Local & State
|Abortion foes focus on black neighbors in Charlotte community|
|African Americans urged to protest center in Cherry|
|Published Thursday, June 13, 2019 7:20 am|
|Black anti-abortion advocates are protesting the opening of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Charlotte's Cherry community.|
Black anti-abortion advocates are turning to their community to protest a clinic in the Cherry neighborhood.
A coalition of African Americans from the faith and pro-life movements will gather June 15 at 10 a.m. in Cherry Park to oppose the opening of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s Charlotte Health Center at 700 South Torrence St. The clinic opened June 4 in Cherry, a historically black community that has undergone massive gentrification over the last decade. Coalition leaders aim to raise concerns about Planned Parenthood’s role in aborting a disproportionate percentage of African American babies.
The Rev. Leon Threatt, pastor at Christian Faith Assembly; the Rev. Gabriel Rogers, pastor at Kingdom Christian Center and Clarence Henderson, president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of North Carolina are among the scheduled speakers.
“Planned Parenthood is rooted in a eugenic worldview and its founder [Margaret Sanger] declared that she didn’t want word to get out that she wanted to exterminate the black population,” said Rev. Kevrick McKain, the Douglass Leadership Institute’s vice president. “We will not sit quietly as this group seeks to break down minority households by ending the lives of defenseless babies.”
Abortion choice advocates, however, defend women’s right to choose and Planned Parenthood’s place. In addition to abortion services, the nonprofit provides testing for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing, health screenings and birth control.
Abortion rates are down across the board nationally, but among women age 15-44 in 2015, African Americans had the highest percentage at 25.1 procedures per 1,000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whites had 6.8 abortions per 1,000 women. In 2007, the black abortion rate was 36.5 per 1,000 women; for whites, it was 9.4 percent.
According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, 9,912 abortions in 2017 – 36 percent of the state’s total of 27,183 – were performed in Mecklenburg County. Mecklenburg residents accounted for 3,890 abortions, which suggests less-restrictive access to services attracts patients from outside the county.
Abortion is also most common among low-income women, with 75 percent of all procedures performed in 2014. More than 50 million abortions have been performed in the U.S. since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized the procedure in 1973.
Southern states have recently taken the lead in rolling back abortion access through laws aimed at forcing the Supreme Court to review Roe. Georgia and Louisiana passed so-called fetal heartbeat legislation, which can be detected in as early as six weeks – before many women realize they’re pregnant. Alabama passed a ban that even prohibits abortion in cases of rape and incest.
North Carolina’s General Assembly passed a “born alive” bill in which medical personnel are required to provide care for a fetus born during a failed abortion. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill earlier this month and a House override attempt failed by five votes.
Two Democrats of color – Reps. Garland Pierce of Scotland County, an African American, and Charles Graham of Robeson County, a member of the Lumbee tribe – voted with Republicans to override the veto.
Dr. Lena Wen, Planned Parenthood’s president and CEO, criticized government imposing its will on abortion access, which 73 percent of Americans support according to polls.
“People across the country are outraged — politicians have no place in our personal health decisions,” Wen said in a statement on Planned Parenthood’s website. “And now more than ever, we must stand together to declare that reproductive health care, including abortion care, is necessary for all people to live healthy, successful lives.”
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