Discovering Abortion’s Impact on the Black Community Moved Me From Apathy to Action

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Headshot of Christina Bennett
Christina Bennett
What Christina Bennett learned about abortion – especially in the African American community – burdened her so greatly that she's dedicated her life to fighting against it.

I grew up in the predominantly liberal, predominantly “pro-choice” state of Connecticut. In my state, teenagers are required by law to get their parent’s permission if they want a tattoo, a piercing or a professional tan, yet when it comes to getting a surgical or medical abortion, their parents don’t even have to know about their decision.

I attended a few different churches growing up, but I don’t recall ever hearing a message on abortion. I went to public schools from kindergarten through college, yet never heard abortion discussed by my teachers as anything more than a woman’s right or basic health care. When a friend got an abortion in high school, I was only worried because her parents found out. My ignorance about abortion made me apathetic.

It wasn’t until I was in college that my mother told me a story that would change my life. In 1981, in Hartford, Connecticut, my mother had an appointment to abort me. She met with a “counselor” who didn’t give her any actual counsel, only telling her, “This seems like the best decision for you to make.” The abortion was paid for, and she was already wearing the medical gown.

She said yes

But in that 11th hour, God heard her silent cry, and He sent a janitor, an elderly African American woman, to approach my mother, to look her in the eye as she was crying in the hallway, and to say, “Do you want to have this baby?”

And my mother said yes. She said yes.

The janitor told her, “God will give you the strength to have your baby.”

When my mother went to the waiting room to retrieve her things, the doctor called her name. And when she went back to the procedure room, there was blood on the floor from the last abortion.

“I’m leaving,” my mother told him. “I’m keeping my child.” And he said, “No. You’ve already paid for this.” He told her she was just nervous and yelled at her: “Don’t leave this room!”

Alternatives to Abortion: Pregnancy Resource Centers

Thankfully she did not listen to him. She walked out. I owe my life to my mother’s courage in that moment.

What I’ve learned

That shocking revelation set me on a journey to discover the truth I’d never been taught. What I learned about abortion burdened me so greatly that I’ve dedicated my life to fighting against it.

There’s a popular saying among some Christians that the Devil’s greatest trick is convincing the world that he doesn’t exist. We know that evil exists in our world, but actually considering its depths makes us fearful and uncomfortable. We’re left with the choice to passively ignore evil or actively confront it.

I eventually learned about the dark history of the pro-abortion movement.

Even after becoming pro-life in college I was unaware of how much devastation abortion has brought to the black community. I have a passion for black history and have a collection of books about the lives of abolitionists, civil rights and community leaders. So when I realized that early American supporters of birth control and abortion pushed it as a means to reduce the African American population, I was livid. Some of the things I learned that stirred my heart to action were …

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, had a “Negro Project” specifically targeting the black community

In a 1939 letter to Dr. C.J. Gamble, a member of the Birth Control Federation of America, Margaret Sanger laid out her plans to hire black ministers to push birth control: “The ministers work is also important and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We don’t want the 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.”

Sanger knew that most Americans weren’t ready to accept abortion, so she proposed that laws against birth control be abolished first. Although this quote has been explained away by Sanger apologists, it’s just one piece of her writings that fit in a puzzle, exposing her racist views.

Leaders in the African American community, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, once publicly opposed abortion

The Rev. Jesse Jackson told Jet magazine in their March 22, 1973 edition: “Abortion is genocide. Anything growing is living. … If you got the thrill to set the baby in motion and you don’t have the will to protect it, you’re dishonest. … You try to avoid reproducing sickness. You try to avoid reproducing deformities. But you don’t try to stop reproducing and procreating human life at its best. For who knows the cure for cancer won’t come out of some mind of some black child?”

Jackson made many other stirring pro-life statements, but later changed his opinion when he ran for president as a Democrat and adopted the party’s stand on abortion.

The vast majority of abortion clinics are located in Black/Hispanic neighborhoods

Protecting Black Life, an outreach of Life Issues Institute, released data that reported: “79% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are strategically located within walking distance of African and/or Hispanic communities.” It’s a leading factor as to why black women are five times more likely to have an abortion than white women. Abortion clinics are strategically placed in their neighborhoods to provide these services.

The Black abortion rate is the highest in the country

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own research highlights the disproportionate rate of abortions. The CDC’s 2011 Abortion Surveillance report shows that black women make up 14% of the childbearing population, yet obtained 36.2 % of reported abortions. The same report reveals that black women have the highest abortion ratio in the country, with 474 abortions per 1,000 live births. According to the Center for Urban Renewal and Education’s 2015 policy report, “Percentages at these levels illustrate that more than 19 million black babies have been aborted since 1973.”

The movement of our day

As an African American woman, I enjoy many rights today because those who came before me earnestly fought for them. The right to vote, to attend a school of my choosing or even sit in certain restaurants is available to me because others sacrificed greatly. Yet I wouldn’t enjoy any of those rights if I never made it out of the womb.

Without the right to life, we have no other rights. As a member of the black community, I know we’ve come too far to allow our race to be decreased because of abortion.

Planned Parenthood presents abortion as a cure for women facing an unplanned pregnancy, yet issues like poverty, lack of support and other challenging circumstances should never equal a death sentence for a child. As pro-lifers we must work together to make this nation a safer place for women and their families.

The fight to protect preborn life is actually an extension of the civil rights movement. It is indeed the human rights movement of our day.

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