by Steven Ertelt
January 16, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Millions of Americans today will honor the memory of assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King, but, as they do, pro-life leaders within the African American community are concerned about the toll abortion is taking.
"Far and away the worse toll is taken in the most vulnerable community, the African American community, where black women are three times more likely to have an abortion than their white counterparts," explains Starr Parker, president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education.
African American women make up 13.7 percent of the U.S. population of women of childbearing age, yet the abortion rate among Black women is three times higher than of white women. For every five African American women that get pregnant three will have abortions.
Parker explains that moral principles and freedom are often at odds with each other, as they are in the abortion debate. She says moral principles in opposition to slavery made Americans more free and the same can happen with regard to abortion.
"Americans know today that Roe v. Wade has pushed that envelope," Parker said. "We live daily with wholesale abuse of human life that devalues America and Americans. This loss of value and perspective has weakened us and made us less free."
Nicole Redden understands the devastating effects of abortion firsthand. Her 15-year-old cousin Tamiia Russell was six months pregnant when she died from a legal abortion in Michigan in January 2004.
"This stuff needs to stop," said Redden. "People need to take a first hand look at what happens here."
Redden said that Tamiia used an identification card with another woman’s picture to state she was 19, as abortions cannot be performed on minors in Michigan without parental consent.
According to Redden, the woman in the picture ID looked nothing like Russell — but the abortion was done anyway at the WomanCare of Southfield abortion facility.
"Afro-American women have been victimized by the abortion industry for profit," Rev. Clenard Childress the director of LEARN, a black pro-life organization, explains. "Each day 1,452 Black infants are killed for profit and … much of our current leadership are silent. Political alliances have caused us to ‘sell out’ our women and our children."
While black political leaders frequently support abortion, they’re not representative of the African American community.
When the NAACP took an official position in favor of abortion in the early part of 2004, which it has since quietly rescinded, a poll conducted by Black Enterprise Magazine found that 60% of African Americans disapproved of the decision.
Meanwhile, in an August poll sponsored by Pace University and Rock the Vote, 54 percent of all Americans declared themselves pro-life while just 44 percent said they supported legal abortion. However, African-American voters took a pro-life position by a larger 59 to 42 percent margin.
Parker explains that traditionally black churches are waking up to the way abortion has denigrated the African American community.
"Black pastors and their congregants are waking up to the fact that the liberal agenda that they have been supporting all these years does not liberate but denigrates, dehumanizes, and enslaves," Parker said.
However, pro-life groups and crisis pregnancy centers are reaching out to the black community.
Janine Simpson, director of Urban Center Development for CareNet, a network of more than 900 pregnancy resource centers, says abortion businesses target black women and "an estimated 70 percent of abortion providers are in minority neighborhoods."
But groups like CareNet are working to open centers across the country that provide practical help and resources for pregnant women.
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