Is abortion being used to eradicate certain groups of people, or is it strictly a health-care issue?
A black anti-abortion activist who underwent two procedures herself claims that minorities are being proportionately targeted for abortions.
Others say the notion is ridiculous.
Alveda King of Atlanta, director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, says it’s not a coincidence that, although blacks make up 12.3 percent of the population, they constitute 38 percent of all abortion procedures. In Ohio, the numbers are 11.7 percent and 39 percent, respectively. In Stark County, it’s 7 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
Abortion-rights supporters point to poverty and a lack of access to preventative care as factors behind the numbers.
Specifically targeting Planned Parenthood, King argues that as the minorities’ demands for equal rights grew, so did the agency’s push to give them more access to birth control and abortion.
“Most of the abortion clinics and Planned Parenthoods are in minority neighborhoods,” she said. “The second targeted place is college campuses. That’s demonstrable.”
A niece of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Alveda King argues that the roots of the family-planning movement can be found in “eugenics,” the theory that whites are genetically superior to nonwhites. In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler cited the American eugenics movement as a model for his racial-purity policies. As recently as the 1970s, some states had eugenics boards which facilitated forced sterilization of the poor, welfare applicants, the developmentally disabled and minorities.
MLK AND PPH
King points to the late Margaret Sanger, mother of the birth control movement in America, and founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger befriended eugenicists and once wrote: “Slavs, Latin and Hebrew immigrants are human weeds, a deadweight of human waste. ... Blacks, soldiers and Jews are a menace to the race.”
The Rev. Ralph Bradley, pastor of Eternal Light Church in Canton, sides with King, saying that a number of world leaders past and present have embraced eugenics.
“Margaret Sanger is only one of a long list of people in the New World Order’s plans, which will eliminate countless millions of people of color,” Bradley said. “If the New World Order members can continue in the financial banking fraud in the U.S. and around the world, abortion will be only one way to get rid of what Henry Kissinger calls ‘useless eaters.’ ”
King disputes suggestions that her uncle supported abortion rights. In 1966, Planned Parenthood of America awarded Martin Luther King Jr. its first Margaret Sanger Award.
“Planned Parenthood loves to post his acceptance speech on its website,” she said. “The award was given to him, but he (personally) did not accept it. His wife went to the ceremony and read a speech he did not write. It’s trickery and deception.”
King further argues that women aren’t being told the truth about the medical risks connected to abortion.
“I had two abortions and two miscarriages related to my abortions,” said the mother of six. “They’re not safe. They lie when they say, ‘The reason we’re making abortion available is because we want to help people.’ I was tricked into having both of them by a Planned Parenthood-affiliated black doctor in Atlanta. My experiences with abortion were a nightmare.”
She also pickets the NAACP and other black organizations that support legalized abortion.
“I realized they lied; that’s a baby,” she said. “In 1983, I publicly took a stand. How can the dream survive if we’re killing our children?”
King also accuses Planned Parenthood of deliberately distributing low-dosage birth control and condoms to generate more money for abortion and other services. Planned Parenthood of Stark County does not perform abortions.
“All of it is a scam and a disgrace, not just for the minority community, but everybody,” she said.
Taba Aleem, director of community services for Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio, disputes King’s accusations.
“Dr. King was happy to work with Planned Parenthood,” she said. “Alveda has failed to realize that Margaret Sanger was very connected to the black community. Her ‘Negro Project’ was not intended to eradicate blacks, it was about access to birth control. Sanger worked with blacks, including W.E.B. DuBois and the Call & Post. For her (King) to come up with the idea that they didn’t think that through, I don’t think so.”
A PERSONAL DECISION
“I agree with Alveda King,” said Debra Martin, relationship and marriage education director at the Pregnancy Support Center of Stark County. “I always say go back to the source of where an organization started and why they started. With Margaret Sanger, you hear it over and over. We as African Americans believe it’s been a good thing, not knowing the source.”
Martin said she also thinks clinics are deliberately placed in poor neighborhoods, adding, “We’re losing our status as far as population is concerned. I do believe it was, and still is, purposefully put there and targeted toward us.”
Lillian Williams, regional director of health center operations at Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio, calls abortion “a personal medical decision.”
“When it comes to the issue of child-bearing and abortion, everyone has their own set of values,” she said. “Our (goal) isn’t to encourage a woman to make a decision one way or the other. Our intent is to provide the information they need, so they can base their decision on all factors. We definitely recognize these issues don’t occur in a vacuum.”
A FAITH MATTER?
Williams, who is black, said Planned Parenthood has been an affordable source of reproductive health care for minorities.
“It’s a safe environment for people to come for quality care,” she said. “Women of color are disproportionately affected by our system. A lot of times women face barriers to quality care. Blacks and Latinas are more likely to be uninsured and under-insured, and are more likely to experience higher rates of illness and death as a result.
“Planned Parenthood does more than any organization to provide preventative services to 18 million men and women a year. Ninety-five percent of what we do is preventative in nature.”
Aleem said she’s disturbed when activists such as King use religion as a wedge in the black community. Planned Parenthood has an outreach program for clergy, and clergy regularly serve on the agency’s boards of directors.
“Being the daughter of a retired minister, my dad sat on Planned Parenthood committees for several years,” Williams said. “He said it was some of the most rewarding work he’s ever done.”
“We’ve got so many health issues we need to address as a church, such as HIV and AIDS,” Aleem said. “We need more ministers to talk about health issues. ... The problem with right-to-life activists is they don’t want to hear anything about sex education, which would go a long way in reducing the incidence of an unplanned pregnancy that no one wants.”
Martin, is who married to a minister, disagrees.
“People tend to throw religion into everything,” she said, “But the reality is, it’s a life. I became pregnant in high school at 17. I look at my oldest daughter now, who has given me two beautiful grandchildren I would have never known. People don’t realize we could be aborting the next president. It has nothing to do with religion; it has to do with life.
“More of our black kids are being killed through abortion. We need to understand the full effect of abortion, from the emotional hurt that we don’t deal with, to the reality that our population is going down. Ultimately, we’re going to suffer because of that.”
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