A Black Woman's Voice: Abortion Hurts our Community

End the Ignorance Now!

By Michele Jackson

It is impossible to become energized to fix a problem if you do not know it exists. Many Black Americans do not know that over 1.3 million babies are dying from abortion each year. They do not know that about 34% of those dying are Black babies, meaning some 440,000 Black children die by abortion each year. Many Black Americans perceive abortion as a political fight, something having little to do with their daily lives. They could not be more wrong. We must make our community see abortion as a problem in our homes. Otherwise how can we ask that abortion be put on the agenda of critical problems to fix within the Black community? How can we call it a genocide or a manifestation of white supremacist thinking, as we call drugs in our community, if it is not common knowledge that abortion has killed nearly 12 million Black babies since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision? In other words, those of us who know the truth about the enormous destructiveness of abortion have a special obligation to make abortion not an abstraction but something intensely personal to the less informed.

The problem of drugs in the Black community is personal. Many of us know the men and women dying from and being destroyed by drugs. They are not just statistics to us. They are not somebody else's problem. They are part of our families. They have connections in the community and we have a leadership grappling for ways to solve the drug problem.

The aborted baby dies a violent death before even being allowed to come into the world; typically we do not even know her name. Her mother often suffers the loss of her child in lonely silence. Her family might not even know the woman was pregnant and that a relative had existed and was killed. Our community has never gotten the chance to feel these losses consciously and collectively. Also our media-appointed national leadership has treated the problem of abortion by consistently advocating policies that increase the number of abortions.

However, the women suffering abortion in silence, and their dead children, are a part of our community in staggering numbers. We have the job of rallying the community to stop the killing of our children. We have the job of rallying the community to find better solutions to pregnancy than killing the baby, than pitting mother against child.

But government and health care policies often discourage Black women from choosing life for their babies. Our nation's policies are often based on the premise that Black people's poverty is caused by their reproduction. Blaming the birthrate for poverty ignores the political, social, economic, and individual reasons for people being poor.

The public funding of abortion advocacy groups at a time of drastic cuts in welfare spending is particularly significant. This willingness to facilitate abortion for poor women, who are disproportionately Black, but not to address their basic needs, is strong evidence that much of the government is more interested in population reduction than in improving poor women's welfare. Government funding of organizations such as Planned Parenthood, one of the nation's largest providers of abortion clinics, reinforces the beliefs that the "solution" to Black poverty is to curb Black reproduction, that the fertility of Black women is fearsome, and that Black women do not deserve to be mothers.

American culture, unfortunately, upholds no popular image of a Black mother tenderly nurturing her child. Instead America has been bombarded with the image of the Black matriarch who demoralizes Black men and transmits a pathological lifestyle to her children, perpetuating poverty and antisocial behavior from one generation to the next.

Advocates of abortion told us in the 1970s that legalized abortion would dramatically reduce poverty and extend the rights of women. Twenty-five years later and with 12 million children dead, half of Black America is still poor and Americans devalue motherhood, especially black motherhood. Enough is enough.

Michele Jackson, a black leader in her community, is an at-large board director for the National Right to Life Committee.

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