Tracy Renee Jones: Strong Families Are About Having Options: Protect A Family’s Right to Have a Choice

Tracy Renee Jones: Strong Families Are About Having Options: Protect A Family’s Right to Have a Choice

“A stable partnership of any magnitude stands a better chance if each partner is willing and able to share responsibility and commitment to the children.”

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Tracy Renee Jones

What I’ve learned so far from following the No Wedding; No Womb movement is that relationships take work. No matter in what form or function your relationship may exist in you will still need to make decisions concerning you and your partner’s opportunity to bear children.

We can all agree that both males and females need to learn to make better choices.

Many of us realize that ideologies are a destination and not a smooth road to a problem free paradise. And until everyone is on the same page about when, who, where and why a child is to be born in this country then we must take into consideration the fact that there will always be circumstances when one needs to consider ‘if’ a child should be born.

Personal, private, and honest discussion should be the first line of defense when it comes to successfully bringing a new life into the world regardless of your color.

Slut shaming removes the man’s responsibility from the equation because it still ‘takes two’ and no woman should be judged for her behavior without also taking into consideration the behavior of those who contribute to her behavior be it parent, or partner, or the neglect of society.

Religious shaming only represses sexual urges and causes young people to hide their sexual activities. Those who deny these facts have historically found themselves proven wrong as the stomachs of seemingly ‘good Christian girls’ grow rounder. The resulting forced marriages, disgruntled births and angst still create a less than perfect environment for what we all wish to obtain; a healthy, stable, supportive family for our Black children. Divorce and abusive homes exist still.

Mommy’s Babies; Poppa’s Maybes

We know that marriage is not the solitary magical wand that creates the greatness in which we find ourselves easily able to provide our offspring with the proverbial Huxtable lifestyle. You can have a marriage of irresponsible people making bad decisions for all the wrong reasons resulting in children that are viewed as burdensome and are therefore neglected.

A stable partnership of any magnitude stands a better chance if each partner is willing and able to share responsibility and commitment to the children. The decision to “touch and agree” on a baby’s birth is a better assurance of support than any piece of paper ever will be. Ask any mother whose seeking her child support payment.

We realize that no one scenario removes the need for individuals to be more responsible with their reproductive capabilities. Regardless of color, creed or economic status, successful relationships and parenting are the result of making cognizant decisions based on the resources, expectations and willingness of the people involved.

There is only one thing that I am certain will provide a coarse to a stable, healthy, and supportive family structure for Black women.

Children should be born out of a favorable choice of both the mother and father. For that reason I wonder why there is not more support for options in which we can control our choice to reproduce.

No Wedding; No Womb does discuss birth control, and access to sex education. But does the conversation fall silent when you utter the word, ‘termination’? While we celebrate the potential to make better environments in which to raise our Black children we cannot predict the unpredictable.

You cannot have a discussion about the choice of when and with whom to have a child while also ignoring the fact that the option to terminate a pregnancy is becoming less and less of reality for many women. Black women have been unjustly targeted in shame ads which send our culture the message that more babies, not less, should be our prime goal.

While some will condemn a woman’s decision to terminate  a pregnancy as an irresponsible abomination I am here to challenge that notion. Men are involved in these decisions though people would like to have you believe otherwise.

Deciding to have an abortion is just as a responsible decision as choosing to not have sex. When a couple decides to ultimately end a pregnancy they are being just as responsible as the woman who chose to not get pregnant on a whim.

Only you know what you are and are not capable of handling as a family. Are we willing to remove tools while also admonishing people to take more care in building their future?

Married couples have abortions; single white college girls have them with their responsible Ivy League fiancees. Muslims women sit covered from head to toe while their Muslim husbands mind the children so that she may be seen by the doctor. Young woman; old women; many different types of women have abortions for reasons only they and their partner know.

I’ve yet to see a smile across any of the faces of them or their partners; it’s a somber, yet realistic experience that may one day come knocking on the door of your family’s world.

Why should abortion be part of the conversation of responsible couples and parenting?

Because the decision to decline to give birth goes hand in hand with other decisions that need to be made in order to obtain the stability of a family.

What is to be done when a couple decides that they do not or cannot support a child?

Some would like to pretend these conversations do not happen. Will the future of the No Wedding; No Womb movement be willing to get behind all things contributory to a healthy stable Black family? Because the color, creed, and economic stature of the parent’s do not much matter if the child’s existence is only a direct result of a lack of birth control options.

We would all be quite foolish to think that a healthy family can be achieved by scrambling to provide for relationships, situations and responsibilities we would have avoided if given the chance.

It’s hard for Black women to find a mate out here and it’s hard for couples and families to survive as whole.

Choices have to be made every day involving everything that sits on the backs of parents.

Choices that have nothing to do with you or I and our personal feelings.

Choices that affect generations to come.

Choices that will impact the lives of the adults and children alike are a part of being a reproducing human.

I hope No Wedding; No Womb will continue to be a platform to encourage choice and discussion about these choices and discussions that we may all be called to made at some point or another.

To me there is only one obvious solution. Being pro-family means being Pro-Choice.

There are plenty of options to be had out here in the world of sex, marriage and babies; my only wish is that we all choose a little more wisely.

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