February is black history month. But do you know how it began?
Its precursor was created by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926 and observed on the second week of February. Woodson choose that week to honor the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Woodson wanted black Americans to understand the strong family values, work ethic, sense of individual responsibility, spirit of entrepreneurship and incredible dignity that was indicative of black Americans and their African ancestors.[i]
His week-long observance was expanded to become Black History Month. Since 1976, every U. S. president has designated the month of February as Black History Month.
A part of black history in the making, with which we intersect on a daily basis, is the devastating effect that abortion has had and continues to have on the African American community.
There are many numbers we could look at, but we’ll just consider a few.
In 2014, a total of 303,844 blacks died in the U.S. That same year, an estimated 954,000 abortions took place in the United States. If 36%, according to the CDC,[ii] were performed on black women, that means 343,440 black babies were aborted. In other words, more blacks are killed by abortion each year in the United States than by all other causes combined.[iii]
In 2013 in the U.S., there were 420 black abortions for every 1,000 black live births.[iv] That’s nearly 1 abortion for every 2 live births among black women. The abortion rate was nearly four times higher for black women than for white women.[v]
Likewise in Wisconsin in 2015, there were 5,660 reported abortions.[vi] 25% of these were to black women while 60% were to white women. However, the population of the state looks like this: 6.6% black and 87.6% white.[vii] This means there are 13 times more whites than blacks living in Wisconsin but out of every 100 babies aborted that year, 25 were black and 60 were white.
So we agree there is a problem – perhaps even a largely silent crisis in the African American community. So how do we respond?
There is an African proverb, “No one knows whose womb holds the chief.”
In our clinic and in The Elizabeth House, we welcome all women: Women of all races, all ethnic backgrounds and all faiths or no faith at all. Last year 21% of our clinic patients were African American — so we are reaching a segment of this population but we want to do more.
In 2017, we are strategically advertising to reach more women of color. We are seeking partnerships in churches and communities of color to spread the word about the free services we offer so that more black women (and more women of all races and ethnicities) know that they have real choices.
And we invite you to pray with us and spread the word about our clinic. Join our prayer team. Pray for women of all races who feel abortion may be their best or only option.
Finally, we welcome your ideas and input. Tell us your thoughts for how we can together help more possible “chiefs” to be born.
[i] http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21NVSwimpBlackHistory90213.html, February 6, 2017
[ii] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/ss6512a1.htm, February 6, 2017
[iv] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/ss6512a1.htm, February 6, 2017
[vi] https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p45360-15.pdf, February 6, 2017
[vii] https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/55, February 6, 2017