Black Christian leaders called on Congress to investigate the abortion industry and defund Planned Parenthood at a Tuesday morning press conference at the National Press Club.
A group of about 20 pastors and lay leaders gathered under the banner of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) to denounce America’s current abortion regime and to draw attention to the impact abortion has had on the black community in America.
The press conference came one day after a jury found Philadelphia-based abortionist Kermit Gosnell guilty of murdering three babies who were delivered after a botched abortion.
"This is just the beginning—it’s the reason we’re here at this press conference—it’s just the beginning for the black community to speak out very aggressively about what has been happening in our community for a very long time," said Star Parker, president of CURE.
"We are human beings. We are informed, we are educated, and I dare say we are intelligent enough to know we have been used and abused," said Dr. Alveda King. King is the director at Priests for Life and the niece of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
America’s abortion regime over the past 40 years has caused the black community to be half the size of what it otherwise would be, said Lonnie Poindexter, CURE’s director of outreach and education.
Numerous speakers drew parallels between the pro-life movement, the civil rights movement, and the anti-slavery movement.
Thirty-five percent of all abortions are performed on black women, while black women make up just 7 percent of America’s population, said Walter Hoye, president of the Issues4Life Foundation.
While abortions on demand have been dropping nationally, they have been rising in the black community, Hoye said, noting that black teenagers have the highest abortion rate of any racial group.
Parker called on Congress to open investigations into abortion providers. She wondered aloud whether the abortion providers are targeting black communities and whether there has been a cover-up of other cases similar to the one in Philadelphia.
Planned Parenthood intentionally places its surgical abortion clinics within walking distance of minority neighborhoods, said Rev. Arnold Culbreath, director of Protecting Black Life in Cincinnati, Ohio.
While the speakers spoke passionately against abortion, they were not untouched themselves. One spoke about his wife having an abortion, while another spoke of his daughter considering, and refusing to have, an abortion.
Bishop Darryl Husband recounted the times that he had counseled women in his church to get an abortion before coming to oppose the practice.
"I came to grip with the chilling reality that I had participated in murder," Husband said.
Dr. Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union, denounced Gosnell as "a racist of the worst kind because he preyed on women and young girls of his own race." She decried the "epidemic of black on black crime" in America and argued that the media’s failure to cover Gosnell’s trial demonstrated their racial bias.
"I can’t help but wonder if Gosnell’s victims were white children, would we see a very different media coverage?" she asked.
Several speakers singled out the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Congressional Black Caucus for their support for abortion.
"Where, one might ask, is the suspicious outrage from the Congressional Black Caucus … when it comes to the war on black women and the violence on them that abortion is inflicting?" asked Rev. Caesar LeFlore.
Neither the NAACP nor the Congressional Black Caucus returned a request for comment.
Stephen Broden, a pastor in Dallas, Texas, expressed sadness at the end of the press conference that President Barack Obama supports abortion so strongly.
African American pastors have had to tread very carefully around the president’s positions because the black community holds him in such high esteem, Broden said. However, pastors will ultimately have to choose between "the word of God and our favorite son," he said.