Actually, Rep. Holmes, racism was a factor in legalizing abortion


abortion pregnant woman

LifeNews covered the story of how an Alabama legislator Representative Alan Holmes, claimed that 99% of white people would have an abortion (or, particularly, tell their partners to have an abortion) if the father of the baby was African-American. He was  accusing Republicans who opposed abortion of being racist, claiming:

If you asked the people in here now to raise their hands, of those who are against abortion, 99 per cent of all of the white people in here gonna raise their hand that they are against abortion,’ Rep Holmes said during the debate.

On the other hand, 99 per cent of the whites that are sitting in here now, if they daughter got pregnant by a black man, they gonna make their daughter have an abortion. They ain’t gonna let her have the baby.

These outrageous comments are ironic, considering that some of the key players in the drive to legalize abortion, as well as one of Roe‘s top defenders, were white people who made racist statements.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, a strong proponent of Roe v. Wade, made a disturbing statement in the New York Times Magazine. She was commenting on a 1980 court case that dealt with whether or not Medicaid would pay for abortions for poor women. She said (1):

Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth, and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.

Who exactly are these “populations that we don’t want to have too many of”? Somehow, it’s hard to believe she is referring to her own family or her friends and colleagues. It’s a pretty safe bet that she is talking about minorities.

Abortionist Dr. Don Sloan, in his book Abortion: A Doctor’s Perspective, a Woman’s Dilemma, described a vote that took place in New York prior to Roe v. Wade. New York was one of the first states to legalize abortion before the Supreme Court struck down all abortion restrictions in one fells swoop in Roe. According to Sloan, the key vote to legalize abortion in New York actually came from a white racist (2):

“We had needed only a single precious vote to go our way, and one conservative upstate lawmaker had switched his vote at the last minute.” A colleague said the vote had gone their way because the legislator was counting on abortion to limit the number of poor babies and keep the welfare rolls down. “‘It was part people who want to put abortion into the medical code where it belongs and part racism.’ … I hated to think that abortion reform had come out of such a philosophy, but I knew plenty of people saw abortion as a way to control the poor. … Ending poverty would never be so simple as getting rid of poor babies. But if indeed that had been the reason behind the vote, it wouldn’t have been new in history.”

Sloan may have identified this man as conservative, but his support of abortion places him in the pro-choice camp. He is a person advocating for legal abortion and, therefore, not one of the pro-life “racists” Holmes was referring to.

Even more shocking, the co-founder of NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the most prominent abortion-rights groups in the country, used arguments about controlling minorities to push for the legalization of abortion prior to Roe v. Wade. NARAL, then called the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, was founded by Doctor Bernard Nathanson, who later became pro-life, and Lawrence Lader, a longtime proponent of abortion.

In his book advocating legal abortion, Lader made the following statement:

Above all, society must grasp the grim relationship between unwanted children and the violent rebellion of minority groups.

He was, in fact, disappointed that African-Americans did not rally around the pro-abortion cause and were scarce in NARAL. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, in his book Aborting America, quotes Lader as saying to him, in a moment of frustration (3):

We’ve got to keep the women out in front. … And some blacks. Black women especially. Why are they so damn slow to see the importance of this whole movement to themselves?

It is clear that racism has been a major motivation for pro-choice activists. In fact, some of the people who were the most pivotal in legalizing abortion were motivated, at least in part, by racism. These quotes give only a handful of the evidence that can be unearthed about the racist underpinnings of the pro-choice movement. This article does not even mention Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, who, in many people’s opinion, “started it all,” and who was an avowed eugenicist who once spoke at a rally of the KKK.

  1. E, Bazelton “The Place of Women on the Court.New York Times Magazine  July 7, 2009 Quoted in Doctor Alveda King and Dr.La Verne Tolbert Life at All Costs: an Anthology of Voices from 21st-Century Black Pro-Life Leaders (Xlibris Corporation, 2012)
  2. Don Sloan, M.D. with Paula Hartz, Abortion: A Doctor’s Perspective, A Woman’s Dilemma (New York: Donald I Fine, Inc., 1992) p 41.
  3. Bernard N Nathanson, M.D. with Richard N Ostling. Aborting America (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1979) 53
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