NAACP Again Rejects Pro-Life Resolution

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has for the second time in four years rejected a proposed resolution expressing opposition to abortion because of abortion's disproportionate impact on minorities, supporters of the resolution said.

The civil rights organization is holding its annual convention in Detroit July 7-10. For the second time since 2004, its Macon, Ga., chapter proposed a resolution that would align the group with the pro-life movement. But for the second time, the resolution was blocked by NAACP leadership.

"It is deplorable that this noble institution with such a rich history would choose again to censor one of its own chapters," Rev. Clenard Childress Jr. said in a statement. "What have we come to when those whom (sic) have the charge of protecting our rights willfully choose to take them away?"

Childress is the assistant national director of LEARN, an African American pro-life organization. He said legal abortions end 1,452 African American pregnancies every day and that African Americans account for 36 percent of all abortions.

Childress told Cybercast News Service the NAACP had told supporters of the resolution that it sent a letter to the Macon chapter, explaining why it had been rejected.

"Supposedly there was a letter stating that the resolution had errors in it," he said, adding that the Macon chapter denied receiving any such letter. The delegate heading the drive, Georgia NAACP President Edward DuBose, did not respond to a request for comment.

"These are issues unquestionably that need discussion on the convention floor by the delegates that are there, and the NAACP at this present time chooses to take the position that it's not relevant," Childress said.

"We need to bring attention to the fact that this is obviously a political positioning of NAACP that does not reflect the values of the body that they represent," he added.

In 2004, the NAACP issued a resolution voicing support for equal access to family planning services and urged its members to participate in a rally for abortion rights.

Noting that "women of color seek abortion at rates higher than their percentage in the population," the organization said that "a woman denied the right to control her own body is denied equal protection of the law, a fight the NAACP has fought for and defended for nearly 100 years."

The move sparked the first challenge by the Macon chapter. That first proposal, too, was rejected by leadership and not allowed to come under convention consideration.

A 2004 Black America's Political Action Committee poll found that a slim majority of African Americans supported a woman's unhindered "right to choose." Fourteen percent opposed abortion in all circumstances, while 32 percent favored some restrictions on the procedure.

The niece of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., earlier urged the NAACP to consider proposals opposing abortion during its annual convention this week in Detroit.

"The NAACP has always been about justice. Today, there is no greater injustice facing black people than abortion," Alveda King said in a statement.

"[T]he national leadership of the NAACP needs to address what abortion has done to the African American community and our nation as a whole, even if it means making some people in high positions uncomfortable," she said.

King has long been an outspoken opponent of abortion. In June, she criticized the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates for discussing during a debate how AIDS disproportionately affects blacks without mentioning abortion - "another disproportionately high killer of African Americans."

In January 2005, King demonstrated with pro-life activists outside the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal.

A spokesman for the NAACP did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

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