Abortion and African Americans


Juluette Bartlett Pack


Reprinted and posted with permission of the Life Education and Resource Network, from its resource manual.

Recently, I was asked by the University of Houston to research an organization to discover what its shared beliefs were, how these beliefs manifest themselves, why the group focuses on certain issues, and what is the desired outcome its activities. The group I chose to focus on is Texas Black Americans For Life. In order to gather this information, a survey was distributed and interviews of some of the members were conducted. In a subsequent booklet, the complete results will be published.

The survey consisted of sixteen questions and the analysis of eleven responses is as follows. Respondents ranged from ages 19-47, 8 females and 3 males, 10 African Americans and 1 Anglo American, 8 have first degrees including 7 who have second degrees, and the other 3 have at least 1 year of college work, 2 have law degrees, and one a medical degree. Their incomes ranged from one with less than $25,000 to 3 with incomes over $100,000. All but one considered herself/himself politically conservative, and nine considered themselves socially conservative and 2 socially liberal. All eleven respondents considered themselves spiritual rather than religious. One defined spiritual as having to do with your one on one relationship God. It is peace of mind you have as a result of being in tune to what God wants you to do with and in your life. Additionally, it is not being bound by man-made religious traditions and legalisms.

As can be seen above, the members have a lot in common as far as political and social ideology are concerned. But the main belief that drives the other issues is their spirituality. During their interviews, it was revealed that all had experienced spiritual re-conversions to Christianity. Many had grown up in homes that professed Christianity, but as they got older, went to college, and began to work, religious concerns receded into the background of their lives. It was years later after "experiencing" life that their spiritual life became most important. As a result, attitudes changed about many social and political ideologies. They reassessed their views and questioned the status quo about many issues and became concerned about issues such as abortions, and other negative influences on the Black family. Each believe that faith in God without good works to follow is useless. This belief, therefore, translates into community activism and service to help others less focused or unfortunate.

Each of the respondents arrived at their concern about abortion and African Americans from different perspectives. There is not a monolithic reason that spurred their decision to research this phenomenon and decide to become active in its discourse. Their reasons are not just theoretical but are also experiential. For example, one had an abortion, another performed abortions, one was being coerced into having an abortion by boyfriend and parents, but resisted, one male lost a child through abortion and was helpless to stop it, one female was offered an abortion by her physicians during all three of her pregnancies even though she was married and gave no indication she was considering abortion, and one in her capacity as a hospital social worker saw a baby who lived through an attempted abortion at 7 months gestation and could do nothing because it was legal. Therefore, when they became knowledgeable about the statistical evidence of abortion and the African American community, and how this is offered as an outcome of pregnancy for any reason or no reason, each one sought an answer. The search for an answer led them to the number one abortion provider in America and internationally, Planned Parenthood Federation and Margaret Sanger. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League and in 1942, in a shrewd public relations move, it was renamed Planned Parenthood Federation of America. It was the only national birth control organization until the abortion reform movement that began in the 1960s. With the new name would come new language, old arguments based on heredity and racial stock, which was discredited by Nazism, were replaced by new arguments based on environment and birth control clinics became family planning clinics. However, even though the language became more euphemistic, the true agenda of Planned Parenthood remains the same, to limit the birth rates of the unfit and dysgenic. For dysgenic African Americans, Sanger's implementation of the Negro Project over 60 years ago is bearing an abundant harvest. The urge to abort is automatic anytime an unintended pregnancy occurs.