Mitchell: Are black women being singled out on abortions?

SHARE Mitchell: Are black women being singled out on abortions?

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I abhor the abortion debate.

It just doesn’t seem fair to judge another woman for choosing to terminate a pregnancy.

While there are strong arguments on the left and right of the political spectrum, the decision to get an abortion is an emotional one.

“Abortions will not let you forget. You remember the children you got that you did not get,” the poet Gwendolyn Brooks proclaimed in her haunting poem, “The Mother.”

While abortions have been lawful in this country since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, people who oppose abortions are still protesting.

People who support abortion rights, on the other hand, rarely raise their voices.


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A few years ago, however, abortion-rights activists confronted the shocking “Endangered Species” anti-abortion ad campaign that targeted the African-American community.

In 2011 the Texas-based Life Always anti-abortion group put up billboards in several cities, including Chicago, with text that included: “The most dangerous place for African-Americans is in the womb.”

A lot of black women considered the campaign offensive and an attempt to shame the black community.

But a couple of years later, a real-life horror story unfolded in Philadelphia that gave anti-abortion supporters fresh fodder.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was found guilty of first-degree murder, manslaughter and of 21 counts of abortion of the unborn 24 weeks or older.

At that late date, the procedure is considered illegal in Pennsylvania, unless the health of the mother is at stake.

Gosnell, a black man, was accused of using scissors to cut the babies’ spinal cords.

It was a tragedy that could only happen to poor, minority women in impoverished communities.

Despite having the legal access to abortion, these women obviously did not have the resources to go to a reputable abortion clinic.

Unfortunately, the “shaming” theme popped up again on Sunday when thousands of anti-abortion activists braved the extreme cold to participate in the March for Life Chicago rally downtown.

The Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of the New Beginnings Church in Woodlawn and an early supporter of Gov. Bruce Rauner, called on the activists to take their fight to the black community.

“No longer will we stand on the sideline and let these abortions happen in our community and be silent while babies go unborn,” he said.

According to Brooks, even though the black community makes up 12.6 percent of the population, it participated in 30 percent of the abortions.

“More than 16 million African-American unborn babies have died from legalized abortion,” he said.

But other than insult black women, what could these anti-abortion activists do to stop unwanted pregnancies?

Lack of information is not the problem.

As tragic as abortion is, the neglect and mistreatment that an unwanted child must endure is even worse.

Additionally, if anyone knows the challenges facing the black community it is Brooks.

During the governor’s race, he was strongly critical of how blacks had fared under Democratic leadership.

“We have a large, disproportionate number of people who are impoverished. We have a disproportionate number of people who are incarcerated, we have a disproportionate number of people who are unemployed, the educational system has totally failed,” he told the Daily Beast.

Birthing a child into that kind of an environment is hard enough. Those mothers who do it are braver than we give them credit.

But to shame mothers who make a different choice is cruel.

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