House GOP memo: abortion is “leading cause of death” in black community

I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. H/T to Mother Jones for making this type of propaganda known to the public.

A memo on Monday was circulated by Republican members on the House judiciary committee on Monday before Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks’ Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act’s scheduled markup. The memo seems to promote the bill, and uses some interesting statistics to back up its inaccurate claims. As we all known, the bill would outlaw abortions based on race or sex and would also give family members the ability to sue if they can prove an abortion was done on the basis of race or sex.

Part of the memo reads:

Even more invidious, a thorough review of the American family planning movement reveals a history of targeting African-Americans for “population control,” arguably resulting in the current statistic that a black baby is five times as likely to be aborted as a white baby. Abortion is the leading cause of death in the black community. With greater than 450,000 black abortions per year, more blacks Americans are lost to abortion annually than are lost to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, AIDS, and violence combined.

I should note that the memo cites Susan Cohen’s Abortion and Women of Color: A Bigger Picture, published by the Guttmacher  Institute, as one of the sources for its stipulation that black babies are “five times as likely to be abortion as a white baby.” While the report does admit the black abortion rate is five times higher than that of white women, Cohen presents  slew of economic, racial and social disparities that contribute to this statistic. She further notes that activists, “including some African-American pastors, have been waging a campaign around this fact, falsely asserting that the disparity is the result of aggressive marketing by abortion providers to minority communities.”


These activists are exploiting and distorting the facts to serve their antiabortion agenda. They ignore the fundamental reason women have abortions and the underlying problem of racial and ethnic disparities across an array of health indicators. The truth is that behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy. This applies to all women—black, white, Hispanic, Asian and Native American alike. Not surprisingly, the variation in abortion rates across racial and ethnic groups relates directly to the variation in the unintended pregnancy rates across those same groups.

Black women are not alone in having disproportionately high unintended pregnancy and abortion rates. The abortion rate among Hispanic women, for example, although not as high as the rate among black women, is double the rate among whites. Hispanics also have a higher level of unintended pregnancy than white women. Black women’s unintended pregnancy rates are the highest of all. These higher unintended pregnancy rates reflect the particular difficulties that many women in minority communities face in accessing high-quality contraceptive services and in using their chosen method of birth control consistently and effectively over long periods of time. Moreover, these realities must be seen in a larger context in which significant racial and ethnic disparities persist for a wide range of health outcomes, from diabetes to heart disease to breast and cervical cancer to sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV.

Looks like the GOP has been caught red-handed distorting the facts and picking and choosing sentences without providing any context in order to promote their paternalistic, racist, anti-choice agenda.

This type of racist, anti-choice agenda is only going to get more bold and more pronounced as the 2012 election season advances through the spring, summer and fall months. These anti-choice activists will continue to cherry pick sentences from studies, hide behind their token anti-choice people of color and express concern over black babies and black women oblivious to their role as bait for Abortion, Inc. Of course, the bill has its backers, namely Georgia Right To Life, the group behind the controversial campaign ads targeted towards the black community.

I find it ironic that these anti-choice activists, often conservative Republicans in their political leanings, would argue until they are blue in the face to convince their opponents that race, racism and racial disparities in this country are only a figment of oppressed groups’ imaginations. It’s amusing that these anti-choice activists are more than happy to pick and choose when race and racism are applicable when it comes to tackling the major issues of society, which for them would be the moral implications of abortions being safe, legal and rare.

What I also find beyond infuriating is the privilege these mainly white, anti-choice activists are exerting in placing themselves as the champions of racial equality. I can probably wager a pretty hefty chunk of change and say these white anti-choice activists feel it was their burden–their duty–to defend us poor people of color against the evils of Abortion, Inc. and its quest to carry out an 21st century eugenics policy.

As a black woman, not only am I tired of my uterus being used as a political football, I’m also beyond exhausted with  these white, anti-choice activists only expressing concern or interested in my race and color of my skin in their efforts to roll back abortion rights. I am pretty fucking tired of seeing the faces of black babies and black children being plastered on billboards in an effort to convince America that my black female uterus is the most dangerous place for a black child and black women like me are incapable of motherhood. I am tired of these mainly white, anti-choice activist feeling entitled to come to the defense of black children and black babies to save them from Abortion, Inc. when they won’t even acknowledge racial inequality in other aspects of life that do not line up with their anti-choice ideology.

I am tired of politicians like Rep. Franks and anti-choice grassroots activists who feel that my race and my struggles with racial inequality are nonexistent, imaginary or unimportant until they see an opportunity to slowly eat away at a woman’s constitutionally protected right to an abortion.