Don't believe it? Well, you don't have to, but you would be a fool not to because the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided the tragic statistics. According to the CDC, since 1973, the year of the Supreme Court Decision Roe vs. Wade, 13 million (13,000,000) African American lives have been lost to abortion. The CDC reports that of the approximately 4000 abortions that are performed daily in the United States, 1452 of them are performed on African American women and their pre-born children. This means that although African Americans represent only 12% of the population of the United States, they account for 35% of the abortions performed in this country.
What is so amazingly alarming about these statistics is not only the staggering number of African American deaths that are legally sanctioned, but the relative apathy of the overall African American population to this slaughter-when is the last time you were at a Pro-Life Rally-and, even worse, the active promotion and support of legalized abortion and the extension of so-called reproductive or abortion "rights" by the overwhelming majority of African American politicians and civil rights leaders.
Currently in Congress every member of the Congressional Black Caucus identifies him or herself as pro-choice. Because of the peculiar mix of race and politics in America in general, and especially in Washington, DC, on the political level Respect for Life concerns and legislation have by and large been cast as a one party issue. The result is that today there are no African American voices raised in defense of the unborn in our nation's federal legislative branch.
The same folks who profess to fight for the interests of African Americans in health care, educational and employment opportunities, voter representation, affirmative action and all those other areas of civic life for which early civil rights pioneers fought so hard, have abandoned the cause of justice in reference to respect for the lives of innocent and defenseless pre-born African-Americans. They have sided with those who use the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade to deny a whole class of persons the right to exist.
The irony here is especially tragic since the Constitution of the United States sanctioned slavery and the "3/5ths clause" which relegated Africans in America to the status of chattel slavery. It was the Supreme Court that continued to support this same Constitutional "de-personalization" and the consequent second class status of people of African descent through two infamous decisions, namely Dred Scott, which upheld the fugitive slave law, and Plessy vs. Ferguson, which affirmed the Jim Crow system of segregation in the south. The famed decision mandating the dismantling of segregation "with all deliberate speed" in Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, KS (the case argued by the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall) was a significant reversal of the Court's hitherto support of less than equal protection under the law for persons of African descent in America.
This abandonment by major Black leaders of the newest unprotected class, the pre-born, was made painfully clear in January of this year when Reverend Al Sharpton, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States, addressed the NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice America Dinner in Washington, DC. After proudly announcing that he had just crossed the picket line of pro-life protesters using his now famous line "it is time for the Christian Right to meet the right Christians," Sharpton went on to defend his vociferous support of legalized abortion. He said:
I trust the decisions of women because it is a human right that Roe vs. Wade decided on. This is not about abortion, this is about human rights, this is about human dignity, this is about women having their say-so over their own body and over how they will decide to proceed with their life, and if America is to be America, we must protect women's right to choose for themselves.
It is hard to follow the logic of the above statement, after all, this debate, this crisis, is about abortion and the human dignity of a pre-born life, it is about the body of a woman and also about the body of her child that will be dismembered and thrown away as if it were trash without even the benefit a decent burial. What one does learn from Sharpton's further remarks is that, for him, the legal sanction to destroy a pre-born baby is a civil "right" just as the other rights Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others fought for. He illustrates this by linking the fight to establish Dr. King's birthday as a national holiday with the fight to preserve legalized abortion on demand today. This is how Sharpton phrased it:
But let's not forget, we didn't get Dr. King's birthday because someone donated it, we had to march, we had to petition, we had to fight, we had to lobby to get that birthday, and in the end it was a great victory because even in the deep South, where he was castigated, where he was denounced, yesterday federal buildings were closed in honor of his day. We must have the same determination to keep fighting. Remember how we got Roe vs. Wade in the first place. Some of us may have to roll up our sleeves, but it does not matter, we cannot let them roll back the clock.
Note in particular the use of the words we, us, and them. Who is being designated by these terms? Is the pro-abortion "community," or is the African-American community being designated by the terms we or us? Has he linked the two groups inseparably? Are those who support the unborn person's right to live being designated by the term them? If the defenders of unborn lives are them, then Sharpton's is a particularly perverted understanding of civil rights. However, this speech is a classic example of the rhetoric employed by many national African-American political and social leaders in support of a practice that is the cause of the greatest number of African-American deaths in this country.
II. Have We Lost Our Traditional Respect For Life?
How can it be that the African-American community, so long noted for its traditional love and respect for human life, in spite of great hardship, injustice and struggle, has now become so receptive to the wanton destruction of human life through abortion? I do not intend to exhaustively answer this question, but I would like to point out a few influential factors.
A major cause is the reality that African-Americans, like all other Americans, have been subjected to and influenced by the shrill and deceptive campaign of abortion advocates for over thirty years. By now most are familiar with phrases such as "a woman's right to choose" or "a mass of cells" or "termination of a fetus." We have become so familiar with these terms that we really don't examine what they mean anymore. Should we re-examine them, we might find that they say, or more accurately don't say, everything they represent.
For starters, why does the phrase pro-choice immediately call to mind the issue of abortion? Almost every time we read an article or hear a report about an abortion related issue we hear the phrase pro-choice. Is there any inherent and exclusive connection between the terms choice and abortion? We have been conditioned to think and to speak in this manner. The truth is that "choice" equally applies to all issues. The question about being for or against choice can be applied to various issues. For instance, is it morally permissible to be pro-choice on slavery? What about segregation? Can I be pro-choice on wife-beating, or rape?
If being pro-choice is good enough for abortion, why not for these and other controversial issues? Is abortion-the destruction of a pre-natal human life-less significant, less serious, less offensive than these other issues which presuppose a living person and a violation of that person's dignity?
What about the choice itself? What is being chosen? In the other areas mentioned above simply being pro-choice is not good enough. One must take a stance. There is something wrong with being pro-slavery. There is something wrong with being pro-segregation, pro-wife-beating, and pro-rape. Isn't there something wrong with being pro-abortion?
There, I said it, pro-abortion! Do you notice that we don't hear that phrase too often, although we get its contrary-"anti-abortion foe"-all the time? But that is exactly what the "pro-choice" crowd is for. Even those who are "personally opposed" to it! Recall all those people in the years leading up to the Civil War who were personally opposed to slavery-didn't even own any-but unwilling to impose their moral and religious convictions on those in states where slavery was legal. They were pro-choice on slavery, invoking "states' rights" to justify their non-participation in the struggle to abolish slavery as the slave states invoked the same to justify their commitment to the institution of slavery.
So we need to know what the choice is about if we are going to be honest about determining the moral quality of the choice. Usually that information is withheld from the public and especially from the mother who is contemplating an abortion. It is typically withheld from her parents, boyfriend, and friends who are encouraging, if not coercing her to "get rid of" her baby. Here are a few descriptions of procedures used corresponding to the three trimesters during which an abortion is legal. Yes, in the United States a baby can be aborted up to the moment of birth!
Suction aspiration: First trimester.
A suction tube is inserted into the mother's womb. The suction and cutting edge dismember the baby while the hose sucks the body parts into a collection bottle.
Dilation and evacuation (D&E): Second trimester (24+ weeks).
A forceps is used to grab parts of the baby and then tears the baby apart. The baby's head must be crushed in order to remove it because the skull bone has already hardened.
Dilation and extraction (also known as D&X or partial-birth abortion): Used well into the third trimester (as late as 32 weeks old).
The abortionist reaches into the mother's womb, grabs the baby's feet with a forceps and pulls the baby out of the mother, except for the head. The abortionist then jams a pair of scissors into the back of the baby's head and spreads the scissors apart to make a hole in the baby's skull. The abortionist removes the scissors and sticks a suction tube into the skull to suck the baby's brain out. The baby's head is crushed and the abortionist pulls the baby's body out the rest of the way.
These are some of the "choices" made by or supported by those who are "pro-choice." These are the deadly choices made by the doctors and other practitioners in the abortion industry who make a living off the babies they kill.
A Child, Not a Choice
But is it a baby that is being killed or just a "bunch of cells?" In one sense the answer depends on whom you ask. Ask any "expectant" mother and she will tell you about the baby in her womb, not the fetus, zygote, or mass of cells. As soon as she finds out that she is pregnant, her thoughts go to the new life living within her and all the plans, hopes and aspirations that accompany that experience. Does a change in the circumstances of pregnancy, namely unwanted, unplanned, or inconvenient pregnancy, change the nature of the life within the mother's womb?
We hear much of "viability," i.e. the baby's ability to survive outside the mother's womb. It is true that for most of the pregnancy a baby is not viable outside the mother's womb, but neither is a child already born that viable without the constant input of human care. Viability does not constitute a change is the essential nature of the pre-born child. Each of us who engages this discussion today, regardless of the side we are on, was once non-viable in many ways. At no point during the biological process that began when that particular sperm donated by our biological fathers fertilized that particular egg donated by our biological mothers was there ever a possibility that we who are the results of that process should turn out to be dogs, rabbits, or anything other than human beings.
Today's medical and scientific knowledge clearly affirms the integral human characteristics of the pre-born much earlier in the pre-natal process than ever thought before. Even in the earliest stages, and keep in mind that most women are not even aware of being pregnant until several weeks after conception when much development has already taken place, but even in the earliest stages a biological process has begun that terminates in humanity. If every person were to trace her origin as a human being back to its roots, that journey would lead her to her mother's womb. I was I on the day I was conceived and I am still I today!
III. Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood, and You?
Planned Parenthood. Sadly just about every teenager, and these days even pre-teens, knows all about this organization. That's where you can get condoms and birth control pills-if they don't already distribute these at your local public school. That's also where a girl can go to get an abortion. In some states, this can be done by teens without parental notification. This was the case in September of this year when a teenage girl died after taking the RU-486 abortion pill she received from a Brazos Valley Planned Parenthood clinic. Planned Parenthood espouses a philosophy that encourages young people to have so-called "safe-sex."
The only "irresponsible" behavior from their point of view is un-contracepted sex. Planned Parenthood is where parents (and, in their place-sometimes without their knowledge-school officials) who have failed to teach their children the virtue of chastity take the same children to stock them up with the means necessary to be sexually active with the least amount of immediately detectable consequences. This alone is enough to make one eschew this organization, but that is not all that can be said about this group.
Planned Parenthood not only provides contraceptives such as Norplant and Depo-Provera-by the way, many of these "contraceptives" are abortifacients in their secondary function. If they fail to prevent the fertilization of the egg by the sperm, they then function in such a way as to prevent the conceptum (the earliest stage of human life) from attaching to the uterine wall, hence causing its demise-Planned Parenthood is also the largest single abortion provider. Quite disturbing is the fact that the overwhelming number of its clinics are located in predominantly minority neighborhoods. This is disturbing, but it is not surprising when one examines the life of the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger. Despite being once headed by an African American, woman, Faye Wattleton, the origins and foundational philosophy of Planned Parenthood are steeped in the worse kind of racism.
Margaret Sanger associated with and was sympathetic to a number of open racists and eugenicists. But you don't have to take my word for it, here is how openly "pro-choice" African-American commentator Julianne Malveaux describes Sanger in an article written for www.womensenews.org on July 18, 2001:
For all her positive influence, I see Sanger as a tarnished heroine whose embrace of the eugenics movement showed racial insensitivity, at best. From her associates, as well as from some of the articles that were published in Sanger's magazine, The Birth Control Review, it is possible to conclude that "racially insensitive" is too mild a description. Indeed, some of her statements, taken in or out of context, are simply racist. And she never rebuked eugenicists who believed in improving the hereditary qualities of a race or breed by controlling mating in order to eliminate "undesirable" characteristics and promote "desirable" traits (emphasis added).
It is simply amazing that the commitment to abortion on demand has led those who are typically the most vocal denouncers of historical racism to give a "pass" to Sanger and the organization that perpetuates her legacy. What a contrast to recent successful public outcry about comments made by former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott who seemed to endorse the segregationist positions once openly espoused by the late Senator Strom Thurmond. Lott had to go despite a public apology, but Sanger remains, for Malveaux and others sharing her position, a heroine!
Especially offensive is the fact that many African-Americans support Sanger and Planned Parenthood even though she was the inspiration behind the so-called "Negro Project." African American columnist Deborah Simmons commented on a paper written by Tanya Green, "The Negro Project: Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Plan for Black Americans" in The Washington Times on February 8, 2002. She wrote:
Sanger and a precursor to Planned Parenthood, the Birth Control Federation of America, decided to turn their attention to black folk. They devised a plan for an "experimental" clinic that Sanger said would "reduce the birth rate among ... elements unable to provide for themselves, and the burden of which we are all forced to carry," writes Tanya L. Green, author of "The Negro Project: Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Plan for Black Americans."
Sanger convinced black ministers, doctors and teachers - including NAACP co-founder W.E.B. DuBois - and others who straddled the upper echelons of black America, that so-called family planning programs (including abortion, hush-hush) were a good thing. Blessedly, not all were so easy convinced. After holding a mass meeting on Sanger's behalf at the hugely popular and powerful Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, many blacks sensed the undercurrent of eugenics. In fact, the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr., whose son succeeded him in Abyssinian's pulpit and later became a congressman, was an adviser to Sanger and her band of population-controllers, and took considerable criticism for his role for allowing "that awful woman in his church," Ms. Green writes. "Eventually, the Urban League took control of the clinic, an indication that the black community had become ensnared in Sanger's labyrinth." (You can read more about this at www.cwfa.org.)
One cannot avoid a certain sadness when examining the way in which some elitist members of the African American community, then and now, forged alliances for the sake of short term and short-sighted gain with individuals and organizations that have wreaked havoc on the African American Community.
The alliance is even more powerful today, and more open. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (www.rcrc.org) is a coalition of predominantly African American "Christian" organizations and churches that are dedicated among other things to "protecting a woman's right to choose." Sexual and reproductive freedom are presented under the guise of novel interpretations of Scripture which ultimately negate the teaching of Scripture as it is faithfully passed on through teaching of the Catholic Church and other tradition-minded Christian bodies concerning the sanctity of human life and the sacredness of sex within the context of heterosexual, monogamous, lifelong and fruitful marriage.
This predominantly "Christian" organization has as affiliates groups such as Clergy for Choice. They specifically target African American Youth at their annual Black Church Initiative Conference held every summer at the Howard University Divinity School where they provide information about and access to contraceptives and abortion services, with the "blessing" of participating pastors. The spirit of Margaret Sanger and the work of her brainchild, Planned Parenthood, continue to destroy the physical and moral fabric of the most vulnerable members of the African American Community, sadly with the assistance of some of our very talented minds.
IV. Two Difficult Circumstances
Some may be saying, "All this is true, but in the real world things are far more complicated. You don't know what it is like to be in difficult straits and having the fears and burdens of a pregnancy. And you have not addressed the case of a woman impregnated through rape or a woman whose life is threatened by her pregnancy." I agree that there is a difference between theoretical discussions of issues such as abortion and real life crises. However, that doesn't mean that there is no relationship between the two. In fact, it is the application of the theoretical truths to the real life crisis that will ultimately bring about the best result.
These two situations are often mentioned as possible exceptions when legalized abortion should be allowed. The context is obvious. A rape is a horrible thing. The thought of a woman being violated in that manner is sickening to any sane human being, so it seems to follow that a pregnancy caused by a rape would be a further complication of an already horrific situation. All of this is true, but does it follow that the right and the best solution is the killing of the baby conceived through this horrible act?
Let us identify what is offensive about rape. It is a violation of a woman's body. It is a violation of her will. It is a violation of her dignity. It leaves her wounded physically emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Because she is a human being, she has a right to be respected and protected from such intrusive behavior on the part of another. But if you look closely at these reasons, don't most of them apply to the child as well. And this application does not diminish the effect this has on the woman. True the conceived child is not capable at this point of experiencing the emotional, psychological and spiritual damage as the woman does, but the violation to the child's physical integrity which is the source of all that will one day enable him or her to experience the other dimensions of human life is just as radical.
Also, invoking the principle "two wrongs don't make a right," the killing of the child will not only not take away the pain, hurt and trauma of the rape, it will also expose the woman to all of the ongoing grief of what is called "post-abortion trauma syndrome." Professionals who work in post-abortion counseling have chronicled the ongoing struggles of women who have aborted babies and in some cases years later still have recurring crises connected to the guilt and pain they experience as a result of the abortion. In addition to post-rape trauma, post-abortion trauma will be added to the woman's burden
Another question must be raised here, namely, should the child be required to pay with its life for a crime committed by another? None of us has anything to do with determining the circumstances of our conception. Is my life more valuable than the life of another person simply because we were conceived under different circumstances? Is my potential any greater? Have not the children of privilege often squandered their advantages and the children of want excelled in the face of overwhelming adversity?
Is not adoption the far better option? Is the carrying to term of a child more horrific than being sexually violated? In no way do I suggest that this would be an easy task. But the reality in a situation like this is that the greater trauma has already taken place. The one good that could come out of this type of tragedy is that a new life made in God's image and likeness could be allowed the opportunity to thrive.
In reference to the life of the mother being jeopardized, we know that more and more today we find mothers harming or even killing their children who are already born. Thankfully we have not yet become desensitized to this. We are still shocked by it. Often, the reasons given relate to the mother's health-usually her mental health. Yet we do not see this as being a justifying cause for murder. Somehow the image of a mother risking her own life to save her endangered children is more impressed on our psyches than any other image as being the norm.
Parenthetically, it is worth mentioning that when "health or life of the mother" exception clauses are inserted into legislation regulating abortions, very subjective criteria such as mental anguish can be invoked to justify an abortion. This, in effect, nullifies the legal protection ostensibly granted to the pre-born child since mental anguish is such a broadly applicable category.
Perhaps it is because the overwhelming experience that humans have had of motherhood is the experience of the bond of love being so strong between a mother and her child that she is willing to sacrifice herself for her child. From that perspective alone one can begin to see why, in the case of the pre-born one might expect the law to at least to be neutral with respect to both lives. Nonetheless, given the utter dependence of every pre-natal human person on its mother, and the inability of the pre-natal human to speak for or to defend him or herself, again the fundamental dignity which belongs to all by virtue of being human demands that everything be done to preserve both lives and that at the very least, nothing direct be done to end the life of the child.
In attempting to justify the invitation extended to Sharpton, the pastor of St. Sabina's was quoted by the Chicago Sun Times as saying, "He (Sharpton) is going to talk about civil rights and black history..." The problem, however, is that we know from Sharpton's NARAL speech given the previous month, that for him access to abortion is a civil "right." Disappointingly, no African American Catholic voices were publicly raised in protest of this debacle. This flaunting of the Church's clearly stated teachings concerning respect for life can only serve to deceive and mislead Catholic people even further than many already are.
Thanks be to God there is also good news to report! One example is the foundation and the activity of the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life, (www.blackcatholicsforlife.org). Inaugurated by Fr. James Goode, OFM, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, and the Franciscan Solid Ground Ministry, with the support of the late John Cardinal O'Connor of New York and the Office of Black Ministry of the New York Archdiocese, NBCAL is busy about the work of getting the word out that African Americans and African American Catholics stand united for life. Affiliates are being added regularly and the word is slowly getting out. In its Fall 2003 newsletter, NBCAL boldly proclaims, "Black Catholics in America are Not Silent on the Issue of Abortion." What a powerful statement! Presently it is more a hope and an aspiration, a goal and a prayer than it is a reality in every African American Catholic parish, institution, foundation or organization. But the wheels are already in motion and for that we give thanks!
VI. Quo Vadimus?
Where do we go from here? We go forward. We pick up our instruments and we march in faith to the victory that is promised those who hunger and thirst for justice and righteousness. Back in 1977 Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote an essay for Right to Life News. This is what he had to say back then:
The question of "life" is The Question of the 20th century. Race and poverty are dimensions of the life question, but discussions about abortion have brought the issue into focus in a much sharper way. How we will respect and understand the nature of life itself is the over-riding moral issue, not of the Black race, but of the human race.
The question of abortion confronts me in several different ways. First, although I do not profess to be a biologist, I have studied biology and know something about life from the point of view of the natural sciences. Second, I am a minister of the Gospel and therefore, feel that abortion has a religious and moral dimension that I must consider
Third, I was born out of wedlock (and against the advice that my mother received from her doctor) and therefore abortion is a personal issue for me. From my perspective, human life is the highest good, the summum bonum. Human life itself is the highest human good and God is the supreme good because He is the giver of life. That is my philosophy. Everything I do proceeds from that religious and philosophical premise.
Another area that concerns me greatly, namely because I know how it has been used with regard to race, is the psycholinguistics involved in this whole issue of abortion. If something can be dehumanized through the rhetoric used to describe it, then the major battle has been won. So when American soldiers can drop bombs on Vietnam and melt the faces and hands of children into a hunk of rolling protoplasm and in their minds say they have not maimed or killed a fellow human being, something terribly wrong and sick has gone on in that mind. That is why the Constitution called us three-fifths human and then whites further dehumanized us by calling us "niggers." It was part of the dehumanizing process. The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in order to justify that which they wanted to do and not even feel like they had done anything wrong. Those advocates of taking life prior to birth do not call it killing or murder; they call it abortion. They further never talk about aborting a baby because that would imply something human. Rather they talk about aborting the fetus. Fetus sounds less than human and therefore can be justified.
Back then, Rev. Jackson understood the issue and he knew what had to be done. By 1988, when running for Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States, Jesse had changed his tune. His new position, "Women must have freedom of choice over what to do over their bodies…it is not right to impose private, religious and moral positions on public policy."
Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other African American leaders have dropped the ball and we all suffer as a result. I repeat, we all suffer! I have not by any means exhaustively treated this issue. I have not spoken about the role of fathers and the impact the abortion epidemic has had on them. I have not spoken about the specific ways in which Catholic and other communities can come together to build a life-affirming environment that reaches out to women who are pregnant in difficult circumstances.
have not spoken about the resources already available such as Project Gabriel which gives real and meaningful assistance to pregnant women, and Project Rachel which offers essential counseling services to post-abortive women. I have not spoken about the particular need to have active and committed Black Catholic participation in the work of L.E.A.R.N. (Life Education And Resource Network), the most effective and faithful African-American Respect for Life network, (www.blackgenocide.org).
All these elements and more form the content of the conversation we must begin and continue to have at every level. The ball has been dropped, but we must pick up that ball so that all God's children might have life and have it more abundantly!
If anyone is interested in or in need of prenatal/postnatal care please visit Project Gabriel's website at: http://www.gabrielproject.com/ for more information.
If anyone is interested in or in need of post-abortive counseling services, please visit Project Rachel's website at: http://www.hopeafterabortion.com/ for more information.
By Rev. John J. Raphael, SSJ
Roman Catholic Chaplain
Howard University, Washington, DC
Submitted From: john anthony
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2011 8:33 AM
Subject: INSTEAD OF THE SLAVE PLANTATION THE PLAN IS TO NOW ATTACK YOU IN THE WOMB....17 MILLION ABORTIONS = MORE THAN SLAVED KILLED! WHICH PARTY SUPPORTS THIS?? HOW COULD YOU SMART GENIUSES BE DECEIVED SO EASILY??