Rape was a common practice during slavery. The laws in the South embodied a race-based double standard where Black men accused of rape during the period were often punished with castration or death. However, white men could rape enslaved women without any punishment.
Enslaved Black women practiced self-abortion. They found medicine or herbs to terminate pregnancies. Chewing on cotton root was one of the popular methods to end a pregnancy without anyone finding out. It was also accessible because most women worked in cotton fields. By resisting reproduction, enslaved women took control over their bodies and their lives.