app to make sure you get that new, amazing, original Black content, that awesome creativity. Check us out. Dear Culture, Panama Jackson. Out.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:18:12] The striking down of Roe versus Wade sent shockwaves across the country. And we’re taking a moment to step away from the doomscrolling and posting to try to make sense of what this all means for Black women and birthing people. Akilah Johnson is a national reporter exploring the effect of racism and social inequality on health for The Washington Post. She’s also an alumna of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University and was a member of the Boston Globe staff that won a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. In 2018, She was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for local reporting as a member of the Spotlight Team’s investigation. Boston Racism Image Reality. That same piece earned her the National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award. Her recent piece for the Washington Post was published on June 10th. Akilah, thank you so much for being here.
Akilah Johnson [00:19:03] Thank you for having me.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:19:05] First things first. I love talking to Black female Pulitzer Prize winners. It just makes me happy, even at the topic of doom and gloom. I just want to thank you so much for joining us here at The Grio. And let’s just jump right in. Can you talk to us a bit more about the challenges Black women already face and what the potential consequences are for us directly with this new ruling by the Supreme Court?
Akilah Johnson [00:19:29] Well, you know, it’s interesting. One of the things that comes up repeatedly again and again is that we are a nation that is in the midst of an ever growing maternal mortality and maternal mortality, health crisis, and not just mortality more, but morbidity as well. So and that is for women, 15 to 14 in this country, pregnancy-related deaths is a leading, you know, is a leading cause of death. And for Black women and for Black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts. So what is already a crisis is even worse for Black women. And, you know, two out of three pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. And a lot of that has to do with how you show up to pregnancy. And, you know, as Black women in this country, you are constantly confronted by barriers that, in fact, that affect your health care. Right. And so that includes lack of access to providers, lack of access when it comes to medical insurance and the type of, you know, coverage that you have. That includes just the stress of being a Black woman and the way that prematurely ages the body and wears down the body. Confronting stereotypes when you go to your provider. Black pain not being believed. You know, Black people are more likely to be described in negative terms and electronic health records. And so take that entire situation and then remove abortion access to it. And so you’ve got a lot of doctors, a lot of advocates saying that is going to exacerbate what is already a national crisis when it comes to maternal health and maternal mortality. You know, and so you’ve got that aspect of it. And then you also have when it comes to who accesses abortion rights, Black women are more likely to access abortion than white women are. So that is also a barrier. That is also how that is going to affect Black women. And after the Supreme Court decision came down, I got a lot of notes from folks that that pointed out something that I was like, oh, right. Of course, it’s that more than 50% of the Black population lives in the south or lives in states that are going to have some of the most restrictive abortion laws on the books once, you know, now that Roe was overturned. So it’s going to have a huge impact on Black women and communities of color.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:21:41] Absolutely. Well, I also think about the fact, Akilah, that Black women by and large make, what, 60 or $0.70 on the dollar? So the financial calculus of starting a family and making this choice is very different for Black women. And as you lay out so eloquently in so much of your journalism, in your reporting, you really do lay out how Black women in this country are, are are already extremely vulnerable to the lack of access and proper medical care. Now, as I’ve said time and time again, abortion is a form of medical care, as a form of health care for so many women, especially Black women. So can you unpack the perspective of folks who argue that ending federal protection of abortion is not a threat to health care for Black women? And so, for example, there are Black women like Louisiana State Senator Katrina Jackson, who’s a Democrat, who doesn’t believe that outlawing abortion is a threat to Black women’s health care. And she said, quote, To truly improve health care for African-American women and girls, research dollars should be spent determining why there are higher rates of diabetes, preeclampsia and fibroids in the Black community. And more should be invested in removing barriers to health care, such as improving transit systems, expanding access to contraceptives and sex education, and ensuring Black women receive respectful care. That’s what she then added. Cannot be both Akilah. Why can’t it be both? And why can’t we have access to all of these things and also access to abortion services?
Akilah Johnson [00:23:01] Well, that’s what I was going to say, right? So like, not to take away from the things that she points out, because that is also what you have a lot of folks in the reproductive justice space. Fighting for and advocating for. And so if you know, to unpack that a little bit, if you think about what reproductive justice means and you think about how Black women have been advocating and pushing for expansion and control over reproductive health, it has to do with body autonomy. Right. And having control over over your own body and how for centuries, Black women didn’t have that autonomy, you know? If you just look at starting with enslaved Black women and kind of where modern gynecology comes from and stems from and how it was advanced, it was advanced by this man who was doing experiments. Experiments, right. Torturous thing. He was he was doing torturous experiments on anesthetized, enslaved Black women’s to to further modern gynecological sciences. And a lot of that is still in play today, you know, to come up with procedures and techniques people like to bring up for sterilization. And the issue of that and how that was, you know, a huge concern for Black, Native American, Puerto Rican women, poor women in the seventies. All of that is true. And so for a lot of folks who then are not in support of abortion rights, what they say is abortion is another form of exploitation of Black women and Black health care. You know, they they liken it to genocide. And so, you know, and that argument is it is not health care. It is a form of genocide, is a form. It is a further form of exploitation of Black women’s reproductive health. However, when you talk to medical professionals, you know, they will say abortion is health care because abortion affects it. It affects how you treat and talk about ectopic pregnancy. So it’s, you know, different forms of treatment for different forms of miscarriages. It is a treatment for same procedure is used to treat a whole host of issues, including like removing cysts from from the uterus and the ovary and dealing with a lot of reproductive health issues that that women, Black women in particular, have the disproportionate rates. And so as you begin to restrict access to abortion, you not only take away that service, you have a chilling effect on how you begin to treat miscarriages. You know, and I brought up that when it comes to maternal maternal mortality and morbidity, because we have to remember the morbidity part that is going to have an effect on Black women, on Black women’s health. But also, if you just think about the conversation that happens between doctor and patient, if you’re in a state where abortion is outlawed and criminalized and, you know, people are worried is going to have a chilling effect on just the conversation that happens between doctor and patient. And already there is so much mistrust and distrust, you know, in the Black community when it comes to the health care system because of just centuries of abuse and mistreatment, you know. And so then the question becomes, if, you know, I had a doctor and obeyed what I am saying, asking a woman if she’s been pregnant and had she carried determine the outcome of that pregnancy. Is this routine is asking a woman when her last pap smear was. But if you’re in a state that is restricting abortion rights and as restrict restricting abortion access and criminalizing it, the answer to that question becomes much more fraught and even asking it becomes much more fraught. Folks have brought. Up. So it is it is a it is a much larger issue, you know, a much more complicated issue, I think, than people sometimes, you know.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:26:35] Yes. Especially for Black women because of the relationship that we have had with doctors. And we also know that so many people have not used health care because because of the longstanding distrust between the Black community and doctors and how we’ve been treated. And so that that distrust is real. I mean, I think many Black people have seen it with various members of their family who do not go to doctors or will only go to a hospital if it’s an emergency room. But I wanted to unpack something really important that you said Akilah about through the conservative response. And, you know, those who say abortion is not health care, it is you know, we’re sort of falling into the trap of like we’re killing our own people. Right? Because clearly white folks have an agenda to uphold sort of white nationalist mindset that it’s always been in this country. So why would we, you know, kill our own children? And you interviewed Starr Parker, who’s the founder of the Black conservative think tank Cure and a staunch anti abortionists. And I believe, as Star said, we as a society need to explore much deeper how killing your offspring became health care. And that’s I think that that will be an interesting argument for a lot of these anti-choice, sort of right wing white evangelicals to try and come in and explain to Black people why the Supreme Court did what they did. Do you think that they’ll get traction with that argument?
Akilah Johnson [00:27:49] And, I mean, we just had the overturning of Roe v Wade. That argument has been around for a long time. And so has it gained traction? It is. It is definitely there. You know, you’ve got.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:28:00] With Black people. I’m sorry, specifically, Do you think?
Akilah Johnson [00:28:02] Black people specifically? Yes. I mean, this is not a new argument by any stretch of the imagination. You know, one of the photos in the piece from the White. Washington Post was from a 2002 protest. And it is you know, there are signs where people are holding up talking about abortion as Black genocide. So this is an argument that has been around for a long time. So it has traction. And one of the things that has come up, you know, that was a footnote in the leaked opinion that Clarence Thomas mentioned in a 2019 opinion is this relationship between genocide and abortion and, you know, eugenics, eugenics and abortion rights and proponents of eugenics talking about it in a way that had to do with decreasing the back of the Black population. And so if you talk to historians, you know, medical historians, medical anthropologist, folks who study the history of medicine and race, they will tell you that is an extreme cherry picking of what eugenicist is and where then where that debate comes from. Right. Like, no eugenicist did not have a a positive outlook on Black people. They were not pro-Black. You know, eugenicist definitely. It is a pseudoscience that has largely been discredited, and it was about proving the kind of superior fitness of white Americans. Mm hmm. However, eugenicists would like state the state coming in and doing forced sterilization in terms of population control. Right. We don’t want these, quote unquote undesirables in which gets into the forced sterilizations that we were talking about, you know, from the seventies, in the early sixties, going back like that, I would say the real thing that was, yeah.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:29:37] I think Fannie Lou Hamer, you know, a mississippi appendectomy was so common. That was the term that they used for women who went in for a regular procedure and would come out sterilized.
Akilah Johnson [00:29:46] And so that was the state doing it. That’s eugenics. Abortion is an individual choice that a woman makes and that is, you know, a woman exercising bodily autonomy between her and her doctors. And if you talk to medical stores and anthropologists, they say it’s a conflation of things like two things can be true at the same time, but they are not the exact same thing. You know, in terms of how you were doing this extreme cherry picking of of the history to kind of support support this cause. And so I don’t I, I think that is something that quite often doesn’t get talked about a lot and gets kind of lost because as you said, things can be a yes and a situation. It doesn’t always have to be a no but type of a situation. And so yeah.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:30:27] So before I let you out of here, I can you just leave us with some, some thoughts on what are some of the ways this decision is going to affect the lives of Black women in total and not just in health care? You know, obviously, I’m concerned about some of the financial repercussions that could befall Black communities, especially since we have so many Black men incarcerated. We have so many Blac k women being evicted because of gentrification. And obviously, in a COVID world, how cities are reshuffling themselves as folks want to come back in and, you know, by real estate and interest rates and all of these things that that directly affect Black people, even when we’re not anywhere near in charge. Can you talk us talk to us about it briefly, about the totality of it all besides health care?
Akilah Johnson [00:31:09] You know, it’s interesting because there was a study that I read done by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and they interviewed Black women who had had abortions about, you know, the reasons that they had them, what drove them to abortion as a see that as an option? A lot of them were already parents. And what they talked about were the kind of outside systemic forces that drove them to that choice. You know, they talked about relationships, mass incarceration. You know, that the experiences with mass incarceration, losing jobs, economy, being able to financially support, that the children in the family that they had, let alone expanding that family. You know, also interventions and interactions with Child Protective Services and the increase of that, you know, so you really have to begin to take think about the totality of forces, racism, classism, sexism that affects Black women’s lives. Those are all decisions that go in. You know, that is all part of the decision making process when it came to accessing abortion services for the women who were interviewed as part of this study. And, you know, there’s a lot of research that talks about it’s brought. Let’s take a step back. If you look at the reproductive justice movement, that is what is it about? It is about health care and living like in its totality. The decision to have children are not have children. It’s not just a decision not to parent. It is also the decision to parent and to parent in a world where the basic needs a parent and child are met. And so in this fight and in this conversation, it is about more than abortion rights. It is about the totality of reproductive justice, reproductive health and all of the things that affect that the environment, you know, where people live, how people live, the struggles and the striving to get ahead. All of that affects reproductive choices for Black women in this country.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:33:07] Oh, Akilah, please. Promises to. You’ll come back and join us again.
Akilah Johnson [00:33:11] Having me back. Invitation.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:33:13] I absolutely cannot wait. Thank you again so much for joining us here at TheGrio. For those of you at home, Akilah Johnson is a national reporter for The Washington Post. You can keep up with her reporting there and on Twitter at A.K. Johnson, 1922. That’s at A.K. Johnson, 1922. You can also visit her website, Akilah Johnson dot com. And don’t forget, she’s a Pulitzer Prize winner. Thanks so much, Akilah.
Akilah Johnson [00:33:36] Thank you.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:33:38] I’m your host, Dr. Christina Greer. Special thanks to our guests and the beautiful Black and brown women who shared their thoughts with us for this episode. Join me next month when I launch my new show, “The Black Questions”, right here on theGrio Black Podcast Network. You can find us by downloading the Grio app and anywhere else podcasts are streamed. Until then, take care and stay safe.
Michael Harriot [00:33:59] Thank you for listening to this special edition of TheGrio Daily. I want to thank Dr. Greer and her guests for giving us such great insight on how the overturning Roe versus Wade affects us all. Remember, you can listen to TheGrio daily on theGrio app and anywhere you get your podcast. I’m Michael Harriot and we’ll see you next time on TheGrio Daily.
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