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
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.