Columnist Lucky Rosenbloom wrongly attributes to the Guttmacher Institute the claim — itself false — that abortion providers “target” African American women [column of April 11]. In reality, disproportionately high abortion (and unplanned birth) rates among women of color are the direct result of their higher rates of unintended pregnancy, which in turn reflect economic and social inequalities that are widespread and pervasive.
The result is stark disparities not only on various reproductive health outcomes, but also on a broad range of health indicators, including high rates of diabetes, heart disease, AIDS and cancer. Antiabortion activists ignore these systemic inequities and instead cynically accuse abortion providers of targeting minority women.
In fact, fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in predominantly African American neighborhoods. More than six out of 10 are in majority-White neighborhoods.
Rather than promoting misinformation and bogus conspiracy theories, let’s focus on policies that help women avoid unintended pregnancy, including making comprehensive sex education and voluntary, affordable contraceptive services universally available. Doing so will empower women and their partners to decide for themselves whether and when to have children.
But let’s also be clear that the most effective approach to overcoming entrenched inequality is to ground unintended pregnancy prevention efforts in broader anti-poverty and social justice efforts.
Susan A. Cohen, MPH, is director of government affairs at Guttmacher Institute in Washington, DC.