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Abortion and Race

For decades, abortion has disproportionately targeted minority babies.

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Whatever the intent of the abortion industry may be, by functional standards, abortion is a racist institution. In the United States, black children are aborted at nearly four times the rate as white children and Hispanic children don't fare much better.

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 minority children at more than 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. According to 2010 census data, African Americans make up 12.6% of the U.S. population2 but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that black women accounted for 35.4% of all abortions in 2009.3 The Guttmacher Institute (AGI) puts the percentage of black abortions at 30% of the U.S. total.4 Their most recent numbers are from 2008. Similarly, AGI tells us that Hispanic women5 accounted for 25% of all U.S. abortions in 2008,6 though Hispanics make up just 16.3% of the U.S. population.7 The CDC lists the percentage of Hispanic abortions at 20.6%.8 Compare those numbers to non-Hispanic whites, who make up 63.7% of America's population,9 but account for only 36% of all U.S. abortions10 (37.7% according to the CDC11).

Every day in America, an average of 3,315 human beings lose their lives to abortion.12 Based on the percentages above, between 683-829 of those babies are Hispanic, between 1,193-1,174 are white, and between 995-1,207 are black. Not only are black children being killed at a far greater percentage than white children, it's possible they're being killed in greater numbers, period. Is that not shocking?! Though the white population in the U.S. outnumbers the black population five to one, abortion may well be killing more black children each day than 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. Every day 1,300 black babies are killed in America. Seven hundred Hispanic babies die every day from abortion. 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.13

In 2009, a total of 286,623 blacks died in the U.S.14 That same year, an estimated 1.21 million abortions took place in the United States.15 If 35.4% were performed on black women, that means almost twice as many blacks were killed by abortion as by all other causes. In 2010, the black population in the U.S. stood just shy of at 39 million.16 The CDC reports that during the 1970's, roughly 24% of all U.S. abortions were performed on black women.17 That percentage rose to 30% in the 1980's, 34% in the 1990's and 36% in the 2000's.18 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 1973,19 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."20 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 currently account for about 20% of all U.S. abortions,22 whereas African-American women account for 35%. 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 incredibly 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.23

The majority of Planned Parenthood's abortion clinics are located in communities with minority populations that exceed the city or state averages. 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."24 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.

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  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. Census 2010 Brief, “The Black Population: 2010,” http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-06.pdf, September 2011.
  3. The Centers for Disease Control, “Abortion Surveillance—- United States, 2009,” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6108a1.htm, November 12, 2012.
  4. Guttmacher Institute, “Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients, 2008,” http://www.alanguttmacher.org/pubs/US-Abortion-Patients.pdf, May, 2010.
  5. “Hispanic” is classified as an ethnicity, not as a race.
  6. Guttmacher Institute, “Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients, 2008,” http://www.alanguttmacher.org/pubs/US-Abortion-Patients.pdf, May, 2010.
  7. Census 2010 Brief, “The Hispanic Population: 2010,” http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-04.pdf, May 2011.
  8. The Centers for Disease Control, “Abortion Surveillance—- United States, 2009,” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6108a1.htm, November 12, 2012.
  9. Census 2010 Brief, “Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin,” http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf, March 2011.
  10. Guttmacher Institute, “Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients, 2008,” http://www.alanguttmacher.org/pubs/US-Abortion-Patients.pdf, May, 2010.
  11. The Centers for Disease Control, “Abortion Surveillance—- United States, 2009,” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6108a1.htm, November 12, 2012.
  12. Guttmacher Institute, “Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States,” http://www.alanguttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html, January 2011.
  13. John Piper, “When is Abortion Racism?” http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/when-is-abortion-racism January 21, 2007.
  14. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Deaths: Final Data for 2009” National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 60, Number 3. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_03.pdf December 29, 2011
  15. Guttmacher Institute, “Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States,” http://www.alanguttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html, January 2011.
  16. Census 2010 Brief, “The Black Population: 2010,” http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-06.pdf, September 2011.
  17. 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
  18. Based on published data from the CDC for the years 1980-2008. No data available for 1981-1984, 1994, 1996-1998.
  19. 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.
  20. Census 2010 Brief, “The Black Population: 2010,” http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-06.pdf, September 2011.
  21. Lloyd De Vries “Hispanics Now Largest U.S. Minority.” CBS http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-537369.html February 11, 2009.
  22. The Centers for Disease Control, “Abortion Surveillance—- United States, 2009,” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6108a1.htm, November 12, 2012.
  23. 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.
  24. 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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8 Comments on Abortion and Race

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Feb 09, 2012 / 05:55 CST)

“According to Margaret Sanger, a member of both the American Eugenics Society and the English Eugenics Society (and founder of Planned Parenthood, the United States’ largest abortion provider):

“Those least fit to carry on the race are increasing most rapidly ... Funds that should be used to raise the standard of our civilization are diverted to maintenance of those who should never have been born.”“

What the hell else do you think this means? We have legalized the murder of people that have ben prejudged as uneducated potential criminals.

If you are a minority that was born into a poor family incapable of providing you with a basic education, the founder of Planned Parenthood thinks you should have never been born.

Someone explain to me how that IS NOT racism….

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Mar 02, 2011 / 23:14 CST)

Hmm, how about we look at the percentage of unplanned minority pregnancies that ended in abortion instead? Oh wait, they’re almost the same as white folk! For those living near or below the poverty line, the percentage is actually LOWER than for folks at 200%. How does that figure into your your argument?

(Data from here:http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3002498.html. yes, it’s old… but it takes a while to collect data, so most studies are 5-10 years behind the time)

Unfortunately the unintended pregnancy rate for minorities and impoverished folks are way waaay higher. 88 out of every1000 pregnancies are unplanned for those living below the poverty line, and 98 out of 1000 are unplanned for blacks. When you look at the white rate (34/1000) you can see that the reason the abortion rate is so high is only because they have a higher incidence of unplanned pregnancy, not because of some crazy liberal genocide master plan.

If pro/anti-choice folks get together to increase access to preventative care (proper sex education that acknowledges that adolescents HAVE SEX and access to affordable birth control *cough*Planned Parenthood*cough* ) we could to a lot more to reduce the number of abortions in this country.

You are a liar and a cad.  You can believe what you want, but presenting misleading statistics is not the way to win an argument.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Apr 08, 2010 / 18:22 CST)

Kimberly, you need to pull your head out of the rabbit hole.  K was right on the spot with the African-American culture being the issue.  The culture promotes fathers leaving the girlfriends and living the “gangbanger’s” lifestyle.  Go listen to some rap you and will understand why African-American culture is the root to a lot of the things you people blame on the racist system.

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