Abortion Causes 'Hopelessness' in Black Communities, King Says
by Nathan Burchfiel
Staff Writer www.crosswalk.com
- The Intersection of Faith and Life News Website
(CNSNews.com) - A recent Pew Research poll reported high levels
of 'hopelessness' in African-American communities across the
United States, a characteristic pro-life activists are linking
to high abortion rates among black women.
"Children are the future. When you destroy your children, you
destroy hope," Dr. Alveda King, pastoral associate of Priests
for Life and the niece of the late civil rights icon Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr., said in a statement.
"The incredibly high number of abortions performed on black
women in this country has to take a toll not just on the women
involved, but also on their families, friends, and communities,"
King said. "If African-Americans feel that life will not get
better, I have to believe that abortion is feeding into that
was referring to a study released Nov. 13 by the Pew
Research Center, which reported that only 44 percent of
blacks say they think life will be better for
African-Americans in the future. One in five said they think
life is better for blacks now than it was in 2002.
"I know from personal experience that abortion causes
depression, regret, and despair," King said. "If we love and
welcome our children, optimism for the future can only
According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive
health think tank named in honor of one of the former
presidents of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America,
black women see higher rates of unintended pregnancy than
the general population.
Ninety-eight of every 1,000 black women experience an
unintended pregnancy, compared to 35 of every 1,000 whites
and 78 of every 1,000 Hispanics.
African-American women are also "more than twice as likely
as women overall to have an abortion," according to the
institute. Black women between the ages of 15 and 19 had
84,460 abortions in 2000, according to the Institute. White
women of the same age had 92,830 abortions and Hispanics
accounted for 45,110.
Statistically, blacks - men and women - make up 12 percent
(35 million) of the U.S. population; whites, 75 percent (215
million); and Hispanics, 15 percent (42 million).
A spokesman for the Alan Guttmacher Institute did not
respond to requests for comment by press time, but the group
says on its Web site that higher rates of unintended
pregnancy and abortion among black women are connected to
financial and marital status. The group does not mention a
connection between abortion and "hopelessness."
"This [higher abortion rate] is likely because of a
combination of factors, including the fact that black women
are disproportionately poor and unmarried," the Web site
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a conservative black author, said
he believes abortion "definitely has had a major impact" on
blacks' psyche, and he said other factors are also to blame,
including other moral issues, education and mainstream black
"The fact that there's one parent in the home for the most
part, the black man is not there for his family guiding
them," Peterson said. "The most important factor is that the
average black man is not providing for his family and that's
why the economic situation is the way it is."
Peterson also accused mainstream African-American leadership
- the NAACP, Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson - of
"brainwashing" blacks to make them feel hopeless.
"They have managed to convince many blacks that they cannot
make it because of racism and so a lot of them are not even
putting forth the effort because they believe the lie,"