Antiabortion Groups Targeting Urban Communities To Involve Blacks, Los Angeles Times Reports
The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday examined how antiabortion groups are targeting urban communities that they have "long considered hostile turf" to draw more blacks to support their advocacy. According to CDC statistics, blacks account for 13% of the population in the U.S. and black women account for 37% of women who undergo abortions. According to the Times, many blacks "tend to express deep moral qualms" about the procedure. Still, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and other abortion-rights groups have spent years building relationships with black churches and providing subsidized health services, including Pap tests, to urban communities. Antiabortion groups in the U.S. have "largely ignored" urban communities, creating a "legacy" that "has sown indifference and mistrust," the Times reports. Antiabortion groups in an attempt to recruit more blacks are "[f]raming their cause as the new frontier in civil rights -- an effort to stop 'black genocide.'" The groups' efforts include using respected names in black history to spread awareness of their movement, opening crisis pregnancy centers in urban areas, establishing relationships with black pastors and distributing leaflets to question the motives of abortion-rights groups. "Often, the inner-city, the immigrant and minority populations are invisible when we think of the whole abortion issue," Peggy Hartshorn, president of the antiabortion group Heartbeat International, said, adding, "It's only recently that we've realized we need to be there." Lillie Epps, director of Care Net's Urban Initiative, said, "When you go to African-American communities ... you'll find they don't trust pro-life people." She added, "When they hear 'pro-life,' the first thing they think is 'white Republican.'" Heartbeat International and Care Net both have launched initiatives to increase the number of crisis pregnancy centers, which seek to dissuade women with unplanned pregnancies from having abortions, in inner cities nationwide to help minority women. Care Net has opened 19 urban antiabortion centers, and Epps said she hopes to open centers in Detroit; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; and Orlando, Fla. (Simon, Los Angeles Times, 3/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.