A Scintillating Defense of Pro-Life Billboards in the African-American Community

By Dave Andrusko

Take ten minutes out of your busy day, go here, and treat yourself to an absolutely fascinating debate between Ryan Bomberger, CEO of the Radiance Foundation, and the Rev. Carlton Veazey, President and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

You will rarely get a better illustration of how pro-abortionists try to evade the truth that a disproportionate number of African-American women abort or a better explanation why pro-life/pro-adoption billboards in the African-American community are so necessary and so vital.

Predictably, the Radiance Foundation has come under withering assault from pro-abortionists for a series of “Black & Beautiful: TooManyAborted.com” billboards in Oakland, California. (See example, this page.) The Radiance Foundation’s first campaign, “Black Children Are an Endangered Species,” drew equally venomous attacks.

First things, first, Michel Martin, the moderator of “Tell Me More,” got a couple of thing right, sort of. As Bomberger has pointed out on numerous occasions, contrary to what his critics insisted, he was not “forced” to take down the Oakland billboards by opponents: the contracts expired on July 10. Martin conceded, “Apparently that’s when your contract ended,” as if that was debatable.

Martin also told the audience, “The data does show that abortion is more prevalent in the African-American community than among other groups. While black women make up about 13 percent of the U.S. female population, they account for 30 percent of abortions performed in the U.S. That according to the Guttmacher Institute.”

At that point on, it was all downhill. She described Guttmacher as “a nonpartisan research group that tracks information about reproductive health issues,” a description that only Guttmacher (a spin-off from Planned Parenthood) could make with a straight face.

Martin continued, “Though several of these racially targeted anti-abortion campaigns are supported or led by African-Americans, they’ve also outraged many people, both African-American and not.” Not a hint that there was any support for the billboards among African Americans or not.

Bomberger made many outstanding points. Some of the highlights can be found in his opening response to the question what gave him the idea for the billboards:

“Well, this really was started as part of the Radiance Foundation’s effort to emphasize the beauty of individual purpose. And so we launched the TooManyAborted.com campaigns to highlight the disproportionate impact of abortion in the black community where the abortion rate is five times that of the majority population.

“So we looked at the historical context of abortion and the statistical context, and looked at the decimation that it’s causing in the black community. So it really stems from my own life story of adoption. I’m adopted in a family of 15. I’m also an adoptive father. And so we want to look at life-affirming alternatives to the destruction that abortion brings.”

His other major (and very effective) argument is that it is no accident that there are so many Planned Parenthood clinics close to areas of heavy minority population. When Bomberger talked about The Negro Project, begun by PPFA in 1939, Martin did her best to put words in his mouth. Bomberger refused to be sidetracked, countering

“There was never any Caucasian project or Latino project or Asian project. There was only the Negro Project to reduce the birthrate of poorer blacks. That’s an important point because what they have done, instead of looking at the actual substantive issue, looking at the history, looking at today’s statistics and the continued targeting, they don’t engage in the conversation at all. And I think it’s a shame because abortion affects all of us. It’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a human issue that profoundly impacts all of us.”

For the most part Veazey pitched his tent in the ad hominem attack camp, although he did try to deflect PPFA omnipresence in urban areas. It’s really not about abortion but about dealing with “STDs,” “cancer screening,” and “other health issues.”

Bomberger quickly countered, “There are over 1,700 clinics around the United States that provide the same reproductive health care as Planned Parenthood. They just don’t abort children.”

It would have been amusing, had the stakes not been so high, but Veazey introduced “virtual abortions.” Not real abortions, you understand, but abortions “for all practical purposes.” (What he was trying to suggest was the same old, same old–that pro-lifers don’t care what happens to kids after they are born. “I’m here in Chicago,” Veazey said. “I can walk through certain communities and see kids, who for all practical purposes have been aborted.”)

An incredibly revealing debate. Bomberger was brilliant, Veazey evasive. Go to www.npr.org/2011/07/18/138473348/debate-boils-over-african-americans-abortions. You will be glad you did.

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