Abortion advocates tried unsuccessfully to weaken Ohio’s heartbeat bill with a series of amendments this week, including one that would have allowed only African American unborn babies to be aborted.
The heartbeat bill passed the state legislature Thursday. It would prohibit abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy, in Ohio. Because many women do not even know they are pregnant at this early stage, the legislation could protect almost all unborn babies in Ohio if it goes into effect.
But if Democratic state Rep. Janine Boyd had her way, the bill also would have given an exemption to African American women to abort their unborn babies for any reason up to the state’s current abortion limit, 20 weeks.
On Tuesday during a state House Health Committee meeting, she proposed Amendment 0291 to add the exemption.
Boyd likened restrictions on abortion to slavery as she urged her fellow lawmakers to support the measure. Watch her remarks on The Ohio Channel, starting at minute 51:45.
“Black slaves were once treated like cattle and put out to stud in order to create generations of more slaves,” she said. “Our country is not far enough beyond our history to legislate as if it is.”
State Rep. Derek Merrin, a Republican and chair of the committee, pushed back against Boyd’s claims, saying the law should be applied equally to all Ohio citizens, regardless of their race.
The committee rejected the amendment, but state pro-life leaders expressed outrage that it even was proposed.
“To reference owning humans as a defense of dismembering them is moral myopia,” said Mark Harrington, president of Created Equal. “If is wrong to own humans, it is also wrong to intentionally kill them.”
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Harrington said African American families should feel insulted at the racism behind the amendment, and he urged Boyd to apologize.
“Referencing abortion to avoid consigning children to slavery, she seems to suggest black children today should likewise not be born—which is exactly the purpose of her amendment,” he continued. “Every human being is valuable regardless of the color of his or her skin. To suggest that only black babies should be killed in Ohio is shocking racism not befitting of a representative of the Ohio House.”
Many pro-life leaders believe the opposite to be true, that the abortion industry targets black Americans for abortions. While abortions hurt every race and culture, black Americans have a disproportionately high number of abortions compared to other racial groups.
According to census data, African Americans make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population but have about 30 percent of the abortions. African-American teenage abortion rates are more than twice as high as the national average, according to research by the Guttmacher Institute.
Research by Protecting Black Life also found that 79 percent of Planned Parenthood surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of black and Latino neighborhoods.
African American pro-life leaders point to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s eugenic beliefs as a possible reason for the targeting of minorities. Sanger described immigrants and minorities as “human weeds,” “reckless breeders” and “spawning … human beings who never should have been born” in her book “Pivot of Civilization.” Sanger also wrote about getting rid of people with diseases and disabilities through sterilization and segregation, describing these “morons” as “a dead weight of human waste.”
The Ohio bill could save thousands of unborn babies of all races every year, if allowed to be enforced. The Ohio Department of Health reported 20,893 abortions in 2017 in the state.
However, abortion advocacy groups have said they will sue to overturn the law in court. Recently, a federal judge blocked Kentucky’s new heartbeat law.