Marlene Gerber Fried Director, Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program
Author, "Killing the Black Body;" Professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Jeannie Ludlow, Ph.D.
Eastern Illinois University
Although African-American women have a disproportionately high number of abortions, the black community is reluctant to discuss the issue, according to many of those interviewed in filmmaker Faith Pennick's Silent Choices, which focuses on three black women who had abortions: Angela, whose dangerous illegal abortion was in the era before Roe v. Wade; Qrescent, who became pregnant in high school; and Lori, who terminated two pregnancies by the same boyfriend. The women talk about their difficult situations, and dealings with partners, family, or friends while making a choice between the responsibilities of single motherhood and the possibilities of an education and a career. Placing these personal stories within a broader context, scholars such as Dorothy Roberts (a professor at Northwestern University Law School), and activists including Byllye Avery (from the Black Women's Health Imperative), examine the history and significance of birth control and abortion in the African-American community. Given the fact that religion impacts many African-Americans' thinking about abortion, the pro-life perspective-here voiced by Rev. Clenard Childress and others-is addressed as well. A solid investigation into the social, economic, and political aspects of reproductive rights for African-American women, Silent Choices is a good candidate for collections focusing on women's health and African-American studies. Recommended. Aud: C, P.