February 12, 2005


Abortion by race: With two in five African-American pregnancies ending in abortion, are black voters beginning to look beyond loyalty to Democrats and vote pro-life? (Anthony Bradley, World)

Clenard Childress Jr., a pastor in Montclair, N.J., and president of the northeast region of the Life Education and Research Network (LEARN), the nation's largest African-American evangelical pro-life group, hopes to reduce that last number. His goal is to "proclaim the message of life and to expose the vices of the abortion industry" to the African-American community.

He has a lot of work to do. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, more than 43 percent of African-American pregnancies end in abortion. Although African-Americans represent only 12 percent of the American population, they account for almost 35 percent of all abortions. In Mississippi, for example, while African-Americans represent only 37 percent of the population, they account for 73 percent of the state's abortions. More than 78 percent of Planned Parenthood's abortion centers are in or near minority communities.

Mr. Childress said many are not aware of the abortion industry's focus on African-Americans that began in 1939 with Margaret Sanger's involvement with the Negro Project. Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, supported the project's mission of promoting sterilization and birth control among African-Americans because she believed that "the procreation of this group should be stopped."

She enlisted African-American leaders to promote her beliefs, urging them to embrace eugenics, the science or pseudo-science that seeks to improve races through the control of hereditary factors by eliminating bad genes from reproductive populations. Sanger wanted to help the African-American community by ridding society of "increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents, and dependents."

Mr. Childress said the African-American church has been mute on the topic of abortion because of "a political tie where the Democratic Party became bigger than our God."

Imagine if that perception of the Democrats goes mainstream in the black community, the way the CIA inventing AIDs and crack has?

Transforming moral problems into politics (STAR PARKER, 11-FEB-05, Scripps Howard News Service)

Listening to the case for transforming Social Security to a regime of personal ownership is simple and compelling. The numbers no longer add up in our current system. Personal accounts would allow ownership and wealth creation. If we had to start from scratch, no one would want the system we now have. If the case is so clear, why isn't it simple to change?

This month is Black History month, so my thoughts float back to another time a few hundred years ago when America was bound in another system that had been around for many years and also needed changing. Slavery.

Historian Joseph Ellis, in his book "Founding Brothers," provides a riveting account of an attempt in the first U.S. Congress to deal politically with the dilemma of slavery. The incident sheds much light on the politics of today.

The story begins early in 1790 with the arrival of petitions, one day after the other, to eliminate the slave trade and to abolish slavery. The first petition was delivered by a Quaker delegation and the second came from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society and was signed by none other than Benjamin Franklin.

Slavery was the "third rail." Politicians had little interest in airing their views on this sensitive subject publicly. But debate was forced by this initiative from early American idealists.

What stuck me in reading Ellis's account is how quickly the moral question deteriorated into a debate characterized by pure political calculation.

Although there was general appreciation of the incongruity of a nation founded on the principles of freedom tolerating slavery, morality and ideals soon were obscured by concerns about perceived social and economic costs of freeing the slaves.

For instance, what would it cost to compensate slave owners for each freed slave? Estimates of $100-$200 per slave produced an overall estimate of $140 million, 20 times the size of the federal budget of that year. The cost seemed prohibitive.

Furthermore, what could be done with the freed slaves? It was unthinkable then that "negroes" be set free to live amongst and intermingle with the white population.

Various emancipation schemes were cast about, such as moving the freed slaves out West or transporting them back to Africa. All the ideas seemed unworkable and unwieldy.

Bottom line: The transition costs of unwinding ourselves out of the bind of the institution of slavery seemed far too high.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 12, 2005 6:03 AM
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