Hoisting signs declaring “abortion is not a family value,” about 60 black demonstrators descended on Democratic and Republican headquarters on Capitol Hill Thursday morning to demand that political candidates refuse funding from Planned Parenthood.
Activists and pastors claimed that a disproportionate amount of the nation’s abortions are performed on black women, many of them in clinics operated by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
“Planned Parenthood is a lying, racist organization,” said Alveda King, niece of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, adding that one of two abortions performed on her occurred at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
“Planned Parenthood says they provide health services to the black community,” said the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of the Los Angeles-based Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny. “I ask, what is healthy about killing black children?”
The family planning giant announced in January that it would contribute $10 million to pro-choice candidates through its Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Standing in front of Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters on South Capitol Street and the Republican National Committee (RNC) building on First Street SE, demonstrators ripped up symbolic $10 million checks made out to “pro-abortion candidates.”
“We are here to urge Democratic candidates that donations from Planned Parenthood are racist to the very core,” said Day Gardner, president of the National Black Prolife Union. “I’m sick of hearing this is a Republican issue. For children killed or maimed by abortion, it’s a life-and-death issue.”
Speakers called on presumptive presidential candidates Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, to stop abortion. They also criticized the Congressional Black Caucus, whose members are all Democrats, for “denying black babies their rights,” and chided the GOP as well.
“Their platform says ‘pro-ife’ but I don’t see the follow-through,” said Bishop Harry Jackson, a registered Democrat and pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md. “It’s time for the Republican Party to decide it won’t take money from the organization but also enforce the laws on the books.”
Neither Planned Parenthood nor officials at the RNC and DNC had any immediate comment.
Last year, Planned Parenthood received $336.7 million annually in government funds, about one-third of its $926.4 million 2006-2007 budget. The federal grants and contracts include Title X family planning funds.
The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, would defund Planned Parenthood. It has languished in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce since Nov. 9.
An effort attach a similar language to an appropriations bill failed last summer. But Matt Lloyd, a spokesman for Mr. Pence, said House Republicans will try again this summer.