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Planned Parenthood's New Smoke Screen

By Dr. Alveda King

If you want to quit smoking, do you look to cigarette manufacturers for advice? The answer’s obvious. But like some tobacco companies that actually provide their own guidance on how to stop smoking, Planned Parenthood is now offering advice on how to reduce abortions in the African American community.

Pardon my skepticism, but I find it hard to believe that the nation’s largest abortion provider wants to reduce its profit margins.

The abortion industry, Planned Parenthood in particular, has been stung recently by data and events that point toward racism in its very core. African American women are 4.8 times more likely to have abortions than white women. Even though blacks comprise only 13 percent of the population, we receive 37 percent of all abortions. Perhaps most revealing -- seven offices of Planned Parenthood were caught on tape this year as willing to accept donations for the sole purpose of aborting black babies.

In light of such news, what’s a business built on euphemisms, obfuscation, and outright lies to do?

Well, apparently the plan is to follow the lead of the tobacco industry. Like cigarette manufacturers who talked about everything and anything except their own internal memos, Planned Parenthood’s attempting to distract attention away from its practices.

That the abortion industry would look to big tobacco for guidance is appropriate. Abortion providers, like tobacco companies, survive economically by offering goods or services that cause deaths; the former, 1.2 million annually, the latter, 440,000. Both have had to stretch the bounds of public relations to try to counter one bad news story after another. And if anyone has used the term “choice” more than the abortion lobby, it’s the smoking lobby.

So, let’s just forget about the fact that abortion businesses locate the great majority of their clinics in minority neighborhoods. Let’s just listen as Planned Parenthood’s own research arm, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, passes down its wisdom from on high. What, according to Planned Parenthood, is the reason why an incredible number of abortions are performed on black women? It’s because African Americans don’t receive enough contraceptives and value-free sex education!

Of course. And, let’s see, just who would profit financially if more birth control pills and devices were distributed and sex education curricula adopted? Why, it would be Planned Parenthood.

Then, what would happen if more women, especially young women, received birth control that they mistakenly thought freed them from the possibility of pregnancy and if more adolescents were indoctrinated with Planned Parenthood-style sex education that encouraged promiscuity? Even more abortions.

And who would profit from more abortions? You guessed it.

Putting aside for a moment, though, the fact that Planned Parenthood proposes a solution that would enrich it financially, would more birth control given to African American women really mean fewer abortions of blacks?

Let’s look at New York City.

If there is any place in the United States where birth control is accessible, it’s New York City. Free contraceptives are available to anyone on Medicaid, including teenagers. Over 50 publicly funded programs offer free or low-cost birth control pills, condoms, and other contraceptive devices to New Yorkers at 218 sites, most of which are in the city itself. The New York Sun reported in December 2006 that the city was distributing 1.5 million free condoms a month.

The result of all this freely available birth control? It’s not fewer abortions.

While in the United States there are 24 abortions for every 100 live births, in New York City there are 72 abortions for every 100 live births. Though the number of abortions performed in the United States continues to drop, abortions in New York City continue to hover around 90,000 annually, with the number actually increasing from 2005 to 2006, the last year for which statistics are available. Blacks, who make up 24 percent of New York City’s population, still receive a disproportionate 45 percent of its abortions.

The truth remains that even if contraceptives were made available to absolutely everyone, abortion would still be common. According to the Guttmacher Institute’s own statistics, over half of all women who have abortions were using birth control when they got pregnant.

What might seem, then, as a suggestion by Planned Parenthood to solve the African American abortion crisis actually turns out to be nothing more than an attempt to further line its own coffers. And, oh yes, it’s a clever way to deflect attention away from what truly needs examination – the policies and practices of an industry that has wiped out one-quarter of the black population.

Dr. Alveda King is a Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



 

African American Outreach

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org