Apparently, Nick Cannon has lots of opinions about Planned Parenthood and the Black community.
Last week on The Breakfast Club, the America’s Got Talent host spoke sideways about Planned Parenthood (PP), calling the women’s health clinic and abortion provider “modern day eugenics,” and “population control.” He also linked it to Hillary Clinton’s past presidential campaign.
“Think about all the stuff [Hillary and Bill Clinton] did with Planned Parenthood and all that type of stuff. That type of stuff is to take our community — and forget gentrification, it’s real genocide, and it’s been like that for years,” he told the radio show’s hosts.
The 36-year-old added: “This system is not built for us. This is not our land. I appreciate it. I love it, wouldn’t want to live nowhere else. But this wasn’t designed for our people,”
And then the father of two (with one on the way) concluded his rant claiming that having children is what God put humans on Earth to do.
“God said be fruitful and multiply. I’m doing the Lord’s work out there,” he said.
And while it’s easy to write Cannon off as just suffering from an innocent bout of hotep-ness, the actor isn’t alone when it comes to co-signing on these basic and unsubstantiated beliefs. Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of Pro-Life Black activists, politicians, athletes and celebs—mostly male—scream to the mountaintops that PP had devised a eugenics plan to kill Black babies by providing abortion and birth control services. Remember when they tried to tell us that our wombs were the most “dangerous place” for Black children?
Now in fairness, I recognize the origins of this mistrust.
I’m fully aware of the questionable and racist comments that PP’s founder Margaret Sanger made during her life in the early 1900s. Not to mention, there’s our well-documented tumultuous relationship with the medical community. Just think: the Tuskegee experiments, the stealing of Henrietta Lacks’ cervical cells and the forced sterilization’s of Black women behind their backs. And that’s just for starters.
But when it comes to Black women and abortion, it’s much more complicated than basic conspiracy theories and our unfortunate past.
No one is forcing or bamboozling Black women into accessing abortion services or popping birth control. Also, it’s already been debunked that PP isn’t saturating our communities with their clinics. A 2014 study found that actually 60 percent of clinics that offer abortions are located in predominantly white neighborhoods with only 6 percent in Black neighborhoods.
Perhaps what’s really happening is that we are exercising our right to choose motherhood on own terms and putting our financial futures and goals first.
None of which, makes us anti-Black or PP for offering these services to women in need.
And clearly we are in need.
It’s no secret that the data shows that Black women have the highest abortion rates in the U.S. And while some would falsely link to that promiscuity, these rates really speak to the need to better educate folks on safer sex, create a stronger health care system that makes birth control services more affordable, and finally have much-needed conversations about how gender inequality plays into condom use in couples.
But for whatever reason, Black women who terminate their pregnancies are clear that they are not ready to have a baby—and there’s no shame in that. And thankfully to PP, we can make that choice, safely.
And while Canon & Company conveniently fail to mention this, let me point out that Planned Parenthood is more than “just an abortion clinic.” Actually, abortion services account for a mere 3 percent of the services they offers, none of which are funded by tax dollars.
PP is a place that regardless of socioeconomic and/or insurance status, each year, 280,000 African-Americans—both Black women and men—go to receive a range of reproductive and primary health care including health education, life-saving breast exams, Pap smears, HPV screenings and vaccinations, STD testing and treatment, emergency contraception and getting linked to care to HIV treatment and hormone therapy for transgender folks.
That doesn’t sound sinister to me. That sounds empowering AF.
Now none of the above means you cannot be critical of Planned Parenthood, but if so, please ground it in actual facts and not tired conspiracy theories that don’t really add up. That and please stop manipulating Black women into having to choose our bodies and our lives over our love for our people and our duty to our communities.
We will always be more than our wombs.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of HelloBeautiful.