Conspiracy Watch: Is Abortion Black Genocide?

Are pro-choice policies decimating the African-American population? MoJo examines the myth.

Illustration: Peter Hoey

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


The latest installment in our ongoing collection of wonderfully weird (and totally whack) conspiracy theories. Find more Conspiracy Watch entries here.

THE CONSPIRACY THEORY: Legalized abortion is a genocidal scheme to wipe out black people. Even though African Americans make up 13 percent of the population, the vast majority of abortion clinics are in minority communities, and 50 percent of all black fetuses are aborted. As a pro-life billboard posted earlier this year in Georgia put it, “Black Children Are an Endangered Species.”

THE CONSPIRACY THEORISTS: This idea goes back to the early 1970s, when the Black Panthers claimed that abortion would “destroy our people” and Jesse Jackson told Jet that “abortion is genocide.” Jackson later went pro-choice, but he’s still cited by Clenard Childress, the creator of BlackGenocide.org and the president of Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN), a prominent black anti-abortion organization. LEARN has partnered with Life Dynamics, a predominantly white group that runs KlannedParenthood.com and produced a two-hour film, Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America. After screening the film last year, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) declared, “We are besieged by a racist abortion policy.”

MEANWHILE, BACK ON EARTH: Black women have 30 percent of all abortions, a disproportionately high rate; more than one-third of black women’s pregnancies (but not half) are terminated. However, Planned Parenthood points out that just 6 percent of its clinics are located in zip codes where the majority of residents are black. And according to the census, the African American population is expected to double by 2050.

Kookiness Rating: Tin Foil Hat SmallTin Foil Hat SmallTin Foil Hat SmallTin Foil Hat SmallTin Foil Hat Small (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.