The reliably pro-abortion New York Times is carrying an article today about anti-abortion activists pointing out an inconvenient truth:
Across the country, the anti-abortion movement, long viewed as almost exclusively white and Republican, is turning its attention to African-Americans and encouraging black abortion opponents across the country to become more active.
A new documentary, written and directed by Mark Crutcher, a white abortion opponent in Denton, Tex., meticulously traces what it says are connections among slavery, Nazi-style eugenics, birth control and abortion, and is being regularly screened by black organizations…
Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that black women get almost 40 percent of the country’s abortions, even though blacks make up only 13 percent of the population. Nearly 40 percent of black pregnancies end in induced abortion, a rate far higher than for white or Hispanic women.
One of the things thought not polite to talk about is that is that legal abortion may in fact have done more to reduce the rate of violent crime than all of our gun control laws, expanded police hiring and street corner patrolling could have done. As the authors of Freakonomics point out, unwanted children born into unfortunate circumstances have better than even odds of becoming socially problematic.
Still, as Levitt and Dubner point out in a rather chilling mental exercise that permits an intellectual gray area between “fetus is valueless/fetus is valuable”, this may be poor economy (no pun intended):
There are roughly 1.5 million abortions in the United States every year. For a person who believes that 1 newborn is worth 100 fetuses, those 1.5 million abortions would translate – dividing 1.5 million by 100 – into the equivalent of a loss of 15,000 human lives. Fifteen thousand lives: that happens to be about the same number of people who die in homicides in the United States every year. And it is far more than the number of homicides eliminated each year due to legalized abortion. So even for someone who considers a fetus to be worth only one-hundredth of a human being, the trade-off between higher abortion and lower crime is, by an economist’s reckoning, terribly inefficient.
The reckoning varies, of course, depending upon the fractional value assigned to an unborn human life.
But back to the Times:
Black opponents of abortion are fond of saying that black people were anti-abortion and anti-birth control early on, pointing to Marcus Garvey’s conviction that blacks could overcome white supremacy through reproduction, and black militants who protested family planning clinics.
But that is only half the picture, scholars say. Black women were eager for birth control even before it was popularized by Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and black doctors who provided illegal abortions were lauded as community heroes.
But the main issue is that the Times here is conflating “birth control” with “abortion” so subtly that most of the newspaper’s readers won’t notice. But while abortion is certainly a kind of birth control, it wasn’t what the sainted Sanger had in mind:
(In) her 1938 autobiography, Sanger notes that her 1916 opposition to abortion was based on the taking of life: “To each group we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way—no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun.
At issue here is one of those things that Times readers don’t like to think about in their Manhattan lofts and San Fransisco salons, when they congratulate themselves on their assumed superiority: Pro-abortion activists are mainly members of the white, educated elite, yet the burden (or effect, if you prefer) of their enthusiasms falls disproportionately on the shoulders of a disadvantaged race, one whose interests they pretend to foster.
It’s not quite right, any of it.