Some Black Pro-Lifers Say Abortion Is Genocide
That message is gaining traction, judging by the furor over anti-abortion billboards featuring black babies and a controversial Georgia bill.
Before the billboard campaign, Georgia Right to Life, a largely white anti-abortion group, had a difficult time reaching African Americans. But the loquacious and charismatic Davis literally changed the complexion of the debate. The former human resource manager, who was laid off from a telephone carrier a year ago, was proud to deliver the message to her people. A conservative for 26 years, she thought it was a natural fit. She, however, was not ready for the backlash from the pro-choice community, who suggests she is being used by the white religious right.
"I guess I was one of those who believed the African-American community was pro-life,'' Davis said. "I don't understand how anyone can say I am trying to scare people. I am talking about the factual, statistical results of the impact of abortion on the black community. The information I am sharing has been documented, not just by me, but by organization after organization for years.''
Equating Abortion With Genocide
The information Davis is referring to links abortion to genocide or Nazi-style eugenics, a message that is gaining momentum in the black community. A new documentary, "Maafa 21,'' written and directed by Mark Crutcher, a white pro-lifer in Denton, Texas, portrays Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, as a racist whose goal was to extinguish the African-American community through abortion.
Pro-choice advocate, Loretta J. Ross, national coordinator of SisterSong, Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, an Atlanta-based organization, dismissed the claims against Sanger.
"She was no genocidal maniac like they are trying to describe her,'' Ross said. "She was committed to women's rights and family planning. She didn't really approve of abortion because she thought they were so dangerous during her time. Yes, she flirted with eugenics, but then denounced it. But she was in the mainstream at the time because 22 states had eugenics laws.''
Still, Rev. Hunter said Planned Parenthood has a long history of genocide in the black community. He suggested that health care reform would not be a major issue if abortion were not part of the effort.
"There are some politicians who think the right people are being aborted,'' Hunter said. "There is no way to keep hounding for abortion when you put the majority of the clinics in minority communities. Then you have Planned Parenthood calling themselves health care providers. I don't think of abortion as health care.''
He described the billboard campaign as an ingenious way to transcend the media to get an unfiltered message to black America about the perils of abortion. And it got people's attention. Now he is in the midst of trying to install a billboard on a major thoroughfare in Fayetteville, but he's meeting resistance from the owner, who is reluctant, he says, to place the ad near Fort Bragg, the military base, and a new abortion clinic.
"The message is important, so we are not going to stop trying,'' he said. "We are losing 1,452 children a day to abortions. That means within four days, more blacks have been put to death than the Ku Klux Klan has lynched in the history of this nation.''
A Fight Rooted in Personal Regret
King said the black clergy's pro-life stance is nothing new, and that in fact they have been involved in the fight since the 1950s. Her own personal history turned King into an ardent supporter. She received two abortions in the 1970s and said she is still is filled with deep regret. She believes the abortions later caused a miscarriage. Not only are abortions destroying the black race, King said, but they also have a profound psychological impact on women.
"I went away from my pro-life roots and was beguiled by the women's rights movement until I had a deeper understanding of pro-choice,'' she said. "Then I came back to my roots. I'm glad to see today that the procreative reproductive health movement is finally being understood.''
Lynette Holloway is a Chicago-based writer. She is a former New York Times reporter and associate editor for Ebony magazine.