by Steven Ertelt
August 21, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Two leading national crisis pregnancy center networks are continuing a program to reach out to women in inner cities. Their hope is to help women, especially African-Americans who tend to have significantly higher abortion rates than white women, find abortion alternatives.
Care Net began its urban initiative to help a group of women who typically have very limited access to positive solutions to unplanned pregnancies.
About 36 percent of all abortions are done on African-American women, who make up only 13 percent of the female population in the United States. Hispanic women are about two and a half times more likely to have an abortion than white women.
Abortion businesses have long targeted the minority and poor communities of larger cities and Care Net estimates that there are five abortion centers for every pregnancy center in some major inner city areas.
Dr. Lillie A. Epps is a licensed, ordained minister and the Director of Urban Center Development at Care Net. She told the Associated Press over the weekend about the difficulties in reaching out to urban communities.
"This crusade has been very difficult — having to educate community leaders as to what’s really going on without being offensive, without having a political agenda," Epps said.
Care Net began the initiative with a pilot program at the Capitol Hill Crisis Pregnancy Center in a rough minority neighborhood called Anacostia in Washington, D.C. The group partnered with the 21 year-old pregnancy center and a teen outreach center called The House.
Though most of the volunteers at the pregnancy center are white, 89 percent of its clients are black and director Janet Durig told AP that race doesn’t matter when a pregnant teenager needs help.
"When she breaks down and cries, do you think she cares if I’m white?" Durig asked.
But Epps says pro-life advocates must do more to get Hispanics and black Americans involved in pregnancy centers.
"We want people to come in and see someone who looks like them," Epps told AP. "We can’t charge into a community and say, ‘We’re your savior.’"
While there are two or three times more pregnancy centers in the U.S. as there are abortion facilities, the centers tend to be located in rural or suburban areas.
Philadelphia is one such area where Care Net says there is a need for new pregnancy centers. Philadelphia County accounts for nearly 50% of all abortions performed in the state of Pennsylvania.
In 2001 in Philadelphia, there were 14,389 abortions; 10,339 of these were performed on African American women. While African Americans make up only 10% of the state’s population, they account for nearly 45% of all abortions. That means that the abortion rate among African American women in Pennsylvania is nearly 5 times greater than white women.
"The easy access to nearby abortion facilities and the corresponding lack of available pregnancy resource centers appears to be one significant factor in creating this disproportionate tragedy," Care Net says.
In the Philadelphia area, there are nine abortion facilities, including four Planned Parenthood centers but just two pregnancy centers.
But the urban initiative is expanding. Care Net has opened 13 urban pregnancy centers since 2003 and 15 more are under development in cities like Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago.
Combined with Heartbeat International, Care Net is also reaching out to women with extensive advertising campaigns touting their 1-800-395-HELP number and PregnancyCenters.org web site.