Missing from Most “Black History Month” Observances: Abortion is Another Form of Enslavement for the African American Community

Missing from Most “Black History Month” Observances: Abortion is Another Form of Enslavement for the African American Community


By Kevin Burke, LSW

In the month of February, we celebrated Black History Month.  There is an ongoing crisis within the African American community that is closely connected to historical legacy of slavery and rarely acknowledged in most observances of Black History Month.

 First let’s look at some sobering facts.

  • In spite of overall falling abortion rates in the U.S. abortion ratios actually increased among black women as compared to white women.
  • Close to half of all pregnancies among black women end in abortion (472 per 1,000), while among white women only 16 percent of pregnancies are aborted (161 per 1,000).
  • In New York City, where Planned Parenthood is headquartered, more black babies are aborted than are born alive (1,180 abortions for every 1,000 live births). [1]

David Williams is leader in outreach to men facing unplanned pregnancy with a special vocation to those wounded by their participation in abortion.   David shares that there is a vulnerability within the African American community to abortion, and it is closely connected to the traumatic experience of slavery:

“Families were systematically and cruelly dismantled according to the business needs of the slavers. Men would be torn from their wives and children. They were bred like animals to create the optimal labor value for the slave businesses. Women were routinely sexually abused, raped and separated from their children. Many mothers would abort their unborn children rather than have them born into slavery.”

The institution of slavery dehumanized women and men reducing them to the property of slaveholders with no human rights, and no right to life. This left them vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and murder. 

 Williams added:

 “The legacy of slavery ingrained in us certain mind sets about marriage, family, sex and abortion.”

This historical experience of abuse and exploitation has contributed to a vulnerability in the African American community to predatory organizations like Planned Parenthood.

Evangelist Alveda King, Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King:

“Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America and 78% of their clinics are in minority communities. Blacks make up 12% of the population, but 35% of the abortions in America.” [2]

Alveda shares that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, was a devout racist who created the Negro Project in order to sterilize unknowing black women and others she deemed as undesirables of society. The founder of Planned Parenthood said, “Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.”

Now in our nation, babies in the womb, who are created in the image of God, are viewed as less than human. The proponents of abortion, through the successful use of clever propaganda, have convinced women to see the children in their womb (like the slave) as nothing more than their temporary property, to be kept or discarded according to her choice.

Sexual Abuse and Abortion

Onawu Pickett is an ordained Christian minister.  She experienced sexual abuse and rape in her childhood and young adult life, witnessed abusive relationships within her family, and later aborted two of her children.  She came to regret the loss of her children to abortion and found great peace and healing by attending a Rachel’s Vineyard program. 

Rev. Pickett says that higher rates of sexual abuse within the African American leave women vulnerable to unhealthy relationships, unplanned pregnancy, and with the help of organizations like Planned Parenthood, to see abortion as their best option.

If we look at the rate of sexual abuse among Africa Americans, we find a group of women that is especially vulnerable to post-abortion complications. Statistics reveal that 1 in 4 or 3.3 million African American women have been sexually abused.[3]

It is indeed challenging to face the scope and complexity of the problems facing poor families. But abortion creates emotional, spiritual and physical wounds that only exacerbate a woman’s pre-existing trauma.

Women are left more vulnerable to ongoing exploitation and abuse in their relationships. We know that this instability and dysfunction in relationships leads to breakdown in family life, leaving women and their children vulnerable to predatory relatives, partners and friends.

The legacy of slavery continues; more abuse, more trauma, more abortions, more death.

Rev. Pickett:

“When the slaves were taken from our homeland, many women who were pregnant with child, and others with living children, would throw themselves overboard and drown so as not to bring their children into slavery.

I have come to see abortion is a form of bondage as well. I believe that we have been conditioned to believe giving up the child’s life will make it all better for mother and child.”

I asked Rev. Pickett if she had suggestions on how to share a message of hope and healing with the African American community that featured non-violent solutions to unplanned pregnancy, as well as healing of abortion loss, and other forms of abuse and trauma. 

She said the healing of community leaders is key:

“Some of our politicians and Christian ministers need healing as well.  Healing of their own participation in abortion and encouraging others to abort.   I believe lack of education and perhaps the ability to face their own past lead them to put up defensive walls.”

Rec. Pickett invites interested women and men (after they participate in a healing program,) to publicly share their abortion testimonies in black churches and other community settings as a way to raise awareness, and invite others to find healing and peace.  

David Williams echo’s the need for healing, especially among spiritual leaders:

“I often have an opportunity to share about my own abortion loss and healing in my speaking ministry. I am finding more and more that this opens up the door for pastors and other church leaders, educators and laymen to share about their own shame, guilt and pain from being involved in an abortion decision.

Sadly, most Pastors, church and ministry leaders that I speak with are reluctant to go through a healing program and to be public in any way about this secret in their past.

I believe that as long as we live with these secrets, while acting as if all is well… keeps too many silent. Thus abortion continues to ravage lives in the African American community and leave in its wake multitudes of broken women and men who sit in church feeling guilty, condemned and afraid to confess what they’ve done and seek healing.

Rev. Pickett spoke with great passion and love sharing her hope for a deeper awareness, healing, and light to shine in African American families, and communities:

“We have allowed the Margret Sangers of the world to cheat us of our dignity, our right to life and family. We must be examples of hope and life for generations to come. My prayer is that we no longer be enslaved to poverty and violence; especially in the womb – not only for African Americans but for all people. We need to regain our dignity.”


Grief to Grace is an intensive program of emotional and spiritual healing for those who have endured physical, emotional, sexual, and/or spiritual abuse. 

– For those who have participated in abortion and hunger for healing and peace, you can find abortion healing programs in your area by visitingwww.AbortionForgiveness.com

[1] Goldberg, A.  (February 11 2019).  Abortion’s Devastating Impact Upon Black Americans. Public Discourse.  ThePublicDiscourse.com   

[2] CRU Civil Rights for the Unborn

[3] Stone, R. (March 8, 2005).  No Secrets No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal from Sexual Abuse.  Harmony.


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