Wakeman’s Take: Abortion Race Billboards and Planned Parenthood

By Jessica Wakeman/ The Frisky on Monday, Feb. 28th

Last week, the House of Representatives voted to withdraw all funding from Title X, the Family Planning program that is part of the Public Health Service Act. This included withdrawing federal funding from Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides reproductive health care, and sex education women around the world. Most controversially, they perform abortions.

The federal budget cuts put Planned Parenthood in the spotlight, and since then, criticisms of the organization have been swirling. One attack circulating in the blogosphere, is that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was connected to the Eugenics movement and performing abortions was her way of stopping the “unfit” from reproducing. According to Politics Daily, in 1939 she collaborated on a paper called “Birth Control and the Negro,” that explained her plan for curtailing African American reproduction. In addition, conservatives have claimed that Planned Parenthood’s abortion services target mothers of color and minority babies don’t have a chance anymore.

Jessica Wakeman wrote about these issues in The Frisky.  Check out an excerpt below, and the full article here.

To be sure, the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, has been tied to the 1900’s eugenics movement, which you can read about generally on this blog, Feminists For Choice. The Sanger/eugenics connection — which, to be honest, I know a bit about but am not well-educated on — is often touted by anti-abortion extremists and anti-birth control extremists. So, yes, there is some ugly history there. But personally, I’m of the opinion that you can still be my friend even if your great-grandpa was a Nazi.

2011 is a different century and a different society. So let’s review the facts of 2011, shall we? The assertion on the website for That’s Abortion — the group responsible for the NYC billboard — that “Planned Parenthood targets minority neighborhoods,” is simply not true. The Guttmacher Institute, an organization that collects statistics on reproductive health information, released a study (PDF) with findings that broke down the facts (as reported by Amanda Hess, blogger at TBD.com) about racial demographics where abortion clinics are located once and for all:

  • 63 percent of abortion providers are in predominantly non-Hispanic white neighborhoods
  • 12 percent are in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods
  • Nine percent of abortion providers are in predominantly black neighborhoods
  • One percent of abortion providers are in other predominantly non-white neighborhoods
  • 15 percent of abortion providers are in neighborhoods where no racial group is the majority population

So there you have it, billboard people. If legal abortion is a black genocide and abortion clinics are targeting blacks, why are almost two-thirds of clinics located in predominantly white neighborhoods? Maybe, just maybe, that argument is exploiting blacks’ well-deserved sensitivity to racism in American culture. Just maybe!

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