Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

It is rare when a triumvirate of significant political events and issues converge within a 24 hour period. It is rarer even still when a profound thread runs through all three. Fifty years ago Martin Luther King Jr. with eloquence and determination delivered a speech which galvanized the civil rights movement by reminding Americans that the black struggle for civil rights was synonymous with American ideals. For that we honor his courage and set aside the third Monday in January as a holiday to recognize his work.

On the same day, America’s first black president was inaugurated to his second term— a feat not possible without King and fellow civil rights leaders who paved the way. However, somewhere between King and President Obama, the civil-rights-stitching of the American mosaic somehow came undone—one with profound effects on the black community. Which brings us to one of our greatest political tragedies.

Ten years after King’s famous speech, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling more aligned with the Dred Scott decision than it did with any civil rights advances. The 1857 Dred decision classified blacks as property. The Roe v Wade ruling of January 22, 1973 stripped the unborn of all races of any legal protection. It reduced them to mere property, or a “choice.” It is a tragedy when a certain group of people are denied rights because of where they reside, their physical attributes, or their sex. Yet the largest class of citizens systematically denied their civil rights today are the unborn. They reside in the womb and are hard to see; they aren’t fully developed and have no voice; and some are aborted simply because they are the wrong gender, usually female.

Ironically, a disproportionate number of the same minorities King fought to free from the chains of segregation are aborted today.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, approximately 30 percent of all abortions are performed on black women while they only make up 14 percent of the female population age 15-44).  Another 34 percent are performed on Hispanics and other minorities. This is no coincidence.

In 1939, Margaret Sanger launched the Negro Project which insidiously sought the demise of blacks in the South.  Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood, advocated eugenics and “racial purity” in her book The Pivot of Civilization. She called for the elimination of “human weeds,” "for the cessation of charity, for the segregation of morons, misfits, and maladjusted," and for the sterilization of "genetically inferior races."  Her next book might well have been the Politically Incorrect Guide to bigotry: How many ways to offend?  But I digress.

Sanger’s caustic racism reached its target in minority neighborhoods where the majority of Planned Parenthood clinics are located today.  It’s now the nation’s largest abortion provider and had a hand in depriving an estimated 16 million black babies of their first civil right. How many MLK’s and Michael Jordan’s have been aborted since no one will ever know. The millions of teachers, businessmen, scientists, musicians, moms and dads who were never born need a champion, but they probably won’t find it in the government. Last year, state, federal and local governments subsidized Planned Parenthood with $542.4 million tax dollars. Nor will they find a friend in Barack Obama, the abortion giant’s biggest ally. Obama’s pro-abortion position might have endeared him to Cecile Richards and the Democratic Party, but it’s a position that betrays the plight of his people.

The black community’s struggle for civil rights was led by the church in the Deep South and they found their most eloquent voice in King who was after all a pastor. Biblical principles of justice and equality motivated him to stand for righteousness. It is the same motivation that galvanizes the pro-life movement today. King rocked a society fashioned on decorum and politeness but under its thin veneer existed the rot of racism and cruelty. Similarly, pro-lifers today stand against the silent injustices that take place within the sterile and dignified settings of medical facilities. When Americans find their collective voice for justice, all races can look forward to the day when abortion and Roe will be cast onto the same trash heap as Dred Scott and Jim Crow.