The topic of race and the next fight over abortion

The state Capitol hasn’t experienced a major confrontation over abortion in five years.

That’s about to change. And this time, passions will be stoked even higher by the volatile issue of race.

Last month, dozens of billboards went up in African-American communities across metro Atlanta. On them, a toddler’s face appeared with this stark message: “Black children are an endangered species.”

The operating theory espoused by the billboard sponsors: Abortion clinics have targeted black women for the sake of both profit and eugenics. Catherine Davis, director of minority outreach for Georgia Right to Life, points to a lack of abortion clinics in Atlanta’s suburbs.

“If it is not a deliberate attempt to control the birthrate of the African-American community, then in my mind, you’d have at least one clinic in a non-urban area,” said Davis, who is African-American.

The February billboards were followed by legislation. As currently drafted, HB 1155 would make it a 10-year felony for a physician to perform an abortion if a patient discloses that she seeks the procedure because of objections to the race or gender of the fetus.

The physician and clinic staff would also be exposed to criminal prosecution, and civil suits, if the woman seeks the abortion because of “coercion.” Remember that word — we’ll come back to it.

Opponents of the bill don’t deny that African-American women resort to abortion more often than white or Hispanic women. Nor do they deny that race is involved. But they believe less in conspiracies and more in the impact of poverty, poor education and lack of access to proper health care.

State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), who is also African-American, described HB 1155 as “legally insufficient, morally reprehensible and factually questionable.”

Georgia State University law professor Lynn Hogue, asked to examine the bill by Planned Parenthood, an organization that supports abortion rights, warned lawmakers last week that a woman’s reason for seeking abortion was “constitutionally irrelevant.”

Moreover, Hogue said that the legislation is likely to have an unintended effect.

“Although the bill is grounded in racial disparity,” he said, “whites are unlikely ever to be targeted by this law. But African-American women are almost certain to be targeted. It will foster and justify discrimination based on race, something Georgia has tried to leave behind it.”

Over the past few sessions of the Legislature, Georgia Right to Life — a primary backer of HB 1155 — has become the most high-profile anti-abortion group at the Capitol, and the most persistent.

Fights over abortion, whether here or elsewhere, have often been clashes between white liberals and white conservatives. But a focus on race gives GRTL the opportunity to draw on the cultural conservatism of many African-Americans. A similar approach by Christian conservatives resulted in the 2004 passage by the Legislature of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

But at the same time that GRTL is attempting to expand an anti-abortion alliance, other members of the coalition have been breaking away.

At a Wednesday hearing of the House Special Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Cobb County), a reliable supporter of anti-abortion efforts, condemned the bill as a backhanded endorsement of abortion.

He had already denounced HB 1155 in a YouTube video posted earlier this month, calling it a “fund-raising tool” of the “pro-life industry.”

“If you’re murdering the little black girl because of convenience, because of economics, for birth control, for whatever reason, it’s OK with this bill. How they call this pro-life is beyond me,” Franklin said in the video.

At the same hearing, state Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), who helped write the last major piece of anti-abortion legislation debated and passed in 2005, wondered how a physician was to judge whether a woman was being “coerced” into an abortion.

“I disagree with people, being a nurse, [who think] that pregnancy makes you somehow incapable of making rational decisions about yourself,” Cooper said.

HB 1155 passed out of committee on a 7-6 vote. Cooper refused to vote, as did state Rep. Randal Mangham, a Democrat from Decatur. Franklin voted no.

The bill was sent to the House Rules Committee, which on Thursday rejected it, sending the measure back to the committee from whence it came for more work.

After a conversation with House Speaker David Ralston on Friday, the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), said the bill was still on track for a House floor vote.

“We want to make sure that the bill is so narrowly written that it’s truly a philosophic debate,” Loudermilk said. “Should it be legal to determine whether or not a child comes into this world because of their race, color or gender? Should it be legal to abort a child because it’s a girl and you wanted a boy?”

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

52 comments Add your comment

L

March 13th, 2010
3:57 pm

sorry, but WTF??? Do legislators realize there are problems in Georgia with bank failures (still #1 in the nation), home foreclosures, mortgage fraud, unemployment, failing schools, complete unwillingness to face the need to raise revenues? What a bunch of morons.

Ryan Bomberger

March 13th, 2010
3:59 pm

Mr. Galloway,

I must thank you as your initial article on this campaign served as a catalyst to the immense media attention that has focused on this initiative. More importantly, it has caused national discussion about where abortion’s impact is greatest: in the black community.

An important correction, though, to your article. You merged the names of two individuals who have diametrically opposed ideologies: Catherine Davis (Minority Outreach Director of GA Right to Life) and Loretta Ross (National Director, SisterSong).

The campaign was actually created by The Radiance Foundation (and one who is as black as Obama) who partnered with Georgia Right to Life–two organizations that have been trying to raise awareness about abortion’s impact on our entire society. This particular campaign focuses on the disproportionately high rate of abortion among African-Americans (3x the rate of the white population and 2x the rate of all other races combined). The billboard’s message, in its entirety is: “Black Children Are An Endangered Species….TooManyAborted.com” The simple fact is that unborn black children are endangered by the very act of abortion. The oft-used argument that it is lack of healthcare that explains this is not substantiated by the statistics. Hispanics are uninsured at 38%, nationally, yet have 1/2 the abortions of the black community that uninsured at 19% (U.S. Census Bureau data). The “health-disparities” argument further disintegrates when you look at the socio-economic demographics of who is ACTUALLY having the abortions.

We’re determined to awaken a community full of beautiful potential and possibility (a community many of those championing this campaign come from) to realize the propaganda that’s been fed to all of us since Planned Parenthood’s Negro Project began in 1939.

Ryan Bomberger
The Radiance Foundation
Creator/Director of ‘Endangered Species’ campaign

Cutty

March 13th, 2010
4:49 pm

Can we get a budget and transportation plan first? Is that too much to ask?

David

March 13th, 2010
5:01 pm

Abortion has been legal since 1973 and there is nothing that the states can do about it. Yet Georgia’s benighted legislators, mostly Republicans focus on this and other irrelevant issues over and over again.

They propose massive cuts the the UGS’s budget, cut public schools, public infrastructure regardless of the harm done while focusing on nonsense such as abortion, carry your guns anywhere legislation, photo IDs targeting black and old people and then have the hypocrisy to bring up this as a race issue.

Backwards we march.

David

March 13th, 2010
5:01 pm

Cutty, apparently anything constructive involving government is too much to ask of these people.

Devildog

March 13th, 2010
5:04 pm

When in doubt, vote NO

[...] going much further, the hypocrisy on both sides of this debate is stunning. African-American groups who would otherwise champion someone defending [...]

Lynn

March 13th, 2010
5:50 pm

What David said x 1000.

kam

March 13th, 2010
6:00 pm

UMM, L

maybe we have the abundance of “problems” because we’ve cursed ourselves by allowing abortion to flourish.

kam

March 13th, 2010
6:05 pm

Enter your comments here
AND UM, WHAT RYAN SAID X INFINITY

kam

March 13th, 2010
6:10 pm

Enter your comments here

Tim

March 13th, 2010
6:22 pm

Enter your comments here

Bill Orvis White

March 13th, 2010
6:26 pm

I salute anyone who fights for the rights of the unborn. Georgia needs to focus even more attention towards the innocent. To the heroes in the GA House and Radiance Foundation, Onward, Onward Christian Soldiers! And how can any of these lefties tell us that we’re racists? We’re fighting for their lives so that they may join our ranks so that we can return to a Culture of Life in this nation!

Ted

March 13th, 2010
6:58 pm

To Bill Orvis White, I am not quite sure when the “Culture of Life” began or ended. When would we be returning to? Would it be the period when it was legal to lynch African Americans or before Women had voting rights or back when we weren’t treating the Indigenous Indians so well?

I do think there are more important things to tackle. I also think we’re smart enough as humans to do multiple things at the same time. I am not in favor of abortion. But equally important is having a quality of life worth being born into.

S

March 13th, 2010
7:03 pm

Geeeeezzzzzusssss, I have had enough of this anti abortion mess to last me a lifetime…enough already!!! It is a gimmick, for Politicians, religious nuts, to gain control. If the people haven’t figured this out yet then they are moron’s. Get a grip, use some common sense, abortion should be no ones business but your own. With all that is wrong in this State, and Country, to bring up something like this is just mind boggling. If any Politicians even mention they are pro life, that will be an automatic NO on their ballot for me. For Pro Lifers…birth begins at conception, death begins at birth…don’t think so, ask them how many of these unwanted babies have they adopted or supported…go ahead, ask these Politician’s, fanatic religious hypocrite’s this question…

Sick of Republicans

March 13th, 2010
7:39 pm

The bottom line here folks is that abortion is legal and has been for many years; furthermore none of us has the right to tell another person what they can or cannot do when it comes to decisions such as this. We don’t know what we would do if we were in that person’s situation when they make the decision. Whether you agree or disagree about abortion – it’s legal – and it is a decision that only one person can make. And pray tell males – you have no clue what a woman is going through so how do you think you have the right to tell them what to do. They know their own bodies.

Scott

March 13th, 2010
7:55 pm

Its not pro life…its ANTI CHOICE…lets be clear about that

PoppaDog44

March 13th, 2010
7:55 pm

Here are the fact Mr. Galloway. Blacks comprise 1/3 of the abortions and make up 12% of the population. There have been aproximately 13 milllion abortions of blacks 50 million total since Roe v Wade made it legal.

Roe v Wade is outdated because with today’s technology we know when a baby’s heart starts beating and the development cycles is better understood than 30 years ago. People like sick of Republicans can say they are sick of Republicans because someone chose not to abort them, babies can’t make that decision.

Abortion in the black community is why by the 22nd century they will not be influential in politics or economics which is why the Democrats are catering to Hispanics now. When planned parenthood tried to bring their abortion clinics to Hispanic neighborhoods and use the same tactics as they did in the black community, they were ran out. Good for the amigos…you choose life and are willing to raise you families.

The Cynical White Boy

March 13th, 2010
8:51 pm

Boy, am I confused.

Once upon a time, I was supposed to be pro-life to be a good Christian.

Then, I was supposed to be pro-choice in order to be an enlightened liberal. Any man who refused to be pro-choice was a pig, among other things.

But wait, now I am told that all the feminists who are marching on the pro-choice cause are, uh, racists who are trying to limit the growth of the black race? Huh?

I could look to the Messiah, Oblah-blah, for absolute truth, but then, he is caught between the femi-nazis and the blacks on this issue. Hoo boy.

Strange times we live in, I’ll tell you. Too bad Shakespeare isn’t here in this century to muse about this kind of stuff.

NeNe from RHOA

March 13th, 2010
8:58 pm

Leave my negro chitlins alone!

n

March 13th, 2010
9:14 pm

Good grief is this state a crazy place.

fultonrighty

March 13th, 2010
10:18 pm

Check out The Economist magazine this week on “GENDERCIDE” the worldwide elimination of an estimated 100 million baby girls.

http://www.economist.com/search/search.cfm?rv=2&qr=Gendercide&area=1&x=11&y=78

There are four articles about this epidemic of sex-selection via abortion, infanticide and a few high tech methods. Intersting timing for this Georgia bill to ban sex-selection abortions here.

Laura

March 13th, 2010
11:04 pm

Instead of cutting women’s rights to their own bodies, why don’t legislators look into increasing education on pregnancy prevention to the women in Georgia most impacted by abortion? If data shows that African American women, especially teens, have higher pregnancy and abortion rates, someone should look at addressing the root of the problem. It’s positive that people are looking at this problem now, but it’s horrible to see conservative groups use it for their own agenda. That’s truly disgusting.

Jahmar

March 14th, 2010
6:37 am

What the….? Are you kidding me? Are you really serious? @Laura I agree whole heartedly that people using this issue for their own political agenda is truly DISGUSTING and disingenuous. Our womens rights should not be stripped away or touched at in any way. It is called pro-CHOICE for a reason. Nobody is being coerced into abortion. It really is the compromise on the issue. If you believe that life starts the second the sperm reaches the egg, then DON’T GET AN ABORTION. However, if you do not believe that the fetus is truly alive and you do not feel you are prepared to have a child, then get an abortion. THAT IS THE COMPROMISE. In the eyes of pro-choicers, eating an egg is not the same as eating an unborn chicken. BLACK WOMEN CAN THINK FOR THEMSELVES. I cannot believe the stupidity that is going on within our capitol. First our women are welfare queens spending all the states money on their 8 children from their 6 illegitimate fathers and now they are the #1 baby killers???? Give me a break.

Jahmar

March 14th, 2010
6:44 am

I DEMAND TO SEE THE METHODOLOGY BEHIND THIS BOGUS STATISTIC!!!!

Carole

March 14th, 2010
6:45 am

Here’s a thought for the Georgia Legislature: Try making responsibility for pregnancies a two-way street, where the man and the woman have equal responsibilities for a born child. When a man is more than 30 days late with a child support payment, he gets his ‘johnson’ cut off. Businesses like Georgia Power or AT&T cut people off all the time, which usually results in getting their money.

When women of any race are not left alone to struggle through child raising with no effective help from the father or the government, the abortion rate will surely fall.

Lisa

March 14th, 2010
8:24 am

Do white people really want millions of black babies born in the United States? White folks are already complaining about the U.S. become a majority minority country. If they cared about black folks, they would fight for economic equality. Most black women have abortions due to the fact that they can’t take care of their kids. Once they have kids, the same conservatives will try to limit their healthcare,education, unemployment benefits, etc. It is a non-ending cycle.

Rightwing Troll

March 14th, 2010
8:38 am

“sorry, but WTF??? Do legislators realize there are problems in Georgia with bank failures (still #1 in the nation), home foreclosures, mortgage fraud, unemployment, failing schools, complete unwillingness to face the need to raise revenues? What a bunch of morons.”

Ummm… they realize exactly that, why do you think they bring up “hot button” social issues right now? So they give thier dogs a bone and keep thier offices.

Laura,
“Abstinence Only” has been disproven, and that’s the only type of “sex education” these nuts will consider.

Rightwing Troll

March 14th, 2010
8:41 am

Lisa,
The “conservatives” will move heavan and earth to shepard that baby through into the world, then spend the next 70 yrs or so kicking it in the gut for being what it is…

PoliticalDog

March 14th, 2010
9:12 am

If you want to see the statistics of abortion and its effects on blacks and other Americans look up CDC abortion statstics 2004. Its okay for women to have rights but not the baby or fetus. Fetus’s done have a voice and don’t vote unfortunately.

PoliticalDog

March 14th, 2010
9:15 am

Lisa its white liberals like Margret Sanger that promoted Eugenics to help blacks. Its their solutions to the Negro problem and before the Great Society, blacks never had this problem. You are part of the problem, government education, you can’t analyze and accept the facts presented. You blame it on all white people. When I see people marching for fetus’ rights I see White Christians, Hispanics, Jews, other faith, but rarely black people in numbers.

Jahmar

March 14th, 2010
9:18 am

Fetus’s don’t have votes & choices bc they are NOT ALIVE.

Jahmar

March 14th, 2010
9:19 am

@PoliticalDog

We know about Margaret Sanger already. Fact is. She’s dead.

JL

March 14th, 2010
10:29 am

In England abortions are free but their abortion rate is much lower than ours because they also provide health care. Will the legislature pass a law to provide maternity and pediatric health care for all. It’s one thing to promote life but it’s another thing to provide for life.

Martin

March 14th, 2010
11:29 am

“‘If it is not a deliberate attempt to control the birthrate of the African-American community, then in my mind, you’d have at least one clinic in a non-urban area,’ said Davis, who is African-American.”

Oh sure, let’s open up abortion clinics in rural areas where they’ll get almost no business, because the women are scared someone will see them enter the clinic, the place will get fire-bombed, and the staff all murdered because they’re surrounded by a bunch of yahoos who either want to kill them or don’t really care to keep them safe from the psychopaths in the anti-abortion movement.

On the other hand, we could open up a clinic in the city, where there is ample security available, plenty of business, more health care professionals, and people who live in rural or far-out suburban areas can actually use the cars that they already drive so that they can obtain a private and very controversial procedure at a place where their neighbor won’t notice them pulling into the parking lot.

Mr. Davis, you are ignorant.

deegee

March 14th, 2010
12:00 pm

How come rich white folks will travel to China, Romania, Central America and now Haiti to adopt babies but won’t travel to the DFCS office in their own county in order to adopt a child?

NeNe

March 14th, 2010
12:05 pm

Leave my negro babies alone…they just be lil chitlins!

Martin

March 14th, 2010
12:21 pm

@deegee: It often costs a lot less to adopt from a foreign country than it does inside the US.

And thanks for making race a part of your question, because race is relevant to EVERYTHING. (sarcasm)

Bill Orvis White

March 14th, 2010
2:40 pm

@JL Health care is not a right. England is like the rest of Secular Europe whereby Godlessness and an expensive Nanny State rule the day. This is what we fought against on this soil and we will continue to fight against this tyranny, God-willing — as soon as these Marxists are removed from Congress and The White House. Amen, Bill

SB 1155 « Chamblee54

March 14th, 2010
4:21 pm

[...] prosecution, and civil suits, if the woman seeks the abortion because of “coercion.” HT to Jim Galloway. Pictures from the ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University [...]

Vanessa

March 14th, 2010
5:23 pm

WE should be asheamed of our political leadership. Vote them ALL out. Start over! We can not do any worse!

Carole

March 14th, 2010
5:29 pm

@Bill Orvis White – you think that health care for everyone is tyranny?

Lawdy, Miz Scarlett, it’s not the black folk who have been brainwashed around here…

Republican turned Democrat

March 14th, 2010
10:18 pm

Listen to you all. You’re even more ignorant that the people you elect! No wonder the country is jacked up when it comes to race relations. Blaming abortions on race, claiming bad things happen in America due to abortion, etc. etc. If everyone, including you and the politicians would just respect your fellow Americans rights under the Constitution and laws and quit being some stubborn, ignorant and foolish, we’d be way past this issue, race issues, etc etc. Instead, we waste time over this stuff while the economy suffers, education suffers, and many other important issues get put on back burner. He’s a way to fix all of it: make a test of ignorance. Then put all the ignorant people, regardless of race, gender, orientation, religion etc… put them on an island with all the criminals and nut cases….and nuke it. Half of you and congress would be on that island.

FultonRighty

March 14th, 2010
10:29 pm

The statistics are from the CDC and the State, aren’t they? 2 times as many abortions on black women as on white women in GA last year. That is significant. Hispanics have less access to health care than African Americans but have half or less of the abortion rate. It isn’t just about health care options. Something else is at work here.

TruthSeeker

March 14th, 2010
10:46 pm

Now the facts…HB-1155 is actually a very simple bill, that does three very common-sense things:

(1) The bill protects a woman from being forced into an abortion against her will.

How is a woman’s choice intact when an abuser is free to break her will with threats of violence or intimidation? (see links for examples) Nine US states including AZ, DE, ID, MN, MT, ND, OH, TX, UT already have laws that prevent coerced abortion.

(2) The bill prohibits abortion for purposes of gender selection.

The bill would make Georgia law consistent with existing law in almost every other nation in world including the UK, India, China, and Korea. Even the pro-abortion rights United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) condemns “pre-natal sex selection” and supports a resolution banning sex selection abortions; branding the abortion of females as “violence against women and girls” and that “The range of violence against women and girls is devastating…”

(3) The bill prohibits a doctor from carrying out an abortion that he/she knows is being sought on the basis of the race or color of the child.

Should the otherwise legal procedure of abortion be available as a lawful tool for racism? By comparison, the activity of hiring and firing employees is legal on virtually any basis UNTIL the action is found to be motivated by race or gender; in these cases, an otherwise legal personnel action would become an illegal activity under both state and federal law. If it should be illegal to use race as the basis of terminating an employee from a family owned business, why should it not also be illegal to use race as the basis of terminating the life of an unborn child?

TruthSeeker

March 14th, 2010
10:53 pm

sick & tired

March 14th, 2010
11:54 pm

If we don’t get rid of all of the republicans that control the state (and some of the do nothing democrats) in the state legislature we will never get any legislation that makes sense. What happened to the strong ethics legislation Ralston was going to champion; the transportation plan, educating our future leaders, creating jobs, water, etc. We won’t move forward with these clowns. If they have an R and (I) behind their names on the ballot lets get rid of them. Unless our brothers and sisters from rural Georgia get it they will continue to send these no account legislators back to the legislature. In my mind if you have served more than three terms in the same elected capacity you need to go home. You have lost your effectiveness, you are just keeping a seat warm and you are holding up new, unbiased, and unbought candidates. However, our campaign laws have just gotten more broad. So that means, if you don’t have the money and no one will give you money you won’t win.

Republican turned Democrat

March 15th, 2010
8:25 am

Why do people keep debating about blacks getting more abortions than whites and hispanics? Who cares? It’s each individual’s right, regardless of color. Did you know more whites than blacks buy electric pencil sharpeners? But who gives a flip? Not me. The bottom line is if you want to change abortion, start with education and better access to healthcare, period. Quit debating the wrong stuff. This is America. Whether black, white, hispanic or other, an abortion is an abortion. If you’re against it, then do what needs to be done to change it and stop pointing fingers and intensifying divisions. For now, it’s each woman’s right. Leave it at that.

SamantaBogasus

March 15th, 2010
11:39 am

Hey guys,

I am Samanta and I am a full time IM. I am working on Micro Niche Websites to generate income from Adsense and Affiliate marketing.

It is an honour to be amongst all of you.

LoveWisdom

March 15th, 2010
2:25 pm

Has anyone on this blog actually read the bill?

I just read it and it talks about protecting a woman from being coerced.

Since when is it wrong to protect a woman from having an abortion that she is being forced to have?

Why is it wrong to say that no you shouldn’t have an abortion because the child is a girl?

According to the UN report that came out last week, 96 million girls are missing from the world because of sex selective abortions. The Economist also featured the report and stated that sex selection abortions are happening in America.

I think before any more comments lacking reason are posted on this page, people should actually read the bill. :)