TheGrio Daily

The Podcast Is Not About Abortion Pt. 2

Episode 16

“America ain’t going to let nothing happen to White women.” In part 2, Michael Harriot continues to break down why the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v Wade. TheGrio Daily is an original podcast from theGrio Black Podcast Network #BlackCultureAmplified

You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. 

[00:00:05] Previously on theGrio Daily. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:07] I’m sure you’ve heard that the United States Supreme Court overturned the right of women to obtain safe and legal abortions in the United States. People were outraged. Some were delighted. Some claimed the decision would turn America into a religious theocracy. Others said it’s going to protect the life of the unborn. Some say it is about a women’s right to control their body. Other said, about the culture of life. Well, we’re going to talk about all of that today. We’re going to talk about the discussion, the politics and the reality. But there’s one thing we won’t talk about when discussing Dobbs versus Jackson. We won’t be talking about abortion. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:46] I’m Michael Harriot. And this is theGrio Daily. Every time the Supreme Court and conservatives want to take away people’s rights, they use that dog whistle of states’ rights. That’s what we use for slavery, right? They weren’t saying like we support slavery. They were saying that the state should get to enslave people if the people in that state want to. It’s always that states’ rights argument every time they want to take away rights of people. Right. It’s even what they use for gun laws. They’re saying not that people should be able to kill each other, but that the states should be able to make its own gun laws. And there shouldn’t be a federal gun registry. There shouldn’t be an overall law that requires everyone to get a background check. It should be up to the states. They’re saying it’s states’ rights and the only right they ever cite the states should have is the right to discriminate against people. They never used the states’ rights arguments to expand rights. So that you never hear them say, well, look, we should expand the right to vote to 17 year olds because a state has that privilege or the states should be able to, you know, allow at home voting or, you know, they should be allowed to, you know, expand voting rights to absentee voters. You never hear Republicans say that. They’re always using the states’ rights arguments to constrict rights of people and who gets to choose that liberty. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:25] See, this podcast is also about state legislatures. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, every single state legislature in America is disproportionately white, meaning that there are a greater percentage of white people in the state legislature than there is in that state. And this podcast is about that. This podcast is also about the criminal justice system, because that Supreme Court decision was about the criminal justice system. Right. They’re not just saying that women can’t choose what they want to do with their own body. They said, we’re making it a crime. We’re putting bounties out on women who basically choose what they want to do with their body. And again, it’s not about abortion because they can make that law for anything. But if you want to use birth control or if you don’t want to, you know, use a certain kind of medicine or a certain kind of menstrual regulation, they could say, look. We control your body. The Supreme Court said so, right? A woman does not have the right to control her body. That decision was not about abortion. It was about the right to control in your body. What criminal statute has ever been passed that hasn’t been levied against Black people disproportionately, right? We know that white people use more drugs, but Black people are arrested for drugs at three times the rate because of the way the criminal justice system works. And what this law does is basically say not just that you’ll be fine or we’ll, you know, restrict you in some way if you choose to terminate a pregnancy or if you make the decision about your body. That is against what the white men in the state legislature tell you is right for your body. What they are saying is you will go to jail. The doctors will go to jail. And any citizen in this state, right, can enrich themselves by telling on a woman who did what she wants to do with her body. This podcast is also about Black women. 

Michael Harriot [00:04:51] So a couple of months ago, even before this decision came down, theGrio collected 2019 state-level data, and that was the most current that was available in each category from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Census Bureau, and individual state health agencies to create this statistical comparison of the difference in women’s and children’s health status. Because, see, people always say like Black women get all these abortions, but what they don’t realize is a lot of abortions protect the life of the mother. And when we compared the statistical data, what we found was that for the 20 trigger states, that these states that are basically going to make abortion illegal immediately because Roe was overturn versus 20 states that have already vowed to protect women’s rights. And then we compared the national average in seven statistical categories and found this. We found that in 2019, Black women were five times more likely to have an abortion than white women, because most of the Black children who die before the birth first birthdays live in states where abortion would be banned. We found out that Black women are twice as likely to die during childbirth. We found that the abortion rate for white women is lower in trigger states. The states where abortion is already been bad while the rate of Black abortion is higher because a Black woman in a trigger state is 15% more likely to live in poverty in every statistical category, Black women who live in states where abortion rights are protected have better health outcomes. The same is not true for white women in state where abortion would be banned. Every statistical health outcome for Black women is worst than the national average. 

Michael Harriot [00:06:48] So protecting the right of a woman to choose what they do with their body is part of protecting Black women. Because let’s be honest, white women don’t have to worry about this. White women are still going to be able to get abortions. So they might have to go to another state. They might have to drive longer. But they have the means. They have the access. And I mean, America protects white women lesbians. I know a lot of people are saying this is about the religious right. And this country is turning into a theocracy. But this podcast is not about religion. It’s about white religion. See, we blaming this war on Christianity, Jesus, and calling these people religious zealots. But Black Protestants don’t support pro-life politicians. Right? Like Black people, statistically, this is like studies that show that Black people attend church more often and pray more often, but they don’t, for some reason, support this pro-life movement. 

Michael Harriot [00:07:52] Hispanic Catholics don’t. They don’t believe in abortion, but they don’t support pro-life politics, it’s just white people who are doing this. Whiteness is the thing. Even white women. See white women traditionally support anti-abortion candidates. In the last 50 years, the anti-abortion candidate has never won the majority of white women. And after Trump appointed these last two justices that he said were intended to overturn Roe versus Wade, that’s why he said he appointed them. More white women voted Republican in the next midterms, and then more white women voted for Republican anti-choice candidates in the 2020 election. Hispanic women didn’t. Black women didn’t. Just white women. This podcast is about white women because I think white women have this thing like they really, honestly, do believe that they should have the right to choose. But then they see grassroots efforts like like Natasha Brown’s Black Voters Matter or Reverend Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign. They see those as separate movements, even though those people are often fighting for the same thing. And it’s not that white women don’t care about abortion and women’s rights. They just don’t care about abortion and women’s rights and Black people and poverty and the right to vote and access to the voting booth. They don’t care about that more than they care about whiteness, and they vote to protect Whiteness before they vote to protect that. Because, again, America ain’t gonna let shit happen to White women. Trust me. 

Michael Harriot [00:09:46] And here’s why this podcast is not about abortion. See, white women join the fight against voter suppression. They join the fight against economic inequality and criminal injustice. If every American had access to the ballot, financial parity and access to health care, the slate, the state legislatures would be more representative. And that means that women would be able to make the laws that govern women’s bodies. Which means that the opinions of the 70% of the country who is not White and male wouldn’t be more valuable. Which means that the courts would be more representative. Which means that the states’ rights wouldn’t be a racist dog whistle. Which means that this country would be more representative and wouldn’t be held hostage by the whims and conditions and the values and the perceptions of White men and how they interpret tradition and the reality of America. Now this podcast and about that, though. 

Michael Harriot [00:10:51] This podcast ain’t about abortion, because the Supreme Court decision is not about abortion, these same people who are pro-life were just last week fighting tooth and nail to protect the right to go to Walmart and buy assault weapons. The same people who are pro-life were fighting ten years ago to stop a president from guaranteeing health care. These same people who are pro-life, they support executing disproportionate numbers of Black men in the prison system. These same people who are pro-life, they don’t fight poverty. They don’t fight inequality. They don’t fight economic injustice. They don’t fight for anything, especially God. This podcast is not about abortion because the Supreme Court decision was not about abortion. It was about. White men and power. And remember, we’ll be here every day to tell you what things are not about as much as we’ll be telling you what things are about. Remember to subscribe. Remember to download theGrio’s Black Podcast Network app. Remember to tell a friend and remember that will always leave you with a Black saying. And there is none more apt than the saying of Fannie Lou Hamer who said, Remember, nobody’s free until everybody’s free. 

Michael Harriot [00:12:45] Thank you for listening to theGrio Daily. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app. Subscribe to the show and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcasts at theGrio dot com. 

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