The debate over the new Health and Human Services regulations, which require all employers to pay 100 percent of the cost of contraception including abortion-inducing chemicals, has been rightly cast as an intrusion on religious liberty.
Opponents of such regulations are no more advocating a ban on contraceptives than vegetarian restaurants are advocating a ban on meat. They are simply saying that companies shouldn’t have to pay for services to which they object for moral reasons.
But black Americans in particular would be wise to pay close attention, since the age old contraception battle has special historical significance to them. For more than a century, “reproductive services” have been special code words for the constant, silent effort of the powerful to control black breeding. And this control has often come in the form of a “helping hand.”
From the earliest days of our nation, people in power have wanted to control black reproduction. Before the Civil War, slave owners had a financial interest in increasing the birthrate among their slaves. This was a matter of simple economics; even before the transatlantic slave trade was outlawed, it had become cheaper to “breed” your slaves than to import new ones. Female slaves were pressured to become pregnant (often they were raped).
Tags: health care bill