Almost anywhere you look these days, you can see, hear, or read leftists saying that the state abortion restrictions resulting from the reversal of Roe v Wade will be harder on some identity groups than on others.
Elizabeth Warren, for example, says that affluent women “will be fine.” She goes on:
“But you know who won’t be? It will be poor women. It will be people of color.”
And here’s a June 24th Washington Post article entitled “Women of color will be most impacted by the end of Roe, experts say”:
Not all states report racial and ethnic data on abortion, but among those who do (29 states and D.C.), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that a disproportionately high share are women of color. In 2019, the abortion rate for Black women was 23.8 per 1,000 women. For Hispanic women, it was 11.7 per 1,000. And for White women, it was 6.6 per 1,000.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that supports abortion rights, the reasons for these higher rates are systemic, driven by a lack of access to and effective use of contraceptives.
I assume by lack of access they mean an inability to afford. (Unless there are parts of the country where contraceptives are being denied to people based on the color of their skin—which there are not.) Assuming that’s so, then the elevated rate of abortion among black women is largely a function of their higher poverty rate relative to American women of other races.
If more black women are having more abortions than white women because more of them live in poverty, however, then saying that abortion restrictions will be harder on “poor women and women of color” is redundant. It’s like saying, “higher prices are especially hard on poor people and people without much money.”
Is something else at play?
According to Pew Research (the same organization providing the abortion data attributed to the CDC by the Post):
…for Blacks, the poverty rate of 18.8% in 2019 was the lowest rate observed since poverty estimates were first produced for this group for 1959. The previous low for this group was 20.8% in 2018.
Poverty rates in 2019 were also the lowest ever observed for Hispanics (15.7%), compared to the prior low of 17.6% in 2018. Poverty statistics for Hispanics date back to 1972.
The Asian poverty rate of 7.3% was also the lowest on record.
The 2019 poverty rate of 7.3% for non-Hispanic Whites was not statistically different than the previous low (historically adjusted) of 7.2% in 2000 and 7.3% in 1973.
(Record low poverty rates: ah yes, I remember them well. Shame to have moved so many Americans back into poverty since then, but it was a small price to pay for wealthy white liberals to be rid of the Dread Tyrant Trump—the racist tyrant who brought more American minorities out of poverty and unemployment than any president of the modern era.)
Looking at both datasets—the abortion rates and the poverty rates—we can see that the difference in abortion rates between Americans of different races is larger than the difference between their respective poverty rates. In particular, blacks are 3½ times more likely than whites to get an abortion, but only 2½ times more likely to be impoverished.
So when the Post attributes the difference not just to “lack of access” but also to the lack of “effective use” of contraceptives, presumably that’s to account for the difference that can’t be attributed to poverty alone.
But that’s a hell of a thing to say, when you think about it: black women aren’t good at using contraceptives.
It’s not backed up with any data: it’s simply something the Post says that the Guttmacher Institute has concluded.
This condescending racism is unsurprising: it’s one of the hallmarks of the American left. These are, after all, the same people who think blacks are too stupid to find their way to the local DMV or use the internet… or to know whom to vote for.
When public debate reaches the kind of fever pitch we’re seeing right now around abortion, however, one would hope to encounter actual arguments rather than racialist generalizations.
So why are black Americans having so many more abortions?
We’ll leave poverty aside because we’ve already established it’s not enough to fully account for the discrepancy, and we’ll ignore the “lack of effective use of contraceptives” theory until someone comes along with some data to support the argument.
Let’s also note that the higher abortion rate among blacks is exactly what the racist progressive Margaret Sanger wanted: the whole reason she founded Planned Parenthood was to reduce the birthrate among people she considered “undesirables,” which included blacks. She was a eugenicist and a racist. All the progressives of her era were.
Is the high abortion rate among black women, independent of poverty, perhaps related in some way to the rate at which black women are raising children without fathers? It would make a certain amount of sense: one can easily imagine an unpartnered pregnant woman contemplating life as a single mother and choosing to opt out, and one can just as easily imagine a pregnant woman who’s already a single mother making the same decision.
Those scenarios aren’t limited to black women, obviously, but black women are much more likely to face them: according to Fathers.com, 57.6% of black American children are living absent their biological fathers, compared to 20.7% of white children and 31.2% of Hispanic children. All of those numbers are saddening, but fatherlessness among black Americans is pandemic. It’s not an aberration anymore: it’s the norm.
It got a little more attention than usual this year, when Juneteenth and Father’s Day fell on the same date:
Black Boys Need Fathers. This Juneteenth and Father’s Day, Let’s Commit to Them
Patrice Onwuka, Opinion, Newsweek, June 16
America’s crisis is a lack of fathers
Rep. Burgess Owens , Rep. Byron Donalds , Jack Brewer, Opinion, FoxNews.com, June 17
As one savage satirist quipped on Twitter:
Juneteenth falling on Father’s Day must have Google working overtime.
White people are busy googling “what is Juneteenth,”
while black people are googling “what is a Father?”
The pathologies of fatherlessness are well documented, as is the rate at which black Americans are being raised in homes without fathers.
So it’s hardly a stretch to suggest that the normalization of fatherlessness might be a contributing factor to the abortion rate among black women—and would also explain why we hear so little about it from the left.
The left is very uncomfortable talking about the problems inherent in single-mother families because it goes against their almost religious devotion to the great project of dismantling the family as an institution. Remember when the Black Lives Matter website listed the disruption of the nuclear family as one of their goals—until people noticed it and they had to delete it?
That shouldn’t have caught anyone by surprise. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels dedicate gallons of ink to the necessity of dismantling the family as a societal building block. It’s one of their core requirements for the establishment of communism. The founders of Black Lives Matter have openly proclaimed their Marxist inclinations, so their antagonism toward the family is only a logical outgrowth of that ideological commitment. That they deleted something from their website shouldn’t mislead anyone into thinking it isn’t still etched in their hearts.
So it’s a little ironic for Elizabeth Warren and other leftists to lament how hard abortion restrictions would be on “women of color” when those women wouldn’t be so dependent on abortion if leftist policies hadn’t shredded (and weren’t still shredding) the institution of family.
Here’s a 2019 article from the Nation entitled “Want to dismantle capitalism? Abolish the family”:
Arguably the most infamous demand of The Communist Manifesto is the “abolition of the family.” The family, Marx and Engels noted, was where patriarchy and capitalism worked in tandem to produce willing, alienated workers, where women became little more than “instruments of production” for the men who lorded over them. Radical queer politics in the 1960s and ’70s added to their critique of the bourgeois family when activists challenged the heteronormativity of familial relations. That demand, however, has since almost completely vanished from the leftist imaginary.
That demand has not vanished from “the leftist imaginary.” It’s simply been driven underground, concealed or camouflaged—or sublimated into other issues.
Ask yourself what kind of response you’d get from the left if you were to say something as commonplace and obvious and empirically true as “children do best when they grow up with two parents: a mother and a father.”
Patrice Okuwa says so in the article linked above, but as a black woman she can say things that a “cis-het white man” like me cannot. Even so, I’m not actually sure she could say that on Twitter without having her account suspended. It’s practically hate speech.
Does anyone really believe that the abolition of the nuclear family has “almost completely vanished” from “the leftist imaginary?” Or does it suggest they’ve simply found new avenues of attack? Think how reflexively the American left sided with teachers and administrators against parents over what children are being taught in schools.
It is absolutely metaphysically certain that fewer American children raised without fathers would result in less poverty, less crime, less violence, better education, better employment, and a whole pile of other improvements in American life—in the lives of all Americans. The data is unambiguous, as you can see in the Owens/Donalds/Brewer piece linked above—and anywhere else you look, including a mere glance around your own community.
So the path to a better, healthier, happier, wealthier, stronger American society isn’t that complicated. Normalize the nuclear family, normalize marriage. Pursue policies that strengthen rather than weaken the family.
Not that long ago we had something close to a grudging national agreement in America that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” We all agreed that abortion was a worst-case scenario, something to be avoided whenever it could be, but something that should be legal and safe when it couldn’t. It certainly wasn’t something anyone bragged about.
Those days are long gone. Now you’re supposed to “Shout your abortion!“
I remember reading long ago, in the 70s bestseller The Rape of the APE (the acronym stands for the American Puritan Ethic), how a pharmacy in a small midwestern town had filled their display window with tampons when they first came on the market to help the women of the town feel less ashamed to buy them. That was sensible: women menstruate and there’s nothing shameful about it. There’s no shame in not wanting to bleed through one’s clothing. There should be no more shame in buying tampons than there is in buying toilet paper, facial tissues, or any other hygiene product. The pharmacy described in Allan Sherman’s book was trying to help destigmatize tampons, and that was a fine thing to do.
An abortion is the deliberate snuffing out of a human life. Why in the world would anyone want to not merely destigmatize abortion, but celebrate it? Whether the pregnancy was an accident or the result of carelessness, or of a crime, whether it was a wished-for pregnancy that went somehow wrong—there’s no such thing as a good abortion. There are no abortions to be proud of, to celebrate, to brag about.
I understand the passion of people seeking to keep it legal: you can count me among them (until somewhere around the end of the first trimester). But when even supporters of virtually unlimited abortion freely acknowledge it’s an “intensely personal” and “heart-wrenching” decision, one that can haunt people for the rest of their lives, is that something to shout out to the world? Something to wear on a tee-shirt?
This is probably the first time in my life I’ve used this word unironically, but that’s just degeneracy.
“Everyone knows I put my dog to sleep.”
“Everyone knows I checked my mother into hospice.”
“Everyone knows I gave up a child to adoption.”
Difficult, painful heart-breaking decisions all.
Think you’ll ever see any of them on a tee-shirt?
So why are black Americans getting abortions 3½ times more often than whites?
I don’t know.
But abortions are an end result. A symptom. A signal.
Why are black Americans finding themselves with so many unwanted pregnancies?
I can’t answer that, either.
But if Elizabeth Warren and company were really concerned about the well-being of “women of color,” it’s the question they’d be focused on.
Because it almost certainly has something to do with the policies they’ve been promoting for at least sixty years.