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Black genocide

Abortion Present | African-Americans are fighting the high toll of abortion in their own community by developing compassionate alternatives

Issue: "Millions cut down," Jan. 17, 2009

Alabama State University (ASU), a historically black college, is planted near the west side of the capital city of Montgomery, a birthplace of the civil-rights movement. The campus sits at the edge of a major housing project. Or as Tijuanna Adetunji puts it: "It's in the 'hood."

That made it the perfect place for Adetunji, 38, who grew up in the Montgomery projects herself, to share her message on African-Americans and the true nature of abortion.

Earlier this year, an ASU professor invited Adetunji to address her students on the topic. "The professor knew some of her students had faced, or were facing, crisis pregnancies," said Adetunji, a pastor's wife who has lately assumed the mantle of pro-life activist. "She wanted a way to get them some help in making better decisions, better choices."

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As a public employee, the professor "couldn't tell the students everything," Adetunji said. "But I could."

Adetunji told the students, all of whom were African-American, that she still grieves over her own choice to have two abortions, one at age 17 and the other at age 25.

She told them that abortion is killing off their culture: 13 million black babies have died in the womb since 1973-more than 2.5 times the total number of deaths among African-Americans during the same period from AIDS, cancer, accidents, heart disease, and violent crime combined.

She told them that one-third of all abortions are performed on black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control, even though blacks make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Finally, Adetunji used models and an interactive DVD to show the class that it is not "tissue" that dies during an abortion, but a living child with eyes, a beating heart, and tiny hands and feet.

"One young man on the front row was in tears," Adetunji recalls. Another got up and walked out. Later, he returned and confided to the professor in anguish: "I didn't know! I made her have three! . . . I didn't know!"

Adetunji is among a growing number of people working both to educate African-Americans about the truth of pregnancy and the ravages of abortion, and to increase compassionate outreach to black women facing crisis pregnancies. And with an African-American becoming president, some urban pro-life activists say the time to draw national attention to the steep toll of abortion on blacks is now.

Clenard Childress Jr., senior pastor of New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, N.J., and founder of BlackGenocide.org, criticizes Obama's pro-abortion voting record and rhetoric but says, "The good thing about an Obama presidency is that we now have a face to put on the genocide of African-American babies in this country."

Indeed, the face of the minority survivor in the Oval Office racially represents many abortion victims. Ninety-four percent of all abortion doctors are located in metropolitan areas, with seven in 10 of these in predominantly minority-populated communities, according to Care Net, a Virginia-based coalition of more than 1,100 pregnancy resource centers. The result: African-American and Hispanic women, who together make up about one-quarter of the female population, account for 57 percent of the 1.2 million abortions performed in the United States each year. In some urban areas, abortions among minority women now equal the number of live births.

That trend spurred Care Net to launch its Urban Initiative in 2003. Since then, the group has opened 14 PRCs in metropolitan areas, including Philadelphia's New HOPE Pregnancy Center. In 2005, Herb Lusk, an African-American pastor in Philadelphia known for his poverty-fighting efforts and biblical conservatism (see WORLD, July 29, 2000), asked members at Greater Exodus Baptist Church if they knew where the nearest pregnancy resource center was.

The prevailing answer then was: What's a pregnancy resource center? Now, members of the Greater Exodus congregation know the answer: The nearest PRC is an outgrowth of their own church. In 2008, Lusk teamed with Care Net to open the New HOPE Pregnancy Center in Philly, across the street from the Salvation Army and within a five-mile radius of five abortion clinics.

"If you don't do anything about abortion, then you're not part of the solution, which means you're part of the problem," said Lusk. "The good news is I'm no longer part of the problem."

In Montgomery, Ala., Tijuanna Adetunji is combating the problem by speaking in churches, passing out literature, and looking for a building in which to start a PRC. She wants to establish it "on the west side of Montgomery, where the black folks are." Adetunji says this with an ironic chuckle, as though the need were as obvious as the need for shelter in a storm.

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