Politics

African American Women Vilified by Billboards Comparing Abortion to Slavery

Sun., Jul. 10, 2011 5:04 PM EDT
by Torrance Stephens

The attack on African American females, from the predatory practices of politicians to the disrespect proffered by music videos and some hip-hop music, continues to be retro chic. Now, this has been magnified to an entirely different level.

During the week of Juneteenth (the holiday honoring the day the last slaves in Texas were freed years after the abolition of slavery), an anti-abortion group decided to exploit the observance of this day to derogate and abase the African American community. The Radiance Foundation, an Atlanta-based anti-abortion group, launched a billboard campaign using 50 billboards that featured the slogans such as “Abortion Makes Three-Fifths Human Seem Overly Generous,” “The 13th Amendment Freed Us. Abortion Enslaves Us” and “The 14th Amendment Made Us Members. Abortion Dismembers.”

These signs are absurd, and the equivocation of a woman’s private health decision as more harmful than slavery borders on psychopathy. Although white women have more abortions than any other racial ethnic group in America, the unfortunate truth is that abortion is perceived as an easy solution to a complex situation by many women, especially young, poor African American women. Nearly half of all pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Sixty-nine percent of pregnancies among African American women are unintended, and 42 percent of women obtaining abortions have incomes below the federal poverty level.

More interesting is that African Americans comprising about one-eighth of the U.S. population, account for about one-third of all abortions annually. Thus, if compared to other outcomes, abortion could be considered the No. 1 cause of death in the African American community.

It is no wonder that race and abortion is a difficult subject. It should be noted that Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), once wrote, “Where Negroes dwell one finds them, in fat times and lean alike, contributing a disproportionate number to the rolls of dependents and delinquents. They make excessive demands on the white man’s charity and overtax his patience.”

Yes, unplanned pregnancies and abortion are problems in the United States, but to equate choice to enslavement is idiotic, in particular when most abortions are committed by white women, who were never, ever historically slaves. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.

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