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Anti-Abortion Ads Play On Racial Fears

timthumbphp“Black children are an endangered species,” read the billboards along Georgia’s highways this month. The signs were paid for by Georgia’s largest anti-abortion organization, Georgia Right to Life. The group’s primarily white staff bought the ads as part of a campaign to woo more black women to their cause.

Georgia’s Right to Life is picking up on a larger effort by anti-choice groups around the country to frame abortion as a racist practice and organizations like Planned Parenthood as part of a vast conspiracy to prevent the births of black children.

It’s not all smoke and mirrors. Almost 40 percent of the country’s abortions are performed for black women, even though blacks make up only 13 percent of the population. While overall about 25 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, for black women that figure is about 40 percent.

Women’s health advocates say this disparity simply reflects the poverty many black women live in. They routinely lack education about sexual health, access to birth control and are exposed to high rates of sexual and domestic violence. These conditions create a lot of unwanted pregnancies. Solve the poverty issue, they say, and black women would have no more abortions than any other demographic.

Abortion foes point to Margaret Sanger’s unfortunate alliance with the eugenics movement, and prefer to gloss over her work with black leaders like W.E.B. DuBois and Dr. King. More recent incidents like a series of audio recordings of Planned Parenthood employees accepting donations “earmarked” to abort black pregnancies have thrown new fuel on these old fires. Right to life groups are capitalizing on this with big money campaigns to attract young black women to their cause.

What do you think? Is this just appalling or do they have a point? To me it smacks of sneaky politics, no matter which side of the abortion debate you’re on.

Photo: Georgia Right to Life

More by Sierra Black:

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Children of Neo-Nazis Given Into State Custody

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