President Barack Obama surprised even battle-hardened pro-life Americans with his official remarks on the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that has, since 1973, littered garbage dumps across America with the corpses of 50 million babies, 32 percent of them African-American. In a White House press release praising the landmark case (notable both for its outcome and for the way it squeezed blood out of the turnip of constitutional penumbrae), the President pledged to “continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”
The statement on its surface reads like a PSA from the Disney Channel, a favorite of Mr. Obama’s daughters Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10: Follow your dreams, dream big, let nothing stand in the way of your dreams. Yet underneath is the simmering stench of latex and death.
Babies get in the way of dreams.
Malia, says her father, dreams of getting her driver’s license and having her own car. In a speech last summer to U.S. automakers, Obama joked that he hoped they were working on a model “that gets a top speed of 15 miles an hour. [And one that would deploy an] ejector seat any time boys are in the car.” As a father, he knows what’s on the minds of 16-year-old boys.
And what happens to a boy if he fumbles around in an automobile, with no particular place to go, and happens to unfasten his young female passenger’s safety belt? Well, nothing, really. He can go on and pursue his dreams of being an NBA star or a community organizer.
Were it not for Roe, however, the unlucky girl, somebody’s daughter, might face the nightmare of morning sickness, an episiotomy, or stretch marks, not to mention lining up to register at Target or AFDC.
Roe v. Wade helps to fulfill little girls’ dreams.
“When Negroes have been able to ascend economically, statistics reveal they plan their families with even greater care than whites.” Thus wrote Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1966, in a speech on the occasion of his acceptance of Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award. “Negroes of higher economic and educational status actually have fewer children than white families in the same circumstances.”
In his speech, Dr. King lamented the “Negro folkways” carried from large plantations and farms into the ghettos of America’s cities, which resulted in “many unwanted children.” But the blame for their sad existence fell squarely on the shoulders of powerful whites, who, by thwarting Sanger’s efforts, withheld a “profoundly important ingredient in [the Negro man’s] quest for security and a decent life.”
Providing ready access to contraception to black families, King insisted, would help to free the Negro man, unlocking “the income potential he can command.”
One week before the recent Roe anniversary, Mr. Obama marked the national MLK Day by visiting a largely black Washington-area school. “Today, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” he told the children. “And we should honor that legacy by acting as drum majors for service and lifting up those less fortunate.”
It’s hard to imagine anyone less fortunate, statistically, than an African-American baby in the womb. For, although blacks make up roughly 12.2 percent of the population of the United States, black women account for between 30 and 38 percent of all abortions. (According to the Guttmacher Institute, whites, at 63.7 percent of the population, have 36 percent of all abortions; Hispanics, at 16.3 percent, have 25 percent of the abortions.)
Sanger’s and King’s dream of the great leveling effect of free and easy contraception sank under the weight of the Sexual Revolution. Ever since Roe, Planned Parenthood has tried to fulfill that dream by transforming itself into a killing factory. And despite the civil-rights revolution of the 60’s, black ghettos still exist, providing a prime location for Planned Parenthood clinics, who prey on the poor of every ethnicity, but on blacks especially.
One part of Dr. King’s statistical analysis holds true: In the years to come, we won’t likely find the President’s daughters in the waiting room of an abortuary. They are well educated, affluent, and live in an intact home. But not every African-American family can afford a hybrid car with an ejector seat: 27.4 percent remain below the poverty level, imprisoned by a welfare state that offers them abortion as a medicine of hope.
“I understand teenage-hood is complicated,” the President told automakers. But his daughters need not worry about randy young men with illicit dreams: “I should also point out that I have men with guns that surround them, often.”
Roe v. Wade, now entering ripe middle age, made sure that no protection would surround the very least and most vulnerable among us—black, Hispanic, or white—who dream away silently in their uterine cradles. Whether the product of outdated folkways or of fumblings in fancy cars, they are, after all, a psychological and financial burden, an obstacle standing in the way of big dreams. As such, they may be discriminated against at will.
Their dreams don’t matter.
[This article first appeared in the March 2012 issue of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. Click here to subscribe.]