for colored girls who have considered abortion / when the rainbow is enuf

Written by on June 29, 2016 in OUR THOUGHTS, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH - Comments Off on for colored girls who have considered abortion / when the rainbow is enuf

Yes, Ladies. The title of this piece borrows from Ntozake Shange’s first and most celebrated work “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf,” a series of poems choreographed to music in 1974, a year after Roe v. Wade. Shange’s work ushered in a bold, new way of depicting our struggle as women of color. Mixing poetry, music and verse, it was the result of Shange’s strengths as a poet, playwright, director, actor, educator and more.  Seeing the play was considered a right of passage for many girls and young women during the 1970’s and 1980’s. At the time, it was considered big drama – and still is today.

In a similar way, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to strike down the Texas law limiting access to abortion by requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals which resulted in shutting down large numbers of clinics has been big drama, too. The struggle is real. Stephanie Toti argued the case on behalf of the plaintiff Whole Women’s Health at the young age of 37. It was her first case before the Supreme Court, and will probably be her most celebrated work – like Shange’s first piece – at least for a while. The ruling is ushering in a new way of seeing abortion laws. Reading about the case may become a right of passage for law students in the near future.

Although academic literature states that one third of all women will have an abortion in her life time, the procedure is so stigmatized that few people talk about it. But, Black and Brown women are more likely to have an abortion than their White counterparts. Talking about abortion can be stressful – with a lot of drama. So, considering abortion can be traumatic. But, thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision, accessing abortion can be less traumatic. Abortion isn’t suicide, but for some its pain can only be overcome by focusing on the rainbow.

Photo by Sy Friedman: Ntozake Shange (center), with Janet Leaue and Trazana Beverley, in the original stage version of for colored girls…

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