Black abor­tion op­po­nents more ac­tive

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - NATION | - By SHAILA DE­WAN

Rates are higher for African-Amer­i­can women, and two sides give dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

Across Amer­ica, the anti-abor­tion move­ment, long viewed as al­most ex­clu­sively white and Repub­li­can, is turn­ing its at­ten­tion to AfricanAmer­i­cans and en­cour­ag­ing black abor­tion op­po­nents across the coun­try to be­come more ac­tive.

This month, Ge­or­gia Right to Life made na­tional news with 80 bill­boards around At­lanta that pro­claim, “Black chil­dren are an en­dan­gered species” and a Web site at www. toomanyaborted.com.

A new doc­u­men­tary by Mark Crutcher, a white abor­tion op­po­nent in Den­ton, Texas, traced what it said were con­nec­tions among slav­ery, Nazistyle eu­gen­ics, birth con­trol and abor­tion, and the film was be­ing reg­u­larly screened by black or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Black abor­tion foes, who some­times re­fer to abor­tions as “womb lynch­ings,” have mounted a sus­tained at­tack on the Planned Par­ent­hood Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­ica.

“What’s giv­ing it mo­men­tum is blacks are fi­nally fig­ur­ing out what’s go­ing down,” ac­cord­ing to Johnny M. Hunter, a black pas­tor and long­time abor­tion op­po­nent in Fayet­teville, N.C. “The game changes when blacks get in­volved. And in the pro-life move­ment, a lot of the groups that have been ig­nored for years, they’re now get­ting gal­va­nized.”

The fac­tors fu­el­ing the fo­cus on black women — an abor­tion rate far higher than that of other races and the ties be­tween the ef­fort to le­gal­ize and pop­u­lar­ize birth con­trol and eu­gen­ics — are, at heart, old news.

But they have been given ex­ag­ger­ated new life by the In­ter­net, slick repack­ag­ing, high pro­duc­tion val­ues and money.

Black women get al­most 40 per­cent of the coun­try’s abor­tions, even though blacks make up only 13 per­cent of the pop- ula­tion. Nearly 40 per­cent of black preg­nan­cies end in in­duced abor­tion, a rate far higher than for white or His­panic women.

Abor­tion foes blamed the num­ber on the abor­tion clin­ics in black neigh­bor­hoods that prey upon black women. But sup­port­ers of abor­tion rights dis­pute the con­spir­acy the­ory and said it por­trayed black women as dupes and vic­tims. The rea­son black women have so many abor­tions is sim­ple, they said: too many un­wanted preg­nan­cies.

“It’s a per­fect storm,” said Loretta Ross, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Sis­terSong Women of Color Re­pro­duc­tive Health Col­lec­tive in At­lanta, list­ing a lack of ac­cess to birth con­trol, lack of ed­u­ca­tion and even a high rate of sex­ual vi­o­lence.

“There’s an as­sump­tion that ev­ery time a girl is preg­nant, it’s be­cause of vol­un­tary ac­tiv­ity, and it’s so not the case,” Ross said.

But, she said, the idea that abor­tion is in­tended to wipe out blacks may be find­ing fer­tile ground in a pop­u­la­tion that has ex­pe­ri­enced so much sanc­tioned prej­u­dice and vi­o­lence.

5 $

JOHN BAZE­MORE | THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

This anti-abor­tion bill­board was dis­played ear­lier this month in At­lanta. Ge­or­gia Right to Life made na­tional news with 80 bill­boards that it pur­chased in the city.

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