Abortion, autonomy, and the Congressional Black Caucus

Earlier this month I was published on Crisis Magazine’s website. My post, which looked at some tactical maneuvers the pro-life movement could consider in convincing Americans to join our cause, drew a wide variety of reactions. One of the more critical responses came from pro-life leader Jill Stanek. I e-mailed Jill about her critiques, and over the next two days we engaged in a…lively…discussion on how to best protect the unborn.

When Ed asked me to contribute today, I contacted Jill about updating Hot Air’s readers on the D.C. fetal pain bill going through the House of Representatives and other important goings-on in the pro-life movement. As timing would have it, Jill was finishing this post (published this morning) on how the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus (CPCC) held a joint conference on May 10 to discuss “African Americans’ Attitudes on Abortion, Contraception, and Reproductive Justice,” and she was eager to discuss it. Our conversation is below.


Dustin Siggins (DS): How did you hear about the CBC conference? Why was it held?

Jill Stanek (JS): On May 10 the CBC and CPCC held a co-briefing on inroads made in the black community. Four pro-lifers attended, including Day Gardner, President of the National Black Pro-Life Union. They found out all sorts of inside baseball. The primary concern of attendees turned out to be the series of billboards making waves since 2009. The bulk of the briefing focused on this, and the other focus was use of the word “genocide” when it comes to black babies being aborted. However, this is accurate, since it’s been used by white supremacists since slavery ended. Additionally, 38% of aborted babies are black, but only 12.3% of the nation is black.

The bottom line coming out of this briefing was the knowledge that the billboards are having an impact. A dossier of pro-life billboard leaders was handed out, and the stated goal was to shut down billboards as soon as they pop up. The people at the meeting were also concerned that black Americans don’t like the idea of “convenience” abortions, and so they wanted the discussion to focus on autonomy instead of babies. For obvious and understandable reasons the black community prioritizes autonomy over almost all else, and they wanted to take advantage of this. According to one of my sources at the meeting, explaining why the CBC and CPCC leaders were so concerned: “To them the freedom to live comes second to the freedom to choose.”

I have many more important details at the post.

DS: Obviously, this relates to PRENDA, the pro-life legislation in Congress that would make sex and race-selective abortions illegal. Does this meeting show that PRENDA is more important than one might initially think?

JS: How can you oppose a bill that bans babies in your community from being targeted for abortion because of their race? You can oppose that? Liberals say this isn’t happening, of course, and that the bill has been proposed to attack President Obama. But again, decreasing the black population has been a goal of white supremacists and others for generations.

Is our concern about sex-selective valid? Yes. According to studies of Chinese, Filipino and Korean immigrants coming to America, they bring with them the cultures they left. These cultures don’t value women as much as men – for example, the Chinese one-child policy that has resulted in a huge deficit of women in China – and is one reason for Asian sex slavery pandemic, as an aside. Women become commodities.

DS: The fetal pain bill introduced by Rep. Franks (R-AZ) is still making waves. What exactly does it do, and why are liberals so opposed to it?

JS: It says any baby who is 20 weeks gestational age or older cannot be aborted for any reason except to save the life of the mother. There is no health exception.  This law has been put into place in six states, and no abortion organization has filed a lawsuit claiming it to be unconstitutional because they are afraid they would lose at the Supreme Court.

Babies at 20 weeks feel pain, and probably before this. This is a losing issue for abortion proponents. How can you oppose protecting babies who are far along from pain?

Why is it coming through Congress now? D.C. has gutted all abortion restrictions in recent years and currently allows abortions at any time for any reason until birth (only five countries in the world have similarly abortion-friendly laws, including China, North Korea and Vietnam), and so this is in response to that, via Congress’ constitutional authority and responsibility.

DS: Let’s switch to a purely political issue for a moment – the War on Women doesn’t seem to be working for Democrats. In April a PEW Research poll said that the American people rank contraception number 17 out of 18 issues, and just this week Mitt Romney beat President Obama among women in a head-to-head poll after Obama lost ground with women in March. What are the implications of this?

JS: This is the second titanic movement against liberalism since Obama took office. The first was the TEA Party in 2010, and the second is this women shift away from him. The “Julia” ad isn’t working, the contraceptive mandate isn’t pulling women towards him…while not every woman is as pro-life or actively involved in the movement as I am, they clearly care more about their families and the economy than free abortions or contraceptives.

DS: So given this titanic shift, should conservatives and Republicans focus more on the economy than abortion and religious freedom until November, since we can push better legislation on those issues in the next Congress with a GOP Senate and White House?

JS: No. We need to be able to push forward on economic and life issues at the same time. In the minds of the people the economy is more important, but – for example – the D.C. pain bill can be used to show how wrong the pro-abortion movement is without alienating the American people.

Remember, too, the pro-life movement has economic components. For instance, the investigation into Planned Parenthood would expose the underbelly of the nation’s largest abortion provider  and the push to defund it bridges the two issues because it would prevent taxpayer subsidization of elective abortions. Remember, too, that from a purely economic standpoint Social Security and Medicare would be in much better shape if we had even half of the 50 million-plus aborted babies in the work force, paying taxes, etc.

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