Christi had six abortions. Why are stories like hers so common in the African-American community?
Feb. 20, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Christi remembers the day like it was yesterday: “I was 17 when I got pregnant. I was so scared. I went to my mom’s friend, and she said, ‘Well, you definitely don’t want to tell your mom because your parents have such big dreams for you.’ So she took me to a clinic.”
For the next several years, despite her successful career and seemingly committed relationship with her boyfriend, Christi found herself in a vicious cycle of abuse and exploitation. “He abused me. He told me if I didn’t get abortions, he would leave me. I never stood up for myself.” Feeling like she had nowhere else to turn—not even the church where she actively worshipped—Christi ended up having six more abortions.
Stories like Christi’s are repeated every day within the black community. In fact, according to a 2008 annual abortions report by Guttmacher.org, 1,200 African-American babies are aborted every single day in America. While African-Americans make up 12 percent of the population, over 30 percent of all abortions occur within the African-American community. Abortion in the African-American community is not just a problem ... it’s an epidemic. And it’s crushing urban communities both morally and spiritually.
One black leader who is concerned about the abortion epidemic in his community is Reverend Dean Nelson, a pastor, grassroots activist, and the vice chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation. Recently he sat down with Online for Life’s President Brian Fisher for an interview (listen here), during which he drew heavily on his knowledge of slavery and the civil rights struggle, to explain the impact that abortion is having on the African-American community.
“To me the comparison of a slave who had no rights and was subject to the will of someone more powerful is similar to the idea of a helpless child in the womb that we would not affirm all his rights,” Nelson laments.
Nelson pointed to the dichotomy between the personal pro-life convictions of the African-American population, and the overall acceptance of abortion within their community.
“While nearly 60 percent of African Americans claim to be pro-life, most are not for completely limiting abortion,” he observed. “Many have participated in abortion in some way, shape, or form. They see it as a bad decision, but many are concerned that there are no other options.”
Fisher and Nelson encouraged members of the African-American community to become more integrated into the pro-life movement, so that young women like Christi won’t feel coerced into aborting children they truly want.
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“It begins by extending grace and forgiveness to those who have fallen prey to the abortion industry,” explained Fisher. Through his work at Online for Life, he said, he’s seen firsthand the devastation that abortion wreaks on the urban community. “And then it progresses to educating and training pastors and lay leaders to skillfully bring up this discussion with grace and compassion within their churches.”
The trick, said Fisher and Nelson, is to find ways to communicate that abortion is a moral and spiritual issue, not a “political football” to be tossed back and forth by legislators.
According to Nelson, “We need to model out a commitment to morality in the black church so that the issue of abortion becomes a second thought.”
This podcast is the second installment in the Online for Life podcast series, which launched last month. Designed to primarily explore the moral, ethical, spiritual, and societal drivers and implications of abortion, the podcast provides a deeper look into abortion and the impact it’s had on individuals, families, and communities.
This month’s interview with Reverend Nelson, which coincides with National Black History Month, touches on a topic that few organizations are willing to address.
“We want to move beyond the partisanship and really talk about the moral and spiritual issues surrounding abortion,” says Fisher, who serves as host of the semimonthly podcast. “This sometimes results in touching on sensitive topics. But if we have any hope of ending abortion in America, then these delicate issues must be brought out into the open.”
Last month, the debut podcast featured an interview with Online for Life Vice President Jeff Bradford, a post-abortive father of four. Bradford shared about the impact that abortion has had on his marriage and family, and how through forgiveness and redemption he is now a laborer in the cause for life. (You can listen to this eye-opening interview here.)