Monday, February 03, 2014

The racist underpinnings of the abortion movement #BlackHistoryMonth

The racist underpinnings of the abortion movement

by Sarah Terzo


March 26, 2013 (LiveActionNews.org) - According to an article in The Daily Caller, African-American teenagers have an abortion rate of over double the national average. Black teenagers (in the 15- to 19-year-old age group) have an abortion rate of 41 per 1,000. The national average is 18 per 1,000 among 15- to 19-year-olds. White teenagers have an abortion rate of 10 per 1,000 women, which means that African-American teenagers are having abortions at a rate that is four times that of white teenagers.
The situation is even more grim in New York. Sixty-seven percent of African-American teenagers’ pregnancies end in abortion in that state. New York has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the country, and one of the highest abortion rates. Forty-one percent of all babies conceived by residents of New York are aborted.
According to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan:
If 41% of New York babies are aborted, with the percentage even higher in the Bronx and among our African-American babies in the world, it is downright chilling.
The National Black Pro-Life Coalition is an organization that wants to reduce the abortion rate in the African-American population. They claim that abortion providers like Planned Parenthood deliberately place their abortion facilities in areas with large minority populations.
African-American pro-life groups also seek to raise awareness of Planned Parenthood’s racist roots. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, has a dubious racial record that includes speaking at KKK meetings and permitting racist authors to contribute to her publication. Part of her motivation to legalize birth control was to cut down on births among the “unfit,” which included the black population.
In one of her publications, she said, “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race” (1).
She plotted to market birth control to the black community in order to lower their birth rate:
We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members. (2)
The abortion rights movement in the 1960s also sought to use African-American figureheads to push for legalization of abortion. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who later turned pro-life, was the co-founder of the National Association to Appeal Abortion Laws (now NARAL Pro-Choice America). Nathanson quotes Laurence Lader, his co-founder of NARAL:
We’ve got to keep the women out in front. … And some blacks. Black women especially. Why are they so damn slow to see the importance of this whole movement to themselves? (3)
There is racism among abortion providers also. In 2012, members of the pro-life community were stunned when pro-lifers caught abortionist Ron Virmani on tape saying (see video below):
I as a taxpayer do not wish for these babies to be born, and brought up, and kill those people in Colorado. Go ahead and pay for them, let me see you adopt one of those ugly black babies.



In just a few sentences, Virmani manages to insult the African-American community and promote two racist stereotypes about African-Americans – that they are on welfare and that they are criminals. These disgusting remarks show that he is performing abortions on African-American women in a deliberate attempt to control the African-American population.
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Some years ago, another abortionist made the news for similar statements. Dr. Edward Allred owns a chain of abortion clinics called Family Planning Associates. This collection of clinics brings in millions of dollars in revenue for him. He was quoted in the San Diego Union saying the following:
Population control is too important to be stopped by some right wing pro-life types…. When a sullen black woman of 17 or 18 can decide to have a baby and get welfare and food stamps and become a burden to all of us, it’s time to stop. In parts of South Los Angeles, having babies for welfare is the only industry these people have. (4)
These racist remarks show Allred’s contempt for many of the women he aborts. One wonders whether his attitude affects the care that African-Americans receive at his clinics.
One reason why abortions are so high among African-American teenagers is because social workers and counselors sometimes push abortion as a solution to their pregnancies. According to Janet Hadley, a pro-choice feminist:
Among medical professionals and social workers, teenagers are perhaps most likely to encounter people with more liberal views about abortion, and to find themselves on the defensive if they are determined to continue their pregnancies… pregnant women whose cultures or circumstances do not fit … are disapproved of as candidates for motherhood. Tacit disapproval – urging the woman towards abortion and, if she insists on keeping the pregnancy, castigating her for her “irrational” selfishness[.] … Black teenagers, in particular, are singled out by the medical and social work profession as “problem parents[.]” … [O]utright coercion or bullying is hard to prove, but, undoubtedly, young mothers, poor mothers, and above all poor young black mothers are being hustled towards abortion with no respect for their “right to choose.” (5)
While it is impossible to know how widespread the practice of pushing African-American teens to have abortions is, the fact that a pro-choice author sees a problem is a revealing.
Feminists for Life recorded a spokesperson of NARAL making statements that indicate that this phenomenon may be more common than one might think. The American Feminist (a publication of FFL) quoted Nancy White, who was speaking on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America, saying:
The 54% of Black children born to unwed mothers are not productive members of society. Teenagers never make good mothers[.] (6)
When social workers and counselors try to steer pregnant African-American teenagers towards abortion because of their own prejudices, it is a violation of the teenagers’ rights. This may be one reason why the African-American teen abortion rate is so high. Pro-lifers need to offer support and positive counseling to young women in the African-American community, and resources to help them have their babies. Many pro-lifers are doing this already. If pro-lifers can counter the racism inherent in the abortion business, more African-American babies will be saved.
  1. Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control . (New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922) 12. (http://blackquillandink.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/margaret-sanger-quotes.pdf)
  2. Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America . New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976. (http://blackquillandink.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/margaret-sanger-quotes.pdf)
  3. Bernard N Nathanson, M.D. with Richard N Ostling. Aborting America (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1979) 53
  4. “Doctor’s Abortion Business Is Lucrative,” San Diego Union, 12 October 1980, at B-1, col. 1
  5. Janet Hadley “Abortion: Between Freedom and Necessity” (Great Britain: Virago Press, 1996) p 104, 106
  6. The American Feminist Summer 1994 p 14
Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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