April 16, 2008
Disclaimer: This is the first in a series of pieces critical of certain types of arguments that many pro-life advocates make. My concern is that they have negative consequences for other issues and the conservative movement as a whole. It is not my intention to disparage the pro-life cause, which I am sympathetic to.
Affirmative action used to be one of the most unifying and popular issues for conservative students. They would often come up with creative ways to protest the policy like “affirmative action bake sales.” Yet now, conservative students” idea of creativity is to tie support for legalized abortion to affirmative action.
You may have heard about how pro-life students at UCLA made calls to various Planned Parenthood chapters asking if they could specify their donation would go to give African Americans abortions. Many of the confused secretaries were willing to accept the donations, and the pro-life movement went in a tizzy railing against Planned Parenthood’s ostensive racism.
Their most widely circulated call was to Idaho chapter. The offending transcript is as follows
Donor: OK, so the abortion I can give money specifically for a black baby, that would be the purpose.
Planned Parenthood: Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that you wanted your gift to be used to help (an) African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that that gift was earmarked specifically for that purpose.
Donor: Great. Because I really face trouble with affirmative action, and I don’t want my kids being disadvantaged, you know, against black kids. I just had a baby; I want to put it in his name, you know.
Planned Parenthood: Mmhmm, absolutely.
Donor: So that’s definitely possible.
Planned Parenthood: Oh, always, always.
Donor: So I just wanna”can I put this in the name of my son?
Planned Parenthood: Absolutely.
Donor: Yeah, he’s trying to get into colleges, and he’s going to be applying, you know, he’s just, we’re just really big, he’s really faced troubles with affirmative action. …
Donor: And we don’t, you know, we just think, you know, the less black kids out there the better.
Planned Parenthood: (Laughs) Understandable, understandable. … Um David, let me, if I may, just get some sort of specific general information so we can set this up the right way. You said you wanted to put it in your son’s name, and you would like this designated specifically to assist (an) African-Americanwoman who’s looking to terminate a pregnancy.
Donor: Exactly, and yeah, I wanna protect my son, so he can get into college.
Reading this statement you could just as easily interpret it as trying to portray opposition to affirmative action as genocidal or eugenic as abortion.
In light of these incidents, consider Alveda King who has become one of the most sought-after pro-life speakers. Miss King’s sole credentials are that she is Martin Luther King’s niece and managed to get pregnant six times and had two of her children aborted. King goes from campus to campus showing R&B videos featuring her son, complaining about “institutional racism” being behind her failure to get loans, and explaining why she thinks Barack Obama may become pro-life.
Like many pro-lifers, she reminds her audiences that African Americans make up 12% of the population but 36% of all abortions and that there are a disproportionate number of abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods.
We can hope that there will be a day that legally a fetus would be a “child not a choice,” but like it or not, today having an abortion is a legal option that black females choose at a vastly disproportionate rate.
Other actions that lead to an unwanted pregnancy”such as having unprotected sex without contraception”are also choices that blacks disproportionately make. Even with their high numbers of abortions, 70% of black births are illegitimate. African American teenagers are three times more likely to be pregnant than their white counterparts.
Calling abortion “racist” is no different than calling AIDS, murder, crack cocaine, and other social pathologies that blacks unfortunately have at a higher rate than the rest of the population “racist.”
The “abortion is racist” gambit is not just a bad argument. If one accepts that abortion is the result of racism, there is no reason not to accept Alveda King’s assertion that ending racism will end abortion. And if you have such a liberal definition of racism to include abortion, why wouldn”t the rest of the list of black grievances also fit in as “racism.” Do not be surprised if you soon see many pro-lifers joining forces with Alveda King on various other left-wing causes.
This type of thinking is rooted in the idea that individuals are not responsible for their own actions”an attitude that does not help the black community, or the pro-life cause.