MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 24th of January, 2019. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. The Supreme Court decision that led to the deaths of millions came down 46 years ago this week.
In Roe v Wade, seven justices found a never-before recognized right: the right to an abortion, tucked inside the right to privacy, nestled inside the Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment of the Constitution. The contours of that right changed somewhat through the years, but later cases affirmed the right to end the life of the unborn child.
REICHARD: Jamie Dean is National Editor for WORLD Magazine. She wrote about how abortion is affecting minorities. She’s here to talk about it now.
Jamie, before we get started, I understand Planned Parenthood just released its annual report. What did we learn from the latest numbers?
JAMIE DEAN, NATIONAL EDITOR: We learned that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates remain the nation’s largest abortion center. They performed 11,000 more abortions in the last year than the year before, bringing the total to 332,757 abortions of unborn children.
One of the things I noticed was the line item for what they call emergency contraception, which would be the pills known as Plan B or Ella. We know that one of the things these drugs can do is prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus and so end a pregnancy. Planned Parenthood offered these drugs more than 630,000 times in the last year, so that gives us some additional perspective on the numbers.
When it comes to the other work Planned Parenthood does, they report on things like breast cancer screenings and STD testing, but I also noticed they reported they offer hormones to transgender people in 21 states. So they are expanding their footprint in that business as well.
And then, I’d just point out that Planned Parenthood’s largest source of revenue remains government funds. They list the amount of government reimbursement and grants as $563 million – that’s actually an increase of about $20 million over the previous year.
So, of course, that remains a source of great consternation for a lot of pro-life folks.
REICHARD: In a recent issue of WORLD Magazine you wrote about abortion in one particular segment of the American population – you focused on abortion in minority communities. Why focus there?
DEAN: Well, I’d start by saying it’s not because abortion is an exclusively minority problem. According to a Pew Research survey, African-American and white adults are about even in their support for abortion to remain legal in all or most cases — about 60 percent. Hispanics are at nearly 50 percent.
So support for abortion remains high across the spectrum, but I focused on minority communities because the rate of abortion among African-Americans in particular remains tragically high: The CDC reported black women had an abortion rate of just over 25 abortions per 1,000 women. For perspective, the rate among white women was nearly 7 per 1,000.
So it’s a high rate, and it’s alarming when you look at how abortion groups handle that number. Planned Parenthood tweeted: “If you’re a black woman in America it’s statistically safer to have an abortion than to carry a pregnancy to term or give birth.” And it’s true that maternal mortality rates are much higher in African-American communities, and we should work on that, but it’s pretty insidious to imply that abortion is a safe alternative for vulnerable women.
REICHARD: Why is the abortion rate so high in these communities?
DEAN: Well, of course that’s a complicated question, and every woman has her own story about why she went down this path.
But I spoke about this with Roland Warren, who is an African-American and the president of Care Net – which is a network of pregnancy resource centers around the country. And he pointed to the high rate of unmarried mothers in African-American communities, and he said without a support system, and if you’re already living in difficult circumstances, many mothers are going to go down this road.
So he said I never talk about the sanctity of human life without talking about the sanctity of marriage. And he said both of those things need to be a focus of pro-life efforts.
One of the ways Care Net is doing is working with local churches to help them learn how to disciple mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy, and then encouraging pregnancy resource centers to actively recruit those kinds of mentors from the church. He said Christians have been thinking about abortion as a material issue or a political issue, but it’s really a discipleship issue.
And I think it’s important to say that abortion groups have been very effective in pushing abortion as an easy and quick fix to a problem. I spoke with one African-American mother who had four abortions in the past, and she said at one point she went to a Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test, and they gave her the positive test result—and a list of places to get an abortion.
That sort of says it all to a mom who doesn’t know what to do.
REICHARD: What else did you learn from talking to pro-life supporters working in this area?
DEAN: One of the people I spoke with was Christina Bennett, who has been involved in pro-life efforts for many years. She’s also a black woman who learned in college that her own mother nearly aborted her. So that was a real impetus for her to get involved in pro-life work.
One of the things that she said that I found such a helpful reminder is that pro-life supporters who want to engage on the issue of minority abortions should really be engaging with minority communities as well.
She said we shouldn’t think of this as another cause, sort of like Save the Pandas. No, we’re talking about real people with real dignity and real needs that need to be dealt with in a straightforward, but compassionate way.
And so she gave the example – if you’re in a pro-life group on a college campus, where most or all of your group’s members are white, and you decide to give out fliers about the tragedy of black abortions – she said just consider how that might come across if you don’t have any black members or any black friends.
She said, first get to know people in that community on your campus. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Then you’ll be in a better position not just to talk at a community but with a community. And I think that’s really good advice.
REICHARD: Literally life and death matters. Jamie Dean is national editor for WORLD Magazine. Jamie, appreciate this report. Thank you.
DEAN: You’re welcome, Mary.