Remember that controversial billboard that ran earlier this year, the one paid for by a Texas-based pro-life organization? It read: “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is the Womb.” Some, including the mother of the child featured on the billboard, agreed that the message was delivered in bad taste; however, the New York City Health Department found that of all the abortions given in NYC in 2009, between 40 and 50 percent were given to African American women.
What started out as a “New York” issue eventually became a national cause for conservative activists. Now, the Republicans are jumping on this “anti black abortion” band wagon.
According to an opinion piece at the Washington Post, Arizona Rep., Trent Franks, a Republican, believes that the issue of black abortion is “the civil rights struggle that will define our generation.” So, he composed a bill, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011, that would address this issue.
Among other things the bill proposes that persons or organizations that perform a race or gender-selection abortion can lose government funding or can be prosecuted by the woman herself or her family members and the government can legally prevent this person or organization from performing further abortions.
Hmmm, on the surface this bill sounds admirable. No woman should be coerced into having an abortion based on the race or sex of her unborn child. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the Republican party, who places such strong emphasis on personal responsibility, has another motive behind this bill.
While the number of black abortions is far too high at 40-50 percent, I would argue that many of these abortions have little to do with the race of the fetus and more to do with the mother’s choice not to give birth to her child. I wholeheartedly believe that our high abortion rates has more to do with lack of education, pressure, real or imagined, to have unprotected sex and a lack of resources. This bill seems more like a ploy to remove government funding from Planned Parenthood than it is concern for African American children. I can’t say I blindly support Planned Parenthood, considering their suspect conversations and prevalence in urban neighborhoods but I also don’t believe that they’re completely to blame for our high abortion rates.
Either way this is an all around bad situation.
When you get a chance, read the bill and let us know what you think. Do conservative groups and Republicans really care about black abortion or are they playing the race card to prosecute organizations like Planned Parenthood?