The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag has been the victim of attempted hijackings by the anti-choice movement since its inception. Anti-choice activists coupled traditional slogans of their movement with hands-up imagery. It reminds me of the billboards that went up in Chicago, L.A. and New York City in neighborhoods of color a few years ago attempting to shame women of color into carrying unwanted pregnancies to term. The Chicago Abortion Fund responded by pointing out that “[t]hese organizations and their billboard campaigns fail to address the social conditions that create the need for abortions, including poverty and a lack of access to contraception and reproductive health care.”
Given the complex conversation we are having about #BlackLivesMatter and as we go into the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, remember the fact that he was pro-choice. In 1966 he was one of the four inaugural awardees of the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award. His wife Coretta accepted the award on his behalf and read a speech Dr. King wrote. In it he cites the importance of birth control to Black families to control their lives:
This is not to suggest that the Negro will solve all his problems through Planned Parenthood. His problems are far more complex, encompassing economic security, education, freedom from discrimination, decent housing and access to culture. Yet if family planning is sensible it can facilitate or at least not be an obstacle to the solution of the many profound problems that plague him.
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