The reason why Cardi B didn't get an abortion is something we need to talk about more
When we see abortion in the media, we typically see news stories about pro-life politicians attempting to strip women’s access to abortion care; in TV shows and movies, pregnant characters often never even discuss abortions as options. If a character does get an abortion, it’s usually presented as the most devastating and pivotal moment in a woman’s life — not as a medical choice that nearly one in four American women make.
Even in our personal lives, an abortion — or the mere consideration of an abortion — is too shameful to be mentioned publicly (which is why hashtags like #ShoutYourAbortion exist). But leave it to the candid, unapologetic, and joyfully pregnant Cardi B to casually destigmatize abortion in an interview by openly discussing it just as a choice she considered, then chose not to make because of her place in life.
In an interview on April 10th with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, the Grammy-nominated rapper addressed the criticism she has received over her newly announced pregnancy with her fiancé, Offset. People on social media are particularly attacking the timing of Cardi’s pregnancy while she is at the “peak” of her career with a debut Gold-certified album, upcoming tours, and abundant opportunities
“I see a lot of women online like, ‘I feel sorry for you. Your career is over,’” Cardi told The Breakfast Club hosts. “And it’s like…Why do I gotta choose a career or a baby? Why can’t I have both? I want both.” (HG contributor Brooklyn White expands on how these reactions to Cardi’s pregnancy represent the sexism, body policing, and respectability politics that convince young women — particularly Black women — that motherhood is “the end of their dreams.”)
Cardi was also asked, point blank, if she ever considered abortion, especially since the pregnancy was unplanned.
Her answer was honest, to the point, and without shame:
(You can see her answer at the 2:56 minute mark in this video.)
Abortion is an extremely personal decision — but there are also plenty of social factors influencing whether or not a woman finds it to be the right choice for her.
Money and financial stability are huge deciding factors, even if folks don’t want to be as honest about that as Cardi.
Our government is constantly cutting or threatening to cut vital social services that support working mothers and their children. The largest demographic of American women who get abortions are already mothers who know they can’t afford raising another child (59% of abortion patients, to be exact). But Cardi has created a record-breaking music career for herself, and her bank account is reaping the benefits. She may have once only earned $200-a-week, but she is no longer in a position where she needs to fear not having food on the table.
Of course, conservative pro-life blogs are having a field day with Cardi’s response, twisting her words into some kind of anti-abortion manifesto that aims to destroy liberal feminism from the inside. But their analyses are baseless.
First of all, Cardi B could not be more outspoken about her feminism or her belief in a woman’s right to do whatever she wants with her body. Secondly, when did Cardi make a pro-life argument in her Breakfast Club interview? When did she demonize women who choose abortions? Cardi briefly considered terminating her unplanned pregnancy, then made an informed choice to continue because she felt capable and prepared for the family she’d long wanted to have. Isn’t that, like, a shining example of pro-choice ideology?
Lastly, saying that Cardi B’s decision to not get an abortion is “pro-life” reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of reproductive rights and reproductive justice.
As organizer Monica Raye Simpson writes for HuffPost, “Reproductive Justice is the term created by black women in 1994 to bridge the gap between reproductive rights and other social justice movements.” Reproductive justice is not only about abortion access. Does it include abortion access? Yes, of course. Does it include access to contraception? Absolutely. But reproductive justice also includes the right to a safe and healthy pregnancy with access to good health care. It includes providing parents with services, resources, and environments that will keep their children fed, healthy, educated, safe, and housed after they are born — regardless of economic status, race, immigration status, religion, ability, gender, or sexuality. Reproductive justice includes transforming society to allow women to flourish as mothers and as professionals.
We wish Cardi B a healthy and joyful pregnancy as she continues to dominate the music industry and challenge the status quo.