Moral Credibility and Ethnic Diversity in the Pro-Life Movement

What does it mean to be pro-life to those who are part of the pro-life movement? As a pro-life African American, sometimes, I am not sure. I know what it means to me, but I am often left wondering what it means for many of my fellow pro-life advocates who are white. I am not the only one who wonders this, as I have had many conversations with other African Americans regarding the pro-life movement. Often, we lament what seems to be inconsistency in the pro-life movement. Most of my fellow black pro-life friends all have experiences where they have heard someone who is pro-life use the statistics of black abortion rates to defend their cause. These facts are true, and the disproportionality of black abortion should be alarming to all African Americans. When black people consider Planned Parenthood, this reality should be all the more concerning considering who the founder of the organization is and her thoughts pertaining to ethnic cleansing.

However, concern comes into place as we hear people use black abortion stats to defend the pro-life cause, only to ignore or minimize similar statistics as it relates to all the other ways black people are marginalized, oppressed, and at times murdered within American society. For many black pro-life advocates, black abortion stats can seem to be a form of tokenized information that is used to serve an agenda that limits itself to black life before exiting the womb.

Recently, I spoke to a member of the Black Lives Matter movement who was adamantly pro-choice. I asked him questions regarding why he found his position more appealing than the pro-life position and his response was rather alarming. He told me that he was turned off by the pro-life movement because of the way its white members quoted black statistics about abortion. For him, it was very typical for white people to try and win him to the pro-life cause by quoting statistics of black abortion death. He never actually heard the stats, he didn’t care. For him, he refused to listen to anyone who dismissed the stats of black death among unarmed adults. In other words, white pro-life advocates who could not empathize and affirm the need to defend black lives after birth had no credibility to try and defend the value of black lives before birth. For him, and many others, doing so makes the pro-life cause seem more like a political agenda than an issue of life and death.

Ultimately, I was able to come alongside this man, and in a few hours, he became a full-fledged activist for the unborn. He was a member of the Black Lives Matter branch in my city, and he was anxious to speak with other members about their need to protest for the lives of the unborn. I accomplished this using the same black abortion stats I have heard many of my white friends use. The difference was I engaged with him using these stats, along with all the other data regarding the needs of the black community and human flourishing. As he heard abortion data from someone who was holistically invested in the needs of the black community, he was willing to listen. I gained credibility despite not being a Democrat and despite admitting that I did not vote for Obama.

It is my belief that the pro-life movement will gain a significant following if it divorces itself from a political party and emphasizes in greater detail that it is about defending life. As of now, there are many minorities who are skeptical of the pro-life movement because they see it as being synonymous with the Republican Party, which they believe ignores a multitude of other issues affecting their communities. I am personally convinced that moral credibility is the greatest obstacle that hinders greater ethnic and socio-economic diversity in the pro-life movement and not the actual facts pertaining to abortion. The greatest apologetic need facing the pro-life movement in our time is its need to demonstrate a consistent morality. Technology has caught up with the movement and there is little need to defend the personhood of the unborn in our time. You will be hard pressed to find a millennial that doesn’t affirm the personhood of the unborn. Transforming an individual from someone who acknowledges the unborn into someone who will be a voice for it is largely determined by whether or not they can be convinced that their voice is part of a morally consistent movement, and not just simply an arm of a political party.

If you have been silent concerning minority struggles and indifferent to racialized injustice, you have very little credibility behind statistics you quote concerning unborn black children. You will likely not convince minorities to join you in your cause. They will consider you a person who is seeking to capitalize on black death not because you truly care about black lives and the black family, but for your own agenda. It will send them flying in the opposite direction.

If you want to appeal to minorities concerning your pro-life convictions, it has to be from a posture of someone who is an advocate for black lives when its convenient (statistics that aide the pro-life cause) and when it is personally costly (speaking on ethnic reconciliation and racialized Injustice). Otherwise, pro-life seems to many minorities to be a policy position that truly refers only to life before the baby has a perceived color, and when it can serve a certain political agenda. It is important that all pro-life advocates ask a few important questions. Is your credibility to march as pro-life hindered by your indifference in other areas related to human flourishing? Do you lack credibility to quote black abortion statistics because you have shown a lack of interest or concern in other areas affecting the flourishing of black lives? Let your pro-life convictions be the overflow of a love that is passionate about all life and encompasses the Imago Dei in all people through all of its precious stages.

Co Authors :

4 thoughts on “Moral Credibility and Ethnic Diversity in the Pro-Life Movement”

    • I find myself learning from the posts and watching News every day since I have been semi-retired. I see and hear the news about the Abortion of the Unborn Baby’s and the Abortion Baby’s Born Alive Survivors. So many people are fighting to keep the Abortion of the helpless Baby’s. The U. S. Democrats House of Rep of Congress are supporting the Abortion Provider Planned Parenthood by Passing Funding and Passing the Abortion Laws for the Abortion Provider. The Democrats have voted for the 40th time Against the Abortion Baby’s Born Alive Survivors Murder Infanticide to Stop It from becoming Law. They want the Abortion Providers Planned Parenthood to Continue the Baby’s Born Alive Survivors Murder to Continue to murder the Helpless Baby’s by the Abortion Clinics.
      I have got so involved in wanting other people who don’t know anything about the Abortion Provider Planned Parenthood to know that the Baby’s are being Murdered at average of 300,000 lives a year. This is not the way that God intended us to Live our lives and taking the lives of the Helpless Innocent Baby’s by Abortion of the Unborn and Abortion Baby’s Born Alive Survivors.
      To learn so much about Planned Parenthood and it’s founder Margaret Sanger that had Obsession for Abortion and she preyed on the Black Population for purpose of Population Control. She built her Clinics in Black Neighborhoods. She was Evil and had so many things bad she stood for. I know I can’t tell everyone that our Democrat House Rep of Congress Supports this Evil but I can try.
      Today I read about Abortion Born Baby left for 10 hours with no intervention to save him. This only hurts me more and the worst part is I get mad and want to tell people that our government House of Rep of Congress Supports this Abortion Provider Planned Parenthood and has favor for the Funding and Passing their Abortion Laws and in return for the support Democrats have been receiving money as Campaign Contributions for their support. This should be Against the Law.
      As a Christian I will continue to pray for the Helpless Abortion Baby’s being Murdered for money and pray that Abortion will be Banned to stop this Cruel and inhumane horrific death by Abortion murder and that the Abortion Provider Planned Parenthood will be closed permanently and future help for these women will be not Abortion but Adoption. Just really hurts to know that daily the Baby’s are being destroyed by the hands of so many And we are losing our Baby’s generation now and future Baby’s Generations.

  1. Great article, thanks.

    If I understand correctly, you believe that many white pro-lifers are already interested in and concerned about “the needs of the black community and human flourishing.” At least, you don’t say anything to suggest you believe the contrary. So your criticism of such white pro-lifers is a criticism purely of their tactics, not of their deeper attitudes.

    If that is your thinking, my only suggestion would be that you make that more explicit. You do already say, “I am personally convinced that moral credibility [of white pro-lifers] is the greatest obstacle that hinders greater ethnic and socio-economic diversity in the pro-life movement and not the actual facts pertaining to abortion.” To say that some people have low credibility is not to say that they necessarily deserve that low credibility, and “the greatest obstacle [is] not the actual facts pertaining to abortion” says that white pro-lifers are correct in the substance of their advocacy – which would mean correct in that substance regardless of the style of the advocacy – so any mistake they are making is purely in style, or tactics. However, I think that your already-persuasive article would be even more persuasive to many white pro-lifers if you make it completely explicit: “I am criticizing your tactics and not your attitude.”

    You say that the BLM person you spoke to had “never actually heard the stats” that he was hearing from white pro-lifers. In a framework of pure rationality, those white pro-lifers’ approach should have worked with that BLM person regardless of whether they outwardly and pro-actively expressed “concern in other areas affecting the flourishing of black lives” or not, or even HAD any such concern. Moreover, in a framework of pure rationality, that BLM person would not have assumed that a lack of outward and pro-active expression necessarily meant a lack of inner concern. What you are proposing, if I understand correctly, is a change of approach whereby white pro-lifers allocate a bigger proportion of their activist energy away from their strict anti-abortion focus and toward expressing outwardly concerns (which they already have inwardly) regarding the flourishing of black lives in areas other than abortion – a change of approach as a tactical decision. I think it would help to spell out the fact that that change of approach is mainly necessary BECAUSE we do not live in a completely rational world.

    By the way, I think that white pro-lifers should emphasize more than they do the fact that if the policies they advocate were to go into effect, one result would be a significant increase in both the absolute and percentage black population of the US. And pro-choicers are calling us racist?

  2. Great article. I, too, am saddened by the attitude of many for human life after birth. Pro-life should be from conception to the end…from an unborn baby to a neglected old person, to an undocumented child, to a black man killed by police, to a black man killed within his own community, to white suburbanite overdosing. . God finds each of those people worthy, as they are made in His Image. And I believe He is always and everywhere trying to draw them closer to Himself. May we not neglect them or Him in our rhetoric. Let love prevail


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