Black Leaders Say Abortion Distracts Voters, But African-Americans Pro-Life

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 27, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Black Leaders Say Abortion Distracts Voters, But African-Americans Pro-Life Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 27, 2006

Dallas, TX ( — Several prominent African-American religious leaders plan to work overtime this year to mobilize the black vote and want to counter evangelicals who they say use issues like abortion to distract voters. However, polls continue to show a majority of black Americans are pro-life and oppose abortion to a greater degree than other voting blocs.

The Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery kicked off a three day event in Dallas and said abortion has been used too much to block discussion of issues like voting rights and affirmative action.

"[T]here are plenty of people coming with problems voting or their sons in jail," Sharpton said about black Americans he sees talking about their problems when they attend church.

According to an AP report, Sharpton and the others plan to tour swing states starting next month to turn out the black vote.

However, abortion has adversely affected the African-American community over the last 33 years that it has been legal.

Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., notes that abortion has disproportionately affected the black community. While black women constitute about 13% of the childbearing population, they have over one-third of the abortions.

The abortion rate of black women is three times higher than that of white women and 60% of African-American women who become pregnant will have an abortion. More than 14 million abortions have been done on black women and abortion businesses are frequently located in minority communities.

"I join the voices of thousands across America who can no longer sit idly by and allow this horrible spirit of murder to cut down," King says. "If the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is to live, our babies must live."

Meanwhile, polls show black Americans are pro-life and supporting pro-life candidates in greater margins than before.

In an August 2004 survey 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.

Star Parker, a pro-life advocate and president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education, says there is an increasing desire among African Americans to support pro-life candidates and that it is the beginning of a trend.

"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.

Those pro-life values prompted black Americans to protest a decision by the nation’s largest civil rights group to endorse abortion.

When the NAACP took an official position in favor of abortion in early 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, King recalls memories of her childhood home in Birmingham, Alabama. It was later bombed by those who hated the civil rights activism of her family.

King says that just as she and her family should have been comfortable and safe in their own home, so should an unborn child feel safe inside of her mother during pregnancy.

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Alveda King –