In 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. shared his dream with the nation, he never envisioned an America where ”reproductive justice” would end 56 million innocent human lives. His dream never pictured a nation where black boys and black girls would never be able to join hands with white boys and white girls, as sisters and brothers, because “freedom of choice” determined some humans are simply not equal. His dream never imagined that in the state where millions have been welcomed into a harbor that serves as a shining beacon of Liberty, millions would be violently deprived of their own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Abortion is beyond a “healthcare” issue; it is a justice issue. New York women and teens deserve more than a butcher posing as a physician. They deserve more than a culture of massive abandonment that leaves so many single moms in poverty. They need better resources that give them real choices–not an industry that profits when someone dies.
Our country has already been down this road of injustice before. Any time in human history when a government determines someone is less than human, destruction and violence always follow. New York served as a vital part of the underground railroad for slaves deemed less than human by politicians. The Empire State should reclaim it’s role in elevating human dignity by rejecting a culture of death and an abortion industry birthed in eugenic racism. Just as Martin Luther King Jr. boldly spoke to a nation’s conscience on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial over 50 years ago:“Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
The Radiance Foundation, the group which consistently propagates the widely discredited smear that Planned Parenthood is using legal abortion to exterminate African Americans, is using Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to make it appear that King would oppose abortion rights:
There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary. Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.
There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger's early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist — a nonviolent resister. She was willing to accept scorn and abuse until the truth she saw was revealed to the millions. At the turn of the century she went into the slums and set up a birth control clinic, and for this deed she went to jail because she was violating an unjust law. Yet the years have justified her actions. She launched a movement which is obeying a higher law to preserve human life under humane conditions. Margaret Sanger had to commit what was then called a crime in order to enrich humanity, and today we honor her courage and vision; for without them there would have been no beginning. Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her. Negroes have no mere academic nor ordinary interest in family planning. They have a special and urgent concern.
Recently the subject of Negro family life has received extensive attention. Unfortunately, studies have overemphasized the problem of the Negro male ego and almost entirely ignored the most serious element — Negro migration. During the past half century Negroes have migrated on a massive scale, transplanting millions from rural communities to crammed urban ghettoes. In their migration, as with all migrants, they carried with them the folkways of the countryside into an inhospitable city slum. The size of family that may have been appropriate and tolerable on a manually cultivated farm was carried over to the jammed streets of the ghetto. In all respects Negroes were atomized, neglected and discriminated against. Yet, the worst omission was the absence of institutions to acclimate them to their new environment. Margaret Sanger, who offered an important institutional remedy, was unfortunately ignored by social and political leaders in this period. In consequence, Negro folkways in family size persisted. The problem was compounded when unrestrained exploitation and discrimination accented the bewilderment of the newcomer, and high rates of illegitimacy and fragile family relationships resulted.
For the Negro, therefore, intelligent guides of family planning are a profoundly important ingredient in his quest for security and a decent life. There are mountainous obstacles still separating Negroes from a normal existence. Yet one element in stabilizing his life would be an understanding of and easy access to the means to develop a family related in size to his community environment and to the income potential he can command.
This is not to suggest that the Negro will solve all his problems through Planned Parenthood. His problems are far more complex, encompassing economic security, education, freedom from discrimination, decent housing and access to culture. Yet if family planning is sensible it can facilitate or at least not be an obstacle to the solution of the many profound problems that plague him.
For these reasons we are natural allies of those who seek to inject any form of planning in our society that enriches life and guarantees the right to exist in freedom and dignity.
For these constructive movements we are prepared to give our energies and consistent support; because in the need for family planning, Negro and white have a common bond; and together we can and should unite our strength for the wise preservation, not of races in general, but of the one race we all constitute — the human race.