(CNSNews.com) – Pro-lifers including lawmakers seeking to outlaw abortions at 20 weeks or later in the District of Columbia voice concern for black babies while in the womb, but “could care less” about them after they are born, a senior Planned Parenthood official charged Tuesday.
Ludwig Gaines, the African American leadership and engagement director for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was replying to a question about abortion’s disproportionate affect on black women.
Gaines was taking part in a press conference criticizing legislation introduced in the House and Senate that would protect unborn children at 20 weeks gestation or older from being aborted by making abortions performed at or after that time unlawful in D.C.
CNSNews.com asked him about the fact that African American women have more abortions than other American women. (Blacks account for 33 percent of abortions but make up 13 percent of the U.S. population.)
“Quite frankly,” he replied, “if you look at the records of the proponents of this bill and others who would support it, they are the very same people who will not support after-school care, or food stamps, or other programs meant to elevate communities of color.
“Suddenly, they’re concerned about black children quite frankly prior to birth, but could care less once they arrive.”
Gaines accused such people of hypocrisy.
“So it’s time, I think, that that hypocrisy is exposed. Quite frankly, it is something that has gotten free rein, but it needs to stop. It needs to be exposed.”
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) sponsored that District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the House last month. The number of co-sponsors has since climbed to 130.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced companion legislation in the Senate last week, with the support of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
During Tuesday’s press conference, District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said the bill – which she dubbed the “Frank-Lee abortion ban” – was “dangerous.”
Gaines called the legislation an “attack on women.”
“This is about women’s rights,” he told the press conference, which was also attended by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. “This is about their bodily integrity.”
Trent’s bill cites the portion of the U.S. Constitution that gives Congress authority to legislate in D.C.
It also points to science showing that, although unborn children may feel pain at much earlier stages of pregnancy, 20 weeks gestation is the threshold most experts agree is the point from which significant pain can be felt.
“Currently, in our nation’s capital, unborn children may legally be killed at any point up to birth, for any reason,” Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee said in a letter supporting the legislation.
“Abortions are advertised, and performed, in the sixth month and later,” he said. “This means that unborn children who are capable of experiencing excruciating pain are killed every day.”
A transcript of the question and answer between CNSNews.com and Gaines follows:
CNSNews.com: I wonder if you could comment on critics who say that African Americans are disproportionally affected by abortion; that more African American women have abortions.
Gaines: I think you have to obviously look at – and this is where I think our opponents often miss the mark – you must look at conditions; you must look those impacts in communities. You must look at – and, quite frankly, if you look at the records of the proponents of this bill and others who would support it, they are the very same people who will not support after-school care, or food stamps, or other programs meant to elevate communities of color. Suddenly, they’re concerned about black children, quite frankly prior to birth, but could care less once they arrive.
So it’s time that that hypocrisy, I think, is exposed. Quite frankly, it is something that has gotten free rein, but it needs to stop. It needs to be exposed.