The events of 2020 served as a critical inflection point in the national conversation about race in America. As nationwide unrest boiled over, tensions became higher, divisions became deeper, and the conversation became more difficult.
But for pro-life Christians, our role in conversations like this is not always immediately clear or unified.
Some may approach these issues with ideas or opinions on the status of race in America or how it should be addressed. Some may see them as issues that they don’t want to get involved in or shouldn’t get involved in. Some may see racism and abortion as two separate issues. And others may believe that racism isn’t an issue at all.
Regardless of where you stand, it’s important to see the connection between racism, justice, and abortion, and the role Human Coalition Action believes the pro-life movement has in this conversation.
Should I be involved in justice issues?
Before getting into any specific issues, this question must be answered first. Because the answer to this question will serve as a foundation and a litmus test for deciding your involvement on other issues.
To answer this question, we must look to God’s word.
First and foremost, Scripture tells us that all human life – both inside and outside of the womb – was made in the image of God with extraordinary intrinsic dignity. That means every human being has equal value in the eyes of our Creator and should be treated as such.
Here are just a few of the places in the Bible where this is referenced:
- Genesis 1:27: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
- Genesis 9:6: “…For in the image of God has God made mankind.”
- Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Additionally, Scripture reveals God’s heart for justice, and disdain for those who abuse power and oppress fellow human beings. From stories like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), to the laws outlined in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), to the account of God’s Kingdom in Revelation 7:9, Scripture provides clear guidance on God’s desire for justice for all human beings – no matter their background, race, religion, occupation, socio-economic status, age, or political beliefs.
But perhaps no other verse sums up our calling better than Proverbs 31:8: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
This verse means that we as Christians have a responsibility to speak up for the dignity of all human life. And we have a responsibility to stand against injustice against other humans in whatever place and whatever form it takes – whether that means sex trafficking, abortion, poverty, or racism.
In a piece for the National Review, former NFL tight end, pro-life advocate, and Human Coalition’s Vice President of Strategic Relationships Benjamin Watson said it like this:
“What links different justice issues together is a shared commitment to equal dignity for all human life, from the womb to the tomb. Justice is about protecting those who deserve protection, and punishing those who deserve punishment. Justice seeks to remedy the destructive impact of abusive treatment in the lives of individuals and in the societies they live in.”
Being involved in justice issues isn’t just something we should consider doing. We are called and have a responsibility to get involved.
Should I be involved in abortion issues AND racial justice issues?
As we have established, we are called to address injustices against all human life. While many believe that pro-life issues and justice issues are separate, they are undoubtedly connected because they are all related to human dignity.
In Benjamin Watson’s article in the National Review, he said, “As a society, if we fail to value vulnerable human dignity at one stage of life, we are more likely to devalue vulnerable life at another stage — whether that be the disabled, the elderly, the poor, the immigrant, or the unarmed Black person shot by police.”
Abortion, and the underlying failure to recognize the dignity of preborn children, is the most tragic injustice that happens in our country today. It leads to one million innocent lives being killed every single year in our country. And it destroys future generations of families.
But abortion is also directly linked to other justice issues – including racism.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood (which is the largest abortion provider in the country) believed in eugenics and population control. Eugenics is the practice of only allowing certain people with certain traits to have children. Eugenicists effectively aim to “breed-out” disease, abnormalities, and other traits they deem “less desirable.”
In the case of Sanger and those closest to her, traits that were deemed “less desirable” included being in a lower-class or minority population.
Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry has historically attempted to wash away or brush aside the reality of Sanger’s views. But these views are not and were not a secret. Here’s just one excerpt from Sanger’s book, The Pivot of Civilization:
“Every feeble-minded girl or woman of the hereditary type, especially of the moron class, should be segregated during the reproductive period. Otherwise, she is almost certain to bear imbecile children, who in turn are just as certain to breed other defectives… Moreover, when we realize that each feeble-minded person is a potential source of an endless progeny of defect, we prefer the policy of immediate sterilization, of making sure that parenthood is absolutely prohibited to the feeble-minded.”
Sanger built the foundation of an abortion industry that kills a preborn child every 30 seconds. And even though decades have passed since Sanger first introduced her eugenicist ideas, her legacy of racism continues to exist in the abortion industry today – and the statistics prove it.
Nearly 80% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located in minority neighborhoods. The abortion rate for Black women is five times the rate of white women. And in some of the most abortion-dense cities in America, such as New York City, it is more dangerous to be a preborn child than a born child.
This connection between abortion and other injustices doesn’t just exist with racism; it exists with sex trafficking, discrimination against individuals with special needs, poverty, and many other issues.
That’s why being pro-life and being pro-justice should not be separate efforts or endeavors. As pro-life Christians, we should be united in seeking justice for all human life – from womb to tomb.
How is the pro-life movement addressing racism in the abortion industry?
At the height of national unrest during the summer of 2020, Planned Parenthood’s roots in racism began to catch up with them.
On June 18, 2020, over 350 current and former staff members of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, along with 800 donors, supporters, and volunteers, published an open letter calling Sanger a “racist, white woman.” They described a culture of “systemic racism” within that chapter of Planned Parenthood and cited a “history and present steeped in white supremacy.”
Under intense pressure, the chapter finally removed Sanger’s name from the clinic, as the organization claimed they were “reckoning” with their history. But weeks after the “reckoning” began, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the national chapter of Planned Parenthood, remained silent.
However, while remaining silent on their injustices against Black preborn children, Planned Parenthood jumped fully behind the Black Lives Matter movement and renewed its commitment to combating racism in all its forms.
The pro-life movement could not allow the blatant hypocrisy and discrimination against preborn children go unchecked. That’s why in September 2020, Human Coalition Action’s Executive Director, Dean Nelson, led a diverse coalition of over 120 Black American leaders in a letter to Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s president, Alexis McGill Johnson, calling on her to “confront the systemic racism of America’s abortion practices” and to “renounce the racist legacy” of Sanger.
Additionally, Human Coalition Action partnered with Students for Life of America on an event to show support for Black preborn lives. A group of pro-life activists gathered to write “Black Preborn Lives Matter” in front of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Washington, D.C. Multiple pro-life activists were arrested during this event for simply writing these words of support for Black preborn children in non-permanent chalk – and the event garnered attention from national media outlets.
Today, Human Coalition Action continues to seek opportunities to hold Planned Parenthood, and other abortion industry organizations, accountable for their historical and present-day racist practices.
What is the role of pro-lifers in the national conversation on race and justice?
As the conversation on race and justice in America continues, the pro-life movement has an important role and voice.
The pro-life movement can bring the conversation back to the point that should unite us all: human dignity.
Every human being was made in the image of God– worthy of protection and justice. With a foundation of human dignity, we can pursue justice for all those who are oppressed – whether it be preborn children, minority communities, women with unexpected pregnancies, individuals with special needs, or low-income families.
Claiming to pursue justice for preborn children does nothing unless we are willing to correct current and historical injustices against minority communities. In the same way, claiming to pursue justice for particular race does nothing if we fail to acknowledge the injustice of abortion.
Again, the verse in Proverbs 31:8 calls us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
The pro-life movement has a responsibility to unite, get involved, and speak up against injustice against other humans – in whatever place and whatever form it takes.
Will YOU be a voice for justice in your family, your church, your workplace, and your community? Learn how you can get involved today: https://hucoaction.org/mobilization/.
Citations and Resources
National Review: “Pro-Justice Means Pro-Life” by Benjamin Watson: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/01/pro-justice-means-pro-life/
Definition of Eugenics: https://www.history.com/topics/germany/eugenics
Excerpt from Margaret Sanger’s The Pivot of Civilization: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1689/1689-h/1689-h.htm
“The Effects of Abortion on the Black Community” Policy Report: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/JU/JU10/20171101/106562/HHRG-115-JU10-Wstate-ParkerS-20171101-SD001.pdf
“Abortion and Women of Color: The Bigger Picture” Guttmacher Policy Review: https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2008/08/abortion-and-women-color-bigger-picture
Open Letter from current and former staff members of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York: https://saveppgny.wordpress.com/
Fox News: Planned Parenthood’s New York chapter disavows founder Margaret Sanger over racist eugenics: https://www.foxnews.com/us/margaret-sanger-planned-parenthood-ny-eugenics-racism
Letter to Planned Parenthood Federation of America from the coalition of Black leaders: https://www.prolife.org/letter-to-planned-parenthood/
Washington Times: D.C. police stop ‘Black Preborn Lives Matter’ street painting, arrest two protesters: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/aug/1/police-stop-pro-lifers-painting-street-black-prebo/