Anti-abortion rights groups have had varied responses to a report released by the Guttmacher Institute yesterday. The report shows that there has been a decrease in abortions among all subgroups of women, with the exception of women with low incomes. Among the more interesting responses is a claim by Life News that the report validates a campaign launched by anti-abortion groups targeting African-American women.
According to Life News, the fact that rates of abortions among African-African women decreased “validates the work pro-life groups have done to reach out to the black community.”
Life News is referring to billboard campaigns funded by Texas-based Heroic Media, which were aimed at African-American women. The billboards featured a message that read, “the most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” These billboards made their way all over the country, including New York City and Jacksonville.
Campaigns were subsequently launched by pro-choice activists against the billboards. Eventually, the groups succeeded in having the billboards brought down. MTV also recently distanced itself from the group after Heroic Media claimed that their “spring Northeast marketing campaign would include television ads on MTV and BET.”
The Guttmacher Institute reported that abortion rates “decreased 18% among African American women” recently, which is “the largest decline among the four racial and ethnic groups examined.”
However, the study also points out that despite the recent decline, the abortion rate among African-American women is still higher than “the rate for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women: 40.2 per 1,000, compared with 28.7 and 11.5, respectively.”
Rachel K. Jones, one of the authors of the report, tells The Florida Independent that these findings in no way substantiate Life News’ claim.
Jones explains that the birth rate among African-American women barely changed at all during this period. She said it even decreased a bit. If Life News’ claims that African-American women were choosing to continue their pregnancies were accurate, there would have been an increase in birth rates. However, there was not.
Jones says this decrease in abortion rates has to do with an increase in contraception use among black women. Particularly, increased use of highly effective contraceptive practices such as IUDs, which is part of a report released recently by the Guttmacher Institute.
“If anything,” she says, “this research suggests that prevention is to blame here.”