An old adage known in Black communities across the U.S. rings true with the Supreme Court’s recent reversal of Roe v. Wade: “When White folks catch cold, Black folks get pneumonia.”
Several of the DMV’s Black pastors predict that while the nation as a whole will suffer in some ways, Black women will suffer the most.
Rev. William Lamar, senior pastor at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) believes that “controlling bodies is the way of the American imperial project.”
“Controlling bodies and other people’s lives started when Native Americans were forced off their land and onto reservations,” he explained. “It continued into slavery. Black women’s bodies have been subject to conquest, control, and commodification since the enslaved arrived on American soil.”
“The overturn of the Roe v. Wade has nothing to do with the gospel that we know,” Lamar added.
Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt, the senior pastor at Epworth Chapel United Methodist (UM) Church in Baltimore, Md., believes the reversal of Roe v. Wade will disproportionately impact Black women.
“As pastor of a predominantly Black congregation in Baltimore, a predominantly Black city, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe V. Wade will significantly impact Black women in Baltimore and across America, resulting in further limiting access to reproductive health care,” Hunt said.
“Among women who seek abortions, 49 percent fall below the poverty line, and among women living in poverty, a disproportionate number are Black,” Hunt continued. ” With ongoing inequities across America among racial groups in terms of income, wealth, and access to adequate and affordable healthcare, the concern is that the Supreme Court decision will lead to further inequities and disparities that will disproportionately affect Black women and families.”
Although many decried the decision, the Supreme Court ruling was welcomed by leading Catholic bishops– even though more than half of Catholics polled in a recent Pew Research Center survey favor legalized abortion “in all or most cases,” according to Dahlia Fahmy, senior religion writer for the Pew Center.
Archbishop William Lori, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities, acknowledges the balance of viewpoints within the faith community. He said the Catholic Church works diligently to support women in challenging life circumstances.
“I recognize there are people on both sides of the question in the Catholic Church,” Lori said.
“What we are finding though is that when people become more aware of what the church is doing to assist women in difficult pregnancies … hearts and minds begin to change.”
Henry P. Davis III, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Highland Park, said the Court has simply compounded racist practices affecting Black families for centuries.
“Calling it ‘pro-life’ is a smokescreen. If they were really pro-life, they would be talking about enhancing the lives of people,” said Davis. “Every program they create is anti-life, anti a better life for the people who are hit the heaviest on a decision like this, which are our people because we don’t have the resources,” Davis concluded.
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