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Abortion and Race

For decades, abortion has disproportionately targeted minority babies.

Abortion and Race: For decades, abortion has disproportionately targeted minority babies.

Page Summary:

In the United States, black children are aborted at three times the rate of white children; Hispanic children are aborted at one and a half times the rate. Whatever the intentions of the abortion industry, by functional standards, abortion is a racist institution.

Abortion, by the numbers, is a racist institution. That's not to say that all or even most of those who support abortion are racists. Nor does it imply that there are not racists among those who oppose abortion. This statement has nothing to do with agendas or intent. It has everything to do with the simple undeniable reality that in the United States, abortion kills black children at roughly three times the rate of non-Hispanic, white children. The Reverend Clenard H. Childress calls this phenomenon "black genocide" and has built a national ministry around its exposure. Alveda C. King, daughter of slain civil-rights leader A.D. King and niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., quotes her uncle often when outlining her opposition of abortion. She writes:

[Martin Luther King, Jr.] once said, “The Negro cannot win as long as he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his children for comfort and safety.” How can the “Dream” survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate.1

Lest you feel these claims are an exaggeration, consider the numbers. Among black women, the current abortion ratio is 420.2 That means there are 420 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Statistically, 30% of black pregnancies end in abortion (excluding miscarriages). Among white women, the abortion ratio is 121—which means less than 11% of white pregnancies end in abortion.3 The abortion ratio among Hispanic women is 178, or 15% of pregnancies.4 Even though whites make up 63.7% of America's population,5 white women account for only 37% of its abortions.6

By the latest count, approximately 2,614 human beings lose their lives to abortion each day in the United States.7 The CDC tells us that on average, 19% are Hispanic, 36% are black, and 37% are white.8 That translates to approximately 497 Hispanic children, 941 black children, and 967 white children. Think about those numbers. Though the white population in the U.S. outnumbers the black population five to one,10 abortion kills close to the same number of black children each day as it does white children. John Piper, a white pastor with a heart for racial justice, remarks on the disparity of abortion this way:

The de facto effect (I don’t call it the main cause, but net effect) of putting abortion clinics in the urban centers is that the abortion of Hispanic and Black babies is more than double their percentage of the population... Call this what you will—when the slaughter has an ethnic face and the percentages are double that of the white community and the killers are almost all white, something is going on here that ought to make the lovers of racial equality and racial harmony wake up.10

In 2014, a total of 303,844 blacks died in the U.S.11 That same year, an estimated 954,000 abortions took place in the United States.12 If 36% were performed on black women, that means 343,440 black babies were aborted. In other words, more blacks are killed by abortion each year in the United States than by all other causes combined.

In 2010, the black population in the U.S. stood just shy of at 39 million.13 The CDC reports that during the 1970's, roughly 24% of all U.S. abortions were performed on black women.14 That percentage rose to 30% in the 1980's, 34% in the 1990's and 36% in the 2000's.15 That means that about 31% of all U.S. abortions since 1973 have been performed on African American women. Based on the January 2013 estimate that there have been 55.7 million abortions in the United States since 1973,16 we can deduce that approximately 17 million of the aborted babies were black.

Despite an overall black population growth of 12% between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the black population "grew at a slower rate than most other major race and ethnic groups in the country."17 CBS News reported in 2009 that "Hispanics have surpassed blacks as the nation's largest minority group."21 Can there be any question about the role abortion has played in this demographic shift? Despite similar population numbers, Hispanic women account for approximately 19% of U.S. abortions whereas African-American women account for up to 36%. From 1973 to 2012, abortion reduced the black population by 30%, and that doesn't even factor in all the children that would have been born to those aborted a generation ago. To put it bluntly, abortion has thinned the black community in ways the Ku Klux Klan could have only dreamed of.

The fact that black leaders, like President Obama, support abortion rights does not change the reality of what is happening. How many candidates for public office have abandoned a prior conviction so as to be consistent with a party platform? This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in Reverend Jesse Jackson's flip-flop on abortion. Prior to having ambitions as a Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, he was an eloquent and outspoken opponent of abortion. Though his public stance on abortion has reversed, his earlier remarks remain as applicable as ever, and show that there is more than mere numbers at stake. Abortion attacks the "moral fabric" of an entire people. The following remarks come from his 1977 article for the National Right to Life News:

The question of "life" is The Question of the 20th century. Race and poverty are dimensions of the life question, but discussions about abortion have brought the issue into focus in a much sharper way.

How we will respect and understand the nature of life itself is the over-riding moral issue, not of the Black race, but of the human race.

The question of abortion confronts me in several different ways. First, although I do not profess to be a biologist, I have studied biology and know something about life from the point of view of the natural sciences. Second, I am a minister of the Gospel and, therefore, feel that abortion has a religious and moral dimension that I must consider. Third, I was born out of wedlock (and against the advice that my mother received from her doctor) and therefore abortion is a personal issue for me.

From my perspective, human life is the highest good, the summum bonum. Human life itself is the highest human good and God is the supreme good because He is the giver of life...

There are those who argue that the right to privacy is of higher order than the right to life. I do not share that view. I believe that life is not private, but rather it is public and universal.

If one accepts the position that life is private, and therefore you have the right to do with it as you please, one must also accept the conclusion of that logic. That was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside of your right to concerned.

Another area that concerns me greatly, namely because I know how it has been used with regard to race, is the psycholinguistics involved in this whole issue of abortion. If something can be dehumanized through the rhetoric used to describe it, then the major battle has been won. Those advocates of taking life prior to birth do not call it killing or murder, they call it abortion. They further never talk about aborting a baby because that would imply something human. Rather they talk about aborting the fetus. Fetus sounds less than human and therefore can be justified.

… What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of a person, and what kind of a society will we have 20 years hence if life can be taken so casually?

It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system, and our mind-set with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth.18

The majority of Planned Parenthood's abortion clinics are located in communities with minority populations that exceed the city or state averages.19 Is this a bizarre coincidence, or is it merely an extension of the eugenic principles that seem to have driven Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger, a founder who is documented as saying, "We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population."20 This statement, written in a 1939 letter to a colleague, can be taken in one of two ways. Either she didn't want the black community to wrongly assume that her efforts promoting birth control were an attempt to eliminate them, or she didn't want the black community to find out that this is exactly what she had in mind. Planned Parenthood assumes the first; her opponents assume the latter. Based on the greater context of her writings, the truth likely lies in between. She probably didn't have in mind the elimination of all blacks, but it is quite reasonable to infer that she did want to keep them in submission and in line.

Whatever the case may be, the bottom line is this. Margaret Sanger's vision of social purification was rooted in birth control and sterilization. Compared with abortion, these were minor threats to minority communities. Planned Parenthood's contemporary vision of social purification is much more menacing. No longer is the organization driven by pregnancy prevention; it is now driven by pregnancy elimination. We can debate the racial intent of Planned Parenthood past and present, but we cannot debate the results. Abortion is by no means an equal opportunity killer.

This page was last updated on January 15, 2018. To cite this page in a research paper, visit: "Citing Abort73 as a Source."


  1. Alveda King, “How Can the Dream Survive if We Murder Our Children?” http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/testimonies/alveda-king.html, accessed on January 12, 2011.
  2. The Centers for Disease Control, “Abortion Surveillance—- United States, 2013,” Table 12, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/ss6512a1.htm, November 25, 2016.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Census 2010 Brief, “Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin,” http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf, March 2011.
  6. The Centers for Disease Control, “Abortion Surveillance—- United States, 2013,” Table 12, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/ss6512a1.htm, November 25, 2016.
  7. According to available state-level data for 2014. U.S. Abortion Statistics: http://abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics.
  8. The Centers for Disease Control, “Abortion Surveillance—- United States, 2013,” Table 12, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/ss6512a1.htm, November 25, 2016.
  9. John Piper, “When is Abortion Racism?” http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/when-is-abortion-racism January 21, 2007.
  10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Deaths: Final Data for 2014” National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 65, Number 4. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr65/nvsr65_04.pdf June 30, 2016
  11. According to available state-level data for 2014. U.S. Abortion Statistics: http://abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics
  12. Census 2010 Brief, “The Black Population: 2010,” http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-06.pdf, September 2011.
  13. Based on published data from the CDC for 1972, 1973 and 1976, adjusted to exclude the racial category, “other.” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00053774.htm
  14. Based on published data from the CDC for the years 1980-2008. No data available for 1981-1984, 1994, 1996-1998.
  15. Steven Ertelt, “55,772,015 Abortions in America Since Roe v. Wade in 1973.” Life News http://www.lifenews.com/2013/01/18/55772015-abortions-in-america-since-roe-vs-wade-in-1973/ January 18, 2013.
  16. Census 2010 Brief, “The Black Population: 2010,” http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-06.pdf, September 2011.
  17. Lloyd De Vries “Hispanics Now Largest U.S. Minority.” CBS http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-537369.html February 11, 2009.
  18. Jesse Jackson, “How We Respect Life is the Over-riding Moral Issue…” National Right to Life News. http://www.nrlc.org/News_and_Views/June06/nv061406part2.html January 1977.
  19. Susan W. Enouen, “New Research Shows Planned Parenthood Targets Minority Neighborhoods” Life Issues Institute. http://www.lifeissues.org/2012/10/new-research-shows-planned-parenthood-targets-minority-neighborhoods/ October 1, 2012.
  20. Donovan, Charles and Marshall, Robert, Blessed Are The Barren: The Social Policy of Planned Parenthood, (Ignatius Press, 1991), pages 17-18.

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