Reproductive rights top concern for HBCU students

know about Reproductive rights top concern for HBCU students

in details


Tennessee State University President Dr. Glenda discusses reproductive rights of HBCU Glover students Source: MANDEL NGAN/Getty

AAs another academic year begins on campuses across the country, the excitement of new beginnings can be felt in the air. Yet for many young Black women, this school year also comes with a different level of uncertainty following the overthrow of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court earlier this year in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Coupled with the fact that women in college are three times more likely experiencing sexual violence while on campus, some students may face greater challenges in the upcoming semester. Even women in consensual relationships may face many health, academic, and social complications regarding any decisions they make with their bodies.

In historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), black women are likely to face even more pressure statistically due to the unique challenges facing this demographic in the United States. Students returning to school in multiple states with recently enacted abortion restrictions or states where trigger laws have entered into force could feel the increasing burden of being denied full bodily autonomy.

A subsidiary of Planned Parenthood, Generation Action is a network of youth activists across the country who organize events on their campuses and in their communities to advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights. Jennifer Rice, founder of the Generation Action chapter on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, spoke with NewsOne about the impact of overturning Roe and its lasting effects on the next generation of black women.

See also  US Secretary of Education to Florida's LGBTQ Kids: Got You Covered

“It puts black women in the hot seat in decision-making,” Rice said. “Of course, all women are at the center of this decision, but by going to an HBCU many times we do not have the financial support to attend to certain health situations, whether it is an abortion or not.”

“And for Black women, it has been statistically proven that abortions or traumatic events like abortion can affect a student’s ability to perform in the classroom,” Rice continued. “You are taking away these resources. You’re affecting women’s performance. You’re hurting our graduation rates. You are affecting engineers, doctors and the future of black professionals.”

Other reproductive rights leaders believe this Supreme Court ruling was a targeted attack on Black women.

Jenise Fountain is the founder of W4BW Margins and current CEO of the yellow hammer background, two organizations working to achieve reproductive justice. Fountain says that taking away reproductive autonomy could be detrimental to the advancement of blacks.

“I really see that everything is designed because black women are like the most educated group in the US … in terms of enrollment in higher education and degrees received. So I don’t think any of this is by accident, and then we’re also the largest group to have an abortion. So it’s taking away from us that the agency is doing a lot,” Fountain said in an exclusive with NewsOne.

Fountain also shared the challenges of being able to stay enrolled in school after an unwanted pregnancy.

“Childcare is not affordable; Health care is not affordable,” she said. “And I don’t think it’s by accident that our legislators know that. Our legislators know that it would be critical to our community. Access to reproductive autonomy is crucial for black liberation.”

See also  Report on 2020 protests recommends new training for SPD, debunks 'mafia psychology'

The complexities surrounding the reproductive rights of black women are enormous. This decision is not only about social and economic flexibility, but also about life itself. black women are more like that white women have fatal complications during childbirth and can be easily ignored or mistreated by medical professionals at a higher rate due to racial bias.

“Regaining humanity in medicine and health care is important, especially for Black women,” Rice said. “White women can be on the front lines protesting and defending, but at the end of the day, they will be the ones who get those resources first because they can afford them, because they are close to them and people listen. to them.”

Many HBCU leaders are listening to the concerns of Black women on their campuses. And they are asking everyone to take action to help them with their reproductive health journey. Some even push their students to get more involved politically to help change.

Tennessee State President Glenda Glover recently addressed Vice President Kamala Harris and some of her educational peers at a roundtable discussion in which she urged the college community to encourage students to be more active in civic settings.

“Dobbs is much bigger than the right to have an abortion. It’s about reproductive rights and it’s about states’ rights when he gave so much power back to the states,” Glover said. “Students need to understand that and become more active in voting at various levels and understand the issues that exist.”

Glover also mentioned that schools need to educate students at a higher level to understand the practicalities of health care.

See also  Planned Parenthood sues Missouri social services agency over restricted Medicaid funding

“It’s teaching students that you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you and your body,” Rice said. “It will be necessary for us not only to defend ourselves, but also our allies, our brothers. It’s about the whole community.”

The topic of reproductive rights will likely be an ongoing debate as many try to navigate these uncharted times. HBCUs could serve as unique catalysts creating meaningful conversations and powerful movements for change across the country.

“It’s really about humanity and bringing humanity into legislation,” Rice said. “And I think HBCUs are the breeding ground for that because there’s a lot of freedom of independent thought and support regardless of their decision.”


Justice Department Launches Post-Abortion Reproductive Rights Task Force

Some steps to take after SCOTUS dismantled the national threshold for abortion rights

With abortion rights under attack, it’s time to rewatch Netflix’s docuseries ‘Amend: The Fight For America’

American writer James Baldwin

10 photos