People who believe Black Lives Matter must stop ignoring the disproportionately high abortion rate in the African American community, a Mississippi women’s health advocate wrote this week at the Clarion Ledger.
In the column, Getty Israel described herself as “pro-choice” on abortion, but she said she is troubled by the disproportionately high abortion rate among black women in her state.
“Pro-choice people like me often decry the rates of premature births and infant mortality among Black babies while remaining silent about the abortion rate disparities among Black women,” Israel wrote.
Getty said that needs to stop.
“If Black lives really matter, then liberals must address the underlying factors driving abortion rates,” she wrote. “Black disparities in abortion rates should be equally appalling as infant mortality.”
Census data indicates that African Americans make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, but they have nearly 40 percent of all abortions. And New York City health statistics show that more African American babies are aborted in the city than are born most years.
In Mississippi, Getty said black women had an 11 percent higher pregnancy rate from 2015 to 2019 than white women, but the live birth rate of black babies was about equal to that of white babies because so many black mothers aborted their unborn babies.
Missing fathers is a key reason for the high abortion rate, she continued. Her organization, Sisters in Birth, which provides prenatal care and other health services to black mothers in need, sees many women who are abortion-minded because they do not have good jobs or support from a husband or the baby’s father, she said.
Getty pointed to statistics showing the abortion rate is much higher among unmarried black women compared to those who are married.
“Racism during the 1960s and ’70s did not discourage my father from fulfilling his role as a husband and father,” she wrote. “He did not have access to federal aid, college, or trade school, but he worked two and three low-paying jobs to ensure that my siblings and I did obtain an education. He partnered with my mother, who worked part-time as a maid cleaning the homes of white families, to provide for our family.”
She said black men have access to more opportunities today than her father did, and women and society should expect them to be responsible fathers.
Though Getty did not mention unborn babies specifically, she emphasized that abortion is “inevitably detrimental” to the future of the black community. She also expressed pride about how her organization encourages mothers who are considering abortion to choose life instead.
Pro-life or pro-choice, Getty said the high abortion rate in the black community should trouble everyone. And, though her organization is not pro-life, it is working to reduce abortions by helping mothers choose life.