Whether it's a shocking billboard in our neighborhoods, the federal government trying to defund Planned Parenthood or states trying to pass laws about when life really begins, it cannot be denied that a woman's right to choose is under serious attack in our country.
Now shots are being fired by Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain.
Back in May, Cain told a crowd at the Heritage Foundation that Planned Parenthood was created to "help kill Black babies before they came into the world" and that it was "planned genocide." In an interview on Face the Nation on October 30, Cain stated that he opposes abortion even after rape or incest or when a woman's life is at risk, contradicting previous statements in which he favored exceptions.
He also continued on his "Planned Parenthood is racist theory" by saying, "In Margaret Sanger's own words — she didn't use the word 'genocide,' — but she did talk about preventing the increasing number of poor Blacks in this country by preventing Black babies from being born."
He also claimed that 75 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics were set in Black neighborhoods.
Is this anything near the truth?
While a recent CDC report found that Black abortion rates are triple the national average, Cain's claims about the number of clinics in our neighborhoods are completely false. According to USA Today, recent data shows that only nine percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in areas where African-Americans make up at least half of the population.
The article continued:
That doesn't support Cain's implication that Sanger's "objective was to put these centers in primarily Black communities," or that "75%" of clinics were in such neighborhoods. It should also be noted that these early clinics were focused on providing birth control, and Sanger herself warned of the dangers of abortion. "While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization," she wrote in her 1920 book Woman and the New Race.
Cain's claim also isn't true today. Tait Sye, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, told us in an email that "73% of Planned Parenthood health centers are located in rural or medically underserved areas." Not all of those would be predominately Black communities.
Abortion will always be an issue that divides this country. Some people refer to it as murder and believe it's a sin. Others believe that it's a matter of choice and that women have the right to do with their body as they see fit. And while Sanger may have been controversial and have said some questionable comments about race throughout her life, the Planned Parenthood of our time shouldn't be unfairly attacked.
Regardless of what anyone believes, the debate about this issue must be grounded in the truth — not lies or exaggerations.
Mr. Cain, you’ve got to do better.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)