By Arthur Goldberg, republished with permission—Abortion cannot be allowed on economic, social, or racial grounds—to afford a higher standard of living, for the convenience of uncommitted relationships, or because a minority racial group is involved.
When Stacey Abrams lost her bid for Georgia governor last November, she explained away her loss with the common liberal talking point that racism deprived her fellow African-Americans and other minorities of their fundamental right to vote. Her campaign was largely focused on turning out the minority vote.
In contrast, her silence was deafening concerning a far more potent factor holding down the black vote: namely, the staggering number of abortions in the black community. The inconvenient truth of “black genocide” significantly decreased the potential black population of Georgia over the past fifty years. According to recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics, while African-Americans constitute 32.2 percent of Georgia’s population, 62.4 percent of abortions in Georgia are performed on African-American women. By contrast, whites constitute 60.8 percent of the Georgia population, but only 24.7 percent of abortions were performed on white women. Even pro-abortion groups like the Guttmacher Institute admit that “black women are more than 5 times as likely as white women to have an abortion.”
These abortion numbers have curtailed population increases in the African-American community. Michael Novak calculated in 2002 that without the incidence of abortion, the African-American population would show at least a 36-percent increase. Even this number does not take into account the number of children who may have been born to those who were aborted.
In its endorsement of Abrams, Planned Parenthood referred to her as an “unwavering champion for reproductive health and rights.” In proudly accepting their endorsement, Ms. Abrams emphasized that she would “not whisper” her campaign’s pro-choice position, proclaiming that abortion would be a “proud and central facet” of her campaign and governance. By aligning herself with Planned Parenthood’s agenda, Abrams ignored the warnings of community pastors such as Clenard Childress, Jr., who warned, “If the current trend [of abortions in the black community] continues, by 2038 the black vote will be insignificant.”
Abrams’s strong support of Planned Parenthood highlights either her hypocrisy or her lack of knowledge concerning abortion’s devastating effect on the African-American population. This is also true for the myriad black-led liberal groups (such as the Congressional Black Caucus) that unequivocally endorse Planned Parenthood, the number-one killer within the African-American community. In spite of overall falling abortion rates in the U.S., numbers released in 2018 by the CDC reveal that in certain time periods studied, for example 2007 to 2010, abortion ratios actually increased among black women as compared to white women. The abortion ratios of the latter decreased. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control point out that nearly 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).
Culture and the Supreme Court
When the sexual revolution took off in the 1960s, the federal government—and especially the Supreme Court—began to help dismantle the traditional family structure. In 1960, the FDA approved the first oral contraceptive (Enovid), leading to an increase in sex without parenthood. In Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the Supreme Court struck down laws against contraception for married couples by creating a constitutional “right to privacy,” premised on a previously unknown “penumbra” of constitutional rights. In Baird v. Eisenstadt (1972), the Court extended this right of privacy to any individual, without regard to marital status, by legalizing contraception for all persons. However, to overcome any failures of contraception, the Court shortly thereafter determined that abortion would become a viable second option to avert the birth of a child.
Recognizing that contraception alone would not necessarily prevent conception, in the very next year, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton (1973) fundamentally deconstructed human sexuality by separating procreative behavior from procreation. The Supreme Court further extended the right to privacy by striking down state laws against abortion. The Court thus either reinforced or created a cultural momentum toward the deconstruction of marriage and family (to which the creation of “no-fault divorce” in 1970 also contributed.)
Of course, the idea of abolishing the procreative family as a social unit is an ancient one, going back to Plato’s Republic and reappearing at intervals through history. However, it has truly gained momentum since the 1960s. Sex became a recreational activity thanks to people like Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who helped radically change the social values and mores of America. “The percentage (of American adults) who believed premarital sex among adults was ‘not wrong at all’ was 29 percent in the early 1970s, 42 percent in the 1980s and 1990s, 49 percent in the 2000s, and 58 percent between 2010 and 2012.” The resulting narcissistic cultural climate became one of absolute individuality.
The single life has now become preferred to marriage (as has marriage without parenthood). Unmarried women now outnumber the married, and the idea of self-marriage or sologamy has begun to be reported. “Last year, the U.S. marriage rate reached a 93-year low,” reported a 2015 Archives of Sexual Behavior study. “With more Americans spending more of their young adulthood unmarried, they have more opportunities to engage in sex with more partners and less reason to disapprove of non-marital sex.”
Abortion’s Impact upon the African-American Community
Interestingly, as journalist Jason Riley points out, at the time of Roe v. Wade “blacks were less likely than whites to support abortion.” However, a 2017 Pew Research Center survey now shows blacks as the leading proponents of abortion rights, with 62 percent favoring legal abortion.
According to Riley,
Social scientists aren’t sure why black attitudes toward abortion have changed. One theory is that as more blacks migrated out of the conservative Deep South and settled in other regions of the country with more liberal views on reproductive rights, their attitudes changed accordingly. Another possibility is that people with higher incomes and more education tend to be pro-choice, and since the early 1970s the socioeconomic status of blacks has increased dramatically.
Most liberals reject these explanations, countering that black women are more likely than women of other races to live in poverty. Citing poverty as the driving factor, liberal advocates for abortion, such as the Guttmacher Institute, point to inadequate access to health care in the black community as a consequence of its poverty and the cause of its high abortion rates.
Pro-life leaders in the black community disagree. Observing that “the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb,” they argue that abortion (often referred to as “population control”) is “the most institutionalized form of racism” in America. The Rev. Walter Hoye, founder of the Issues for Life Foundation, points out the ominous implications of the high black abortion rate. He warns that because the black fertility rate is well below the replacement rate of 2.1, “within a few decades, African-Americans may well be an endangered species.”
Indeed, pro-life advocates have consistently argued that blacks have been specifically targeted by the abortion industry. After all, in 1939, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, stated her desire to “exterminate the Negro population.” In fact, research done a few years ago by the Life Issues Institute found that “79 percent of abortion-offering Planned Parenthood facilities are within walking distance of black or Hispanic neighborhoods,” and “62 percent are near black neighborhoods.”
Defenders of Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, counter these statistics by arguing that Planned Parenthood “runs as a business so that the motivation is to locate abortion clinics most strategically.” Monique Chireau, a professor at Duke University School of Medicine, argued that this location disparity was not motivated by racism but by supply and demand, explaining that Planned Parenthood is “going to locate themselves where their business model is going to thrive.”
But that still does not answer the question: why is demand for abortion greater among African-Americans? Statistics do seem to show that African-Americans have more sexual interaction than Caucasians. According to a report in the Daily Beast, “African-Americans have 8.2 percent more sex than Caucasians,” and other research finds that many blacks “object to the use of condoms” as a contraceptive device. Yet an 8.2-percent disparity in sexual activity alone cannot account for a five-fold difference in abortion rates between blacks and whites.
Msgr. Charles Pope argues that “the breakdown of the black family” first identified by Daniel Patrick Moynihan has also increased abortion in the African-American community. Although he notes that “the breakdown of the Black Family is complicated,” he points out that “A huge factor is the welfare system, which has and continues to reward single parent scenarios and punishes marriage.” To support his thesis, he cites the “astounding fact” that only 37 percent of black women have ever been married. However, as noted above, rising rates of singlehood are not restricted to the black community.
Importance of Shared Traditional Values
Statistical and sociological questions aside, there is a deeper moral question at play here. Thanks to the sexual revolution, and its ongoing dismantling of traditional family structures, “for the first time in recorded history, a predominantly G-dless society” has been born. Instead of asking what G-d wants from us, we are now asking: what do we want for ourselves,” thereby shifting from a “theocentric, collectivist value” to an “anthropocentric, individual goal.” This narcissism has created a toxic brew of family instability. “With these mores, having children . . . went from expected, to optional, to quaint, to passé.” Without an understanding of the shared human dignity of all races, eugenic impulses can easily make their way into our culture’s policies and practices.
When it comes to abortion, the shared values of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are clear. The foundational principles of the Noahide Code declare that prenatal life cannot be disposed of at will; every unborn child has a soul and is beloved by G-d. There is a clear biblical prohibition against killing a fetus based on the injunction in Genesis 9:6 against shedding the blood of a person. Even apart from biblical revelation, reason leads to the inescapable, absolute truth that it is always wrong to kill intentionally an innocent human being. Clearly, no one is more innocent than an unborn child.
Abortion cannot be allowed on economic, social, or racial grounds—whether to afford a higher standard of living, for the convenience of uncommitted relationships, or because a minority racial group is involved. The opposition of our major religions to the abortion of an unborn life embodies one of the deepest norms of human society: the protection of life.
These universal values—accessible via both reason and revelation—make the protection of all human life paramount, inside the womb or out, regardless of race.
Arthur Goldberg is Co-Director of the American based Jewish Institute for Global Awareness (JIFGA), former Co-Director of JONAH, Inc. JIFGA sponsors www.fundingmorality.com, a crowd-funding site for those committed to Biblical values. This article was first published February 12, 2019, on Public Discourse.