A community action branch of Planned Parenthood chose a controversial way to make a point about maternal mortality among black women, creating a Twitter firestorm in the process.
Planned Parenthood Black Community sent this tweet out Tuesday:
If you're a Black woman in America, it's statistically safer to have an abortion than to carry a pregnancy to term or give birth #ScaryStats— Planned Parenthood Black Community (@Planned Parenthood Black Community) 1509462832.0
The group followed the tweet with some statistics.
“Between 1988-2015, 16.1 mil women accessed abortion care, 108 died. Btw 2011-’13, BW accounted for 43.5 deaths of every 100,000 live births,” the tweet read.
Conflating the issues
The tweets appeared to try to make two points at once, and in doing so, ignited controversy.
One point the tweets were making: Abortions are medically safe. Second point: Black women face high maternal mortality rates.
However, putting all that together creates a couple of problems.
First, it gives the implication, possibly unintentionally, that maybe black women should just abort their babies rather than take the higher risk of giving birth.
Second, in parading abortion as “statistically safer” than giving birth for black women, the tweet glosses over the immense loss of life represented in 16.1 million abortions.
Adding fuel to the fire
Planned Parenthood Black Community didn't seem interested in clarifying or minimizing conflict. In fact, the author of the tweets appeared to fan the flames of the issue with a mocking tweet.
Us: Black moms are dying in child-birth. Also, abortions are medically safe. Anti-abortion trolls: *screams genocid… https://t.co/kSKtbtEvGS— Planned Parenthood Black Community (@Planned Parenthood Black Community) 1509482423.0
If the goal of this was to start a conversation about maternal mortality rates in the black community, these tweets weren't entirely successful. Instead, what ensued was a typically venomous online debate about abortion.
About PP Black Community
Planned Parenthood Black Community is a part of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Here's more information from their website:
"Planned Parenthood organizations work each and every day to protect and advance the sexual and reproductive rights of African Americans, who face numerous obstacles to obtaining affordable, high-quality health care services. Planned Parenthood is committed to increasing access and reducing racial disparities in reproductive health care, including the high rates of cancers, sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancy among African Americans. We will continue to work tirelessly for a health care system that provides affordable, high-quality care and treats all people with dignity."