Below is the press release regarding the Dobbs decision from the Az State Conference NAACP.
Wednesday June 29, 2022
Issued by: Charles Fanniel, NAACP Arizona State Conference President
(602) 919-7371 | email@example.com
PHOENIX, ARIZONA (June 29, 2022) – The Arizona State Conference NAACP joins with other organizations and most Arizonans to condemn the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jacksons Women’s Health Organization. It is no surprise that Jacksons Women’s Health would be targeted to attack the ability of women to control their own reproductive decisions. As of the 2019 U.S. Census estimates, African Americans were 37.8% of Mississippi’s population which is the highest in the nation.
The United States has a long history of controlling the reproduction abilities of Black women. Article 1, Section 9, Clause one of the Constitution allowed the international slave trade to continue for 20 more years but made money on it by charging a maximum of $10 per person imported. After the 20 years, the enslaved population grew fourfold because of selective breeding programs forced on enslaved men and women. Not only were Black women forced to breed with Black men, but also women were raped repeatedly by white plantation owners who then sold their own children into slavery. The value of enslaved children was related to weight so breeders paired the most fertile of women with the largest and strongest male to produce the largest and strongest children. The status of a child under British law followed the man’s blood. The law in the American colonies was changed to make the child’s status follow the mother’s so that the child would be enslaved as well and thus could be sold. The rape and forced breeding of enslaved Black women was a business producing a favorable profit margin.
State control over the bodies of vulnerable women and women of color continued with the Supreme Case Buck v. Bell in 1927 that authorized mandatory sterilization of inmates in mental institutions. In fact Carrie Buck was not “feeble minded” at all which became clear when she was released. In California, “Asexualization Acts” in the 1910s and 1920s led to the sterilization of approximately 20,000 women most of whom were Black and Mexican. Hitler was inspired by the American actions.
Nearly 70,000 overwhelmingly working-class women of color were sterilized in the 20th century. Black, Latina, and Native women were targeted as they are now. In Puerto Rico, nearly one-third of the women were sterilized from the 1930s to the 1970s. Black women were forcibly sterilized including Fannie Lou Hamer who said the assault was so common it was called a “Mississippi appendectomy.” Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi was targeted to control Black women’s reproductive decisions yet again. The Indian Health Service run by the U.S. forcibly sterilized nearly 25% of indigenous women in the 1960s and 1970s including after Roe v. Wade was decided.
Forced sterilization to control women’s reproductive decisions is still ongoing in the “criminal justice” system. Some judges offer lesser sentences if women will be sterilized. Controlling women’s reproductive decisions is not a legal part of any sentence and creating a forced choice, again for primarily Black and women of color, violates their most fundamental liberty right to control their own body.
The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision is one more assault on Black women. Black women suffer the highest maternal mortality in the U.S. Arizona ranks tenth worst at 27.3 per 100,000. Yet Arizona is rushing to enforce the most draconian laws to mandate forced birth. Those actions create a very high risk of harm to Black women in Arizona. It is Black women who will pay with their lives for the choices made by legislators while denying Black women their own choice. Whether breeding to create more children, or sterilization to prevent children, or prohibiting women from making independent decisions about their own lives, it is illegal, immoral, and violates numerous domestic and international laws. As part of the governed, we do not consent, and we will not obey an unjust law.
Freedom Fighters, we work to disrupt inequality, dismantle racism, and accelerate change in key areas including criminal justice, health care, education, climate, and the economy. Join us at https://naacp.org/.