On Friday, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Vital Statistics released a report titled “Summary of Vital Statistics 2012 The City of New York, Pregnancy Outcomes.” As expected, the report showed an exceedingly high number of abortions and an exceedingly low number of births.
But the report also showed something more disturbing: a vast majority of the abortions came from the black and Hispanic communities – and in the black community, births were outnumbered by abortion by 6,570. Overall, 42.4% of abortions in the city were of black children; another 31% came from the Hispanic community.
According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, some 30% of all abortions in the United States are performed on black women, and another 25% are performed on Hispanic women. Rev. John J. Raphael of Howard University has calculated that approximately 13 million black children have been killed before birth since Roe v. Wade, representing a population decrease in the black community of nearly one quarter. Almost 40% of all black pregnancies currently end in abortion.
This was the dream of the population control eugenicists’ whose heirs would eventually force abortion into the American mainstream. The early proponents of population control in the United States were eugenicists like Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, who stated, “[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”
In 1922, she expanded on this perverse idea: “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Sanger may not have targeted blacks alone for population control, but if targeting poverty meant targeting blacks and other racial minorities, she was certainly for it. And while Sanger was anti-abortion – she saw birth control as a preventive measure against abortion – she believed that population control in the black community was a necessity. Her heirs would broaden her concern with birth control into a program for full-scale abortion legalization.
This program was ineffective for decades, thanks to the rise of the black middle class and the stability of the black family structure. By the mid-1960s, half of black Americans had moved into the middle class, according to Kay Hymowitz; in 1965, just 24 percent of black children were born to single mothers. Those numbers still lagged behind the statistics for white Americans, which prompted the left to propose an entire system of government intervention to rectify the imbalance.
The result, however, was precisely the opposite of what was intended: thanks to the rise of the welfare state, which incentivized single motherhood, as well as a cultural shift discarding traditional family structure as a standard to be emulated, the black single motherhood rate skyrocketed. Black entry into the middle class stalled. Today, 73 percent of all children born in the black community are born out of wedlock. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 35 percent of black Americans live in poverty. In 1966, the black poverty rate was 41 percent.
There is no doubt that single motherhood has statistically crippled economic development in the black community. But instead of recognizing that single motherhood is an effect of both declining standards of morality and government benefits programs designed to excuse that decline, the left has blamed children themselves. President Barack Obama infamously characterized the notion of one of his daughters experiencing an unplanned pregnancy as being “punished with a baby.” On the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Obama declared abortion a vital element in allowing “everyone… the freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.” And on the economic front, economist Steven Levitt has justified abortion as a way of fighting crime.
The result has been success far beyond the dreams of the social Darwinian eugenicists whose ideological heirs would eventually make abortion in America a booming industry. It just took an undermining of the social order by government intervention to accomplish that horrifying feat.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.