Lately, I’ve been contemplating the extremes pro-life advocates will go to in order to spread our message, and whether those actions are honourable. What about those who oppose our work? We are no strangers to outlandish claims and ad hominem attacks – we’ve been called “fanatics,” manipulative, and much worse.  I hesitate to say anything truly “new” has been added to the list of late, but the terms that are at the front of some minds this week are “privileged” and (implicitly) “racist.”

One of Calvin Freiburger’s newest pieces for Live Action highlights the mistaken beliefs of University of Pennsylvania assistant professor Salamisha Tillet. Tillet says:

I think [anti-abortion initiatives are] one response to that sense that there’s a decreasing white majority in the country, and that women’s bodies, and white women’s bodies in particular, are obviously a crucial way of reproducing whiteness, white supremacy, white privilege. And so I think it’s just a kind of clamping down on women’s bodies, in particular white women’s bodies, even though women of color are really caught in the fray.

Racism and colonialism are horrendous practices. I understand that as a white person, I can never fully comprehend what I have never had to live with. Even so, abortion – rather than opposition to it – is a symptom of what these prejudices leave behind. Planned Parenthood, after all, was founded to help “exterminate” the African-American population and may still target minority communities. Its founder, Margaret Sanger, was known for remarks like:

The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We    don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.

Life Always points to statistics from New York City that shows that abortion is carried out disproportionately on blacks. Nearly 60% of black women who were pregnant had induced abortions compared to 20.4% of white women. Those who genuinely value human live will work to rescue every parent and child, no matter their background or culture, but those are troubling numbers.

Our society has come a long way from the early days of the civil rights movement, but the blight of racism has not completely vanished. There are more than a few people left on this planet who hold such views. Some will probably call themselves pro-life. I find that revolting, but it is no excuse to paint the mainstream pro-life movement with such a broad brush and anyone who tries to do so needs to improve their research skills.

Taylor Hyatt is a summer student at The Interim.