Killing the black body- Dorothy Roberts

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Women and Gender Studies

Killing the black body Dorothy Robertso Policy to arrest pregnant women who were smocking cracko All but one of the four dozen women arrested for prenatal crimes were black o Degrade black womens reproductive decisions o Poor black mothers blamed for perpetuating social problems by transmitting defective genes irreparable crack damage and a deviant lifestyle to kids o Main reason more black children are living in poverty is that the people having the most children are the ones least capable of supporting them Philadelphia Inquirer the editorial also suggested reducing the number of children born to poor black women by implanting them with the longacting contraceptive Norplant o State legislatures across country are considering measures designed to keep women on welfare from having babies o Plans range from denying benefits to children born to welfare mothers to mandatory insertion of Norplant as a condition of receiving aid o Government sponsored programs until 1970s coerced many poor black women into being sterilized at the same time a fertility business devoted to helping white middleclass couples to have children was flourishingo In contrast to the account of American womens increasing control over their reproductive decisions abortion Roberts describes the dehumanizing attempts to control black womens reproductive lives o The systematic institutionalized denial of reproductive freedom o Inject Norplant or DepoProvera in black teens and welfare mothers o Mainstream reproductive rights agenda has neglected black womens concerns o Feminist focus on gender and identification of male domination as the source of reproductive repression often overlooks the importance of racism in shaping our understanding of reproductive liberty and degree of choice women have o Policies keep black women
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