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Hidden in Plain Sight: How Abortion Erases Black Lives
By Quinn Roberts, Dean Nelson
In the weeks since George Floyd’s tragic death on May 25, our nation has experienced a national reckoning on issues related to race. From Minnesota to California to Washington, D.C., tens of thousands of Americans have rallied in solidarity with the victims of discrimination, demanding equal justice under the law. Many Christians see this crisis and believe in the necessity of elevating the simple yet profound theological truth that all people are made in God’s image and possess dignity and value.
George Floyd’s on-camera death has prompted many conversations on race, policing, incarceration, and civil rights. Much of this is focused on the city street. However, our streets aren’t the only places Americans, especially minorities, remain vulnerable.
Every day, women enter abortion facilities believing them to be their only hope for help and answers. Often, they have been told that giving birth to their babies will ruin their lives, or that any children they have will grow up to be criminals. As if this were not tragic enough, abortion providers specifically target and prey upon low-income, minority communities. Seventy-nine percent of abortion clinics in the United States are located in black or Hispanic neighborhoods.
The placement of these clinics in minority communities is not an accident. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger advocated for eugenics, especially through the use of birth control. Sanger’s racist beliefs are well documented. For example, in a letter to Clarence Gamble, she once explained, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Today, abortions of black babies make up 38 percent of all abortions, even though African Americans only make up 13 percent of the population. In 2016 alone, the lives of 137,510 black babies were ended under the “right to privacy” called abortion. Dr. La Verne Tolbert, former Planned Parenthood board member turned pro-life advocate, commented on this alarmingly high rate of black abortions: “Planned Parenthood targets minorities for abortion with the specific goal of keeping down (or lowering) the birthrate of Black babies…. Over twenty million African American babies have been aborted.”
In Genesis 1:27, God set the precedent for human dignity with the words, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Each and every human is a unique individual made in the image of God. Our accomplishments do not increase or decrease the value of our lives. This inherent value is known as “human dignity.” Even those who do not normally accept a Judeo-Christian value system agree with the inherent dignity of humans. The evidence is found in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights when it states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” The phrase, “born free and equal in dignity and rights,” despite having no inherent reference to Scripture or Judeo-Christian values, clearly affirms the concept of human dignity.
Human dignity drives the outrage at even one person’s death, especially an unjust death. As mentioned earlier, human dignity is a universal concept that applies to all people, regardless of circumstance. This applies equally to those we can see and those we cannot yet see. The unborn children of the world are humans too and therefore are inherently valuable. Yet, abortion providers would have you believe otherwise.
Every day, young mothers—especially black and brown—are told that the babies they carry are not unique human beings full of unlimited potential, but “problems” that will destroy their dreams and burden society. But the truth is, what is inside any mother’s womb is not just a clump of cells, nor is it part of her body. It is another human just waiting for the opportunity to live in the world. Of course, all people will face trials and difficult circumstances, much like the trying times our nation faces today, but that is not all there is to life. There are so many thousands of blessings, large and small, that help us appreciate life, and when it comes down to it, we would not give them for the world. Things like a mother’s hug, a hot cup of coffee, a beautiful sunset, the birth of a child, and so much more. Yet, hundreds of thousands of innocent babies will never get to experience these wonders every year. What is worse is that a disproportionately large number of those are black babies who will never get to make a difference and influence the culture for positive change.
George Floyd’s death serves as a clarion call for justice—not only for those we can physically see but also for those we cannot yet see. Unlike a death on the street captured on video, abortion is hidden away and sterilized under mountains of lies, paperwork, and medical waste bins stashed in the back alleys of abortion facilities. We rightly mourn the emptiness left by George Floyd’s death, yet abortion is responsible for an immense vacuum left by the millions of black Americans who never even got their chance to be born. Can America ever be a truly just nation if we continue to throw away millions of lives simply because someone says they aren’t worth living?
Dean Nelson is FRC’s Senior Fellow for African American Affairs and the Executive Director of Human Coalition Action.
Quinn Roberts is a Policy & Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council.
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