Why The Anti-Abortion Movement Is Treating Cardi B Like A Hero

Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about Cardi B's pregnancy, including the anti-abortion community.
In between launching her debut album Invasion of Privacy, announcing her pregnancy, and killing her Coachella set, Cardi B has somehow also found time to candidly discuss motherhood and whether she considered having an abortion. But the pro-life movement was quickly to twist Cardi's comments into an "anti-abortion manifesto," as HelloGiggles' Rachel Sanoff pointed out.
During an interview with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club last week, the Grammy-nominated rapper spoke openly about her unplanned pregnancy with fiancé, rapper Offset of Migos. Host Charlamagne tha God asked her point blank whether she had considered ending the pregnancy.
"Kinda, sort of. I just didn't want to deal with the whole abortion thing. I just didn't want to. You know what? I'm a grown woman," she said. "I'm 25 years old. I’m gonna say this in the most humblest way — I'm a schmillionaire. And I'm prepared for this."
She also addressed the criticism she's received by getting pregnant at the "peak" of her career, as if having a child would set her back.
“I see a lot of women online like, ‘I feel sorry for you. Your career is over,’” Cardi added. “And it’s like…Why do I gotta choose a career or a baby? Why can’t I have both? I want both.”
What we heard of Cardi was rare: A young woman talking frankly about considering having a safe and legal medical procedure, in a way that was destigmatizing, and discussing how motherhood won't be a detriment to her career. But anti-choice groups latched on to Cardi's comments, making it seem like she was pushing against the "abortion industry."
Ever since the interview aired, conservative websites have written about how Cardi "chose life" and gave a "pro-life message while discussing her choice to reject abortion."
"Love this from Cardi B! Women are strong enough to be mothers while pursuing their careers," Lila Rose, president of the anti-choice group Live Action, wrote on Twitter. "Children don't kill dreams, they are the greatest dream."
The anti-abortion movement has historically used women of color — but particularly Black women — to further its agenda, according to Yoruba Richen, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who explored this topic on her film Anti-Abortion Crusaders.
"The mainstream, white anti-abortion movement has come up with this theory that abortion and slavery are akin," Richien told Refinery29. "There's this idea that since Black women have highest rates of abortion, providers like Planned Parenthood are committing genocide."
Pushing that narrative is just co-opting the national debate about systemic racism and the historical violence against Black communities. A similar phenomenon has happened with women's rights, where anti-choice advocates say that abortion is "violence" against women and therefore not feminist.
It's not a surprise then that anti-choice folks decided to contort Cardi's comments to fit their agenda as well. But the problem with Cardi's alleged "pro-life" message it that her comments were fundamentally pro-choice. Those within the anti-abortion movement who were praising Cardi missed a crucial point: She wasn't railing against abortion care — on the contrary. In 2015, the chart-topping rapper said she had two abortions because she wasn't ready to be a mother. But now, things are different. Cardi briefly considered ending her pregnancy, which was unplanned. But it was her choice to continue it because she's financially comfortable to start a family and she feels prepared to start a new chapter with her partner.
At its core, abortion is an economic issue. Low-income women, regardless of race and ethnicity, face unintended pregnancies and choose abortion at higher rates than women with more resources. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, this is because poor women are less likely to have health insurance, which means they don't have steady access to healthcare, including birth control.
One of the goals of reproductive justice advocates is to defend a woman's right to choice — which means standing behind those who choose to end a pregnancy, or those who like Cardi choose to continue with it. Reproductive justice also means calling for better access to abortion, contraception, and comprehensive sex education while also pushing for better access to healthcare for pregnant women and policies that support working parents.
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