Black anti-abortion pastors and activists speak out on Kermit Gosnell trial
Imagine a world in which the former abortion provider Kermit Gosnell was not an aberration. According to a group of black anti-abortion activists, clinics similar to the criminally negligent facility where Gosnell performed abortions for decades — largely to women of color — can be found everywhere.
“We’re saying this is not the exception, it is the rule, and it has been, and because these facilities are located in black communities and in poor communities, the regulation is non-existent, and these facilities are not shut down,” Pastor Stephen Broden, senior pastor of the Fair Park Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas, told theGrio.
Broden, along with dozens of other leaders of the black anti-abortion movement, gathered at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to draw attention to the Gosnell case. This consortium of African-American anti-abortionists, called the Black Pro-Life Coalition, says it unites hundreds of member organizations, although specifics about how many people are in each organization were not disclosed.
Broden told theGrio that his church has 150 members, and his anti-abortion group is larger.
Anti-Abortionists gather on Capitol Hill
Organized by the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), which was founded by conservative pundit Star Parker, the event attracted a mix of black pastors and activists from across the country who are abortion rights opponents.
Details of the Kermit Gosnell case spurred the Black Pro-Life Coalition to call for a Congressional investigation into the conditions of women’s clinics across the country, in the belief that there are many doctors like Gosnell operating undetected. The organization also criticized mainstream black groups, such as the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus, for supporting pro-abortion initiatives and legislation.
Gosnell was convicted and sentenced last week for three murders committed in the process of performing illegal late-term abortions, during which he delivered living infants and snipped their spinal cords. In the process of investigating his case, Philadelphia authorities, where his women’s clinic was located, came to describe it as a “house of horrors.”
Allegedly, unsanitary conditions, the performance of illegal medical procedures by unqualified staff, and the storing of infant corpses were routine there.
While 67 percent of African-Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned (the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal), these black anti-abortionists say they represent important perspectives in the African-American community.
“The media has basically ignored the black pro-life voice completely,” Broden said. “It has been left out of the discourse, when [a higher percentage of abortions] are taking place in our community. We find that odd and unusual. For some of us, we believe it’s deliberate.”
Black women receive 30 percent of all abortions provided in the U.S., while African-Americans represent 12 percent of the population. White women receive 36 percent of all abortions, compared to 25 percent of Latinas, and nine percent of women of other races.
Calling attention to the media’s racial bias
These anti-abortionists also used the press conference to address the lack of media attention the Gosnell trial has received, a phenomenon that has been reported on in depth by The Atlantic, a liberal publication.
“We all came together to talk about this as something that you just don’t hear very much about, abortion in the black community, especially in regard to the Gosnell case, because it was just not covered,” Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union, told theGrio. Her participation in Tuesday’s press conference was in part fueled by observing the media’s treatment of other murder cases, such as the Casey Anthony trial, which dominated headlines.
“All of these horrible things have happened to young women, and children, and babies across the country, and of course as much as it hurts, we know that there are black counterparts, where children are missing, are abducted, are killed, are abused — that’s happening to black children also,” Garnder said. “And we don’t see that. That’s one of the things that I think it’s necessary to point out.”
Could there be more Kermit Gosnells?
Like most who attended the press conference, Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life, believes the conditions at Gosnell’s clinic are widespread. “Interestingly enough, everyone who spoke could point to a Gosnell-like facility in their state,” she said of event attendants.
[Editor’s note: In a recent Washington Post story on the Gosnell case, a former leader of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s abortion surveillance branch states that the problem of sub-standard clinics that provide abortions has become so rare in recent years, that the CDC shut down the surveillance operation. In addition, the CDC said 10 people died of abortions in 2010, the last year for which there is available data, compared to 793 people who died in bicycle accidents. The same report described the fact that abortion clinics are regulated in different manners in different states.]
When asked to provide evidence for this belief, King, Gardner and Broden recounted personally-related stories of women who suffered abortion complications, some lethal.
In one account, a doctor allegedly left a fetus head inside a woman’s uterus after a botched operation. In another, one woman’s uterine wall was allegedly perforated and her intestines eviscerated.
Abortion considered very safe by experts
Yet, adverse medical experiences through abortion have an extremely low occurrence according to various sources. Less than point three percent of women who receive abortions, if there are complications, need to be hospitalized for such outcomes.
Researchers in the U.S. and Britain have found no link between breast cancer, other cancers, or mental health issues with incidences of abortion.
While the risk of death from abortion increases as a pregnancy advances, the death rate is one per million abortions for those performed at or before eight weeks.
Women who seek abortions after eight weeks have often been forced to delay the operation in order to raise the funds necessary to procure the procedure, a fact sheet about abortion in America by the Guttmacher Institute states.