For the last few decades, evangelicals repeatedly have mobilized and demonstrated to oppose the operation of abortion clinics. Over the years, many have believed that being anti-abortion had become a litmus test for their support of politicians and policies, which vie for evangelical votes.
Last Thursday I joined 60 African Americans from around the country. We descended upon both the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) offices in Washington, DC. This group asked for Planned Parenthood to be defunded. We cited three reasons for the defunding:
1. numerous accusations of under-aged girls receiving unauthorized abortions,
2. alleged cover-ups of sexual abuse of minors, and
3. racial targeting of African Americans by PPFA.
As I approached the demonstration point last week, I couldn’t help remembering a continuing education class I had taken over a decade ago. A local director of a Planned Parenthood Center held back tears as she described the bombing of abortion clinics and her concern for people under her safety. I was deeply moved by this story and I was appalled by the fact that terrorists had committed violent acts against abortion clinic workers and physicians. This kind of terrorism should be legally prosecuted and never tolerated. Conversely, illegal or unethical practices by those who perform abortions should never be tolerated either.
I couldn’t help but think that the nation needs to find a way so that no one’s daughter has to consider having an abortion because of poverty, lack of adoption options, or other factors of this nature. Like many of my peers, I wish this battle would end. Yet, all sixty of last Thursday’s participants believe that it is especially important that African Americans stand up at this unique time in history. We cannot remain silent and ignore the increasing number of African-American children who are dying needlessly at the hands of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
On Thursday, we also gathered to speak out against Planned Parenthood because of its blatant disregard for the law. Let me recap some of the legal accusations that have been levied against PPFA.
1. In Kansas the organization is under criminal investigation for falsifying documents and performing late term abortions. It faces 23 felony counts.
2. Planned Parenthood has also dealt in the realm of deception concerning the age of its customers. In Ohio, Planned Parenthood is being sued for failing to report the rape of a 16-year-old by her father. This is not the first time that center leaders have tried to bend the age-related reporting requirement.
3. Eleven months ago UCLA student Lila Rose appeared on the O’Reilly Factor stating the some Planned Parenthood centers attempt to hide child abuse or statutory rape by encouraging underage mothers to falsify their ages in order to receive an abortion.
4. Others believe that the organization has actually swindled the government out of money. In California, former Los Angeles city officials have accused the California Planned Parenthood organization of defrauding taxpayers of over 180 million dollars.
In addition to these legal accusations, there is a moral responsibility that African-American clergy feel about the loss of life of all children. Our community, which aborts babies at three times the percentage of our population, must be awakened to the fact that Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s founder, desired to exterminate blacks because she viewed them as an inferior race. One such statement said, "We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” As a result the black community is disproportionately affected by the posture, placement, and philosophy of this organization.
To add insult to injury, Planned Parenthood receives $305 million a year of federal funding. We have discovered that PPFA also gives enormous sums to political campaigns to ensure that it continues to be favored by both parties. This year PPFA gave a combined amount of approximately $10 million to influence our federal government. By giving to both parties, this group maintains its slice of the funding pie.
In addition to federal funds, they receive over $356 million dollars per year in clinic income. PPFA also has over 900,000 active individual donors with Bill Gates heading the list of wealthy business supporters. In addition, the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations are among the large groups that fund their efforts. In light of these various sources of money, PPFA should have no problem surviving - if it cleans up its act.
What do we need to do follow up to last Thursday’s demonstration? First of all, we should challenge Congress to suspend funding for Planned Parenthood immediately. Second, we must ask both political parties to refuse or return Planned Parenthood campaign contributions. Third, we want all Americans to write their congressional and senatorial representatives with a special emphasis on getting the black community involved in the battle.
Someone, somewhere is counting