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Abortion History Politics Race

The Racist Roots of American Abortion

There have always been those who support abortion for racist reasons.

Though the majority of pro-choice people do not fall into this category, arguments based on racism have been used to support the legalization of abortion from the very beginning. The argument that abortion cuts down the number of minority children is sometimes put forth.

The National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now called NARAL Pro-Choice America) is one of the oldest pro-choice organizations in the United States. It was founded in 1969. One of the founders was Lawrence Lader, a pro-choice activist who wrote a book called Breeding Ourselves to Death. In this book, Lader puts forth many arguments as to why anti-abortion laws should be done away with. On page 23 of the book, he makes the following statement:

lovethem2Above all, society must grasp the grim relationship between unwanted children and the violent rebellion of minority groups.

In this argument, he advocates abortion to control what he saw as the “violent” non-white citizens. He is perpetuating the stereotype that minority children grow up to be violent adults and utilizing a racist stereotype to frighten white people into supporting his cause.

Aiming his rhetoric, perhaps, at white upper-class men and women in the 1960s, he used the fear of African-American violence to get them to support abortion.

Perhaps people who felt threatened by the civil rights movement were his intended target for this rhetoric.



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