A leading abortion research organization has doubled down on its findings that most abortion clinics are not in minority neighborhoods.
Sixty percent of abortion providers are in majority white ZIP codes, Guttmacher Institute said in a new report.
“The claim that most abortion providers are located in black or Hispanic neighborhoods is false,” the institute said, adding that its updated information confirms a similar report it issued in 2011.
Not surprisingly, pro-life advocates disagree.
If people will take a closer look, they will see that — at least in the case of 165 Planned Parenthood clinics in 2010 — almost 80 percent were “within walking distance” of communities with large minority populations, said the Rev. Arnold M. Culbreath, urban outreach director of Protecting Black Life, which has a report from Life Issues Institute to back up his claims.
The clinic-placement issue is a major talking point in the pro-life movement, said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. If they are still trying to disprove this, “it means that what we are doing is working, and it’s getting to them,” she said.
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The theme of genocide-by-abortion has long been used by pro-life leaders, who say the eugenics activism of Margaret Sanger and other early abortion supporters is alive and well in modern abortion practices.
Pro-choice organizations push back, saying minority women’s oppressions means they are in critical need of reproductive justice, including abortion services. Accusing abortion providers of racism and genocide is “a bizarre conspiracy theory,” the Georgia-based group Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective said in a report.
Minority women, like other women, seek abortion because of unwanted pregnancies, not “aggressive marketing,” Guttmacher researchers say. Many women in minority communities face “particular difficulties” in getting high-quality contraceptives, as well as other health services, Guttmacher official Susan A. Cohen said in an often-cited 2008 article.
According to the federal government’s latest data, most abortions are performed on white women (37 percent), followed closely by black women (36 percent) and Hispanic women (21 percent).
Black women, however, have the highest abortion rate (nearly 32 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44) and ratio (483 abortions per 1,000 live births), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, based on data from 28 reporting areas. In comparison, white women had a rate of 8.6 abortions per 1,000 women and a ratio of 141 abortions per 1,000 live births. Hispanic women had a rate of 18.6 abortions per 1,000 women and ratio of 218 abortions per 1,000 live births.
In their new “evidence check,” Guttmacher researchers examined their fresh data on 1,720 abortion providers, the ZIP codes of the providers and 2007-2011 data from the American Community Survey.
They found that 60 percent of all providers are in “majority-white” neighborhoods.
Moreover, this result stayed true even when only providers with 400 or more abortions a year were looked at: Out of 576 providers, 58 percent were in majority white ZIP codes, followed by ones with no racial majority (16 percent), majority Hispanic (16 percent), majority black (9 percent) and majority other race (1 percent).
Guttmacher urged readers to share its information and “help us dispel this myth once and for all.”
Pro-life groups do not accept such data, saying other data show that minority communities are targeted.
In October 2012, Life Issues Institute looked at the racial makeup of census tracts in a two-mile radius of 165 Planned Parenthood clinics. It found that 79 percent of the clinics were clearly close to neighborhoods with relatively high black or Hispanic populations, said report author Susan Enouen.
The data, which is on an interactive display at protectingblacklife.org, is “rock solid,” said Mr. Culbreath.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the study, but in 2011, a spokeswoman denounced former presidential candidate Herman Cain when he said PPFA was “planned genocide” for black communities.
Such language is “inflammatory and divisive” and Mr. Cain is “wrong on the facts and clearly out of the mainstream,” Veronica Byrd, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said at the time, citing Guttmacher’s 2011 report that found only one in 10 providers were in a majority black community.
• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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