First Lady Michelle Obama curtsies with Lynne Silosky, a niece of posthumous Medal of Honor awardee, Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller, in the Oval Office, Oct. 6, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Michelle Obama Should Be Brave: Black Women and Reproductive Health Disparaties in the 2012 Presidential Election

December 3, 2012

During the Democratic National Convention, just after Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, announced that the Democratic Party was pro-choice, Michelle Obama proudly boasted that her husband, Barack Obama, “believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and healthcare… that’s what my husband stands for.” Though choice is a significant part of gaining gender equality, I remain struck by how our First Lady, a black woman with black daughters, has yet to talk about reproductive health as broader than ”choice.”

I recognize that black women’s issues are marginalized, and even black women themselves were invisible throughout this election. But when a black woman as influential and powerful as Michelle Obama talks about reproductive health, I expect her to talk about it from her own standpoint. Universalizing women’s issues and minimizing her black identity does not protect her, her daughters, or the countless other women of color whose reproductive health issues are far larger than choice.


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