Emma Akpan is a faith leader at her North Carolina African Methodist Episcopal Church. She also volunteers for Planned Parenthood.
Akpan wrote a column for Bustle this week trying to justify her abortion advocacy with her Christian faith by claiming that she wants to end violence against women. Akpan described herself a minister at her church.
“I am a clinic greeter because of my faith, which teaches me how important it is to provide care for my community,” the Raleigh, North Carolina, woman wrote. “For me, that means ensuring that women have safe access to their health care facilities.”
Akpan, an African American, honed in on violence against the African American community, churches and women. However, she failed to acknowledge one of the greatest violences against black lives – abortion – and the work pro-lifers are doing to peacefully end that violence. Akpan admitted that the pro-lifers who protest outside her local abortion clinic are very peaceful, but she still attempted to paint them as violent and hateful.
Every Friday, a group of people gathers outside the Planned Parenthood clinic where I volunteer, holding signs that shame the women who visit with slogans like “Your mother kept you” and pictures of babies that say “I want to live.” These signs and their presence may seem peaceful because the protesters don’t (typically) threaten or physically assault visitors. But their very presence is violent, their words often cruel, and their motives are to intimidate and scare away people seeking health care.
When I was at the clinic last month, the protesters were mostly Black and from one church in Raleigh. They held signs that said “Fetus lives matter” and “The most dangerous place for a Black child is in the womb.”
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As a Black woman, seeing those signs made me angry. They make it seem as if Black women do not make our own decisions, that we are simply pawns in America’s racist society. The appropriation of #BlackLivesMatter language to shame Black women seeking healthcare is divisive and insulting, but sadly unsurprising.
Pro-life advocate and African American Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation had something different to say on the matter.
“This hashtag movement, which can lie more in 140 characters than I ever thought possible, ignores the reality of the preventable violent injustices that happen every single day,” Bomberger wrote recently for LifeNews. “#BlackLivesMatter? When? And where? Apparently they only matter in jail or on the streets but never in the womb, in an abortion mill, or in an intact married (husband/wife) family…never.”
The violence committed every year against unborn babies, especially African American babies, is astronomical. Approximately 363,000 unborn black babies are killed every year in violent abortions in America. In New York City in 2013, more black babies were aborted than were born. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the former pro-abortion research division of Planned Parenthood, African American women are five times more likely to choose abortion over white women.
And the group doing more abortions than any other is Planned Parenthood, a business grounded in eugenics that pushes the kind of violence and discrimination that Akpan claims to be working against.