Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Facts are not gaffes

E. W. Jackson
Democratic activists are going nuts over statements by E. W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia. The quote all the news pieces are highlighting: "Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was."

Reporters are treating this as an unimaginable gaffe. Their theme is that, by picking a candidate who would say such a thing, the GOP has proven that it hasn't learned anything from its poor performance in recent elections. I won't comment on whether or not the GOP has learned anything; only time will tell. My gripe with this news coverage is that none of the reporters bothered to point out that what Jackson said about Planned Parenthood is factually accurate.

It is true. Full stop.

In 2011, the last year for which figures are available, Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions in the United States. Nationally, 37% of abortions are performed on black women, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. We can therefore surmise that in one year alone, Planned Parenthood killed approximately 123,567 unborn African-American children.

As for the KKK, estimates vary. The Tuskegee Institute has documented 3,446 lynchings of black Americans between 1882 and 1968. But not all KKK murders were done by lynching, and some lynching incidents were committed by racists independent of the KKK. In any event, the number of blacks killed by the KKK, in its entire history, does not approach 123,567.

Secular Pro-Life is not a partisan organization. Jackson may or may not be the best choice for lieutenant governor of Virginia; that is for voters to decide. He's taken controversial positions on many other issues, including opposition to gay rights, which should absolutely be up for debate.

But if you're going to oppose him, oppose him because of his opinions. Don't oppose him because he dared to state an uncomfortable fact. Facts are not gaffes. And facts that support the pro-life position are... still not gaffes.


DaneIlario said...

it's a huge gaffe on his part. He has made it sound as though Planned
Parenthood is seeking the intentional annihilation of black Americans.
There is a huge difference between the intentionally murderous acts of
the KKK and the absolutely legal actions of Planned Parenthood. Nobody
forced those women into PP clinics at gunpoint, now did they?

Caleb Wakeman said...

There's some debate on that last. Not at literal gunpoint, probably, but there are other methods of coercion.

DaneIlario said...

Oh? Planned Parenthood coerced these people into having abortions? That's quite a reach.

KB said...

"He has made it sound as though Planned
Parenthood is seeking the intentional annihilation of black Americans."
Really? What part of the quote implies that? Intent doesn't sink into his quote at all, as far as I can tell. The term "more lethal" = more deaths. End of story.
In both cases, they are intentionally murderous acts (one being currently illegal, but not always, the other being currently legal, but also, not always). I am inclined to agree with you that PP may not have the intent of wiping out Black Americans, although individuals (think Margaret Sanger) certainly had that intent.
(And as devils' advocate, the KKK currently, and with some, historically, do not advocate the annihilation via murder of Black Americans. They want to deport them to Africa. Still heinous, but I'm trying to illustrate that your description is overly general)

ariofrio said...

That's missing the point, Caleb. Black people were forcefully lynched by the KKK, perhaps with the approval of some racist neighbors. Unborn human beings are forcefully killed by Planned Parenthood, with the approval of his or her mother.

Even if PP did not coerce any women to have an abortion, PP did kill the fetus against its will. (You might say a fetus doesn't have a will, but in, that sense, neither does a two day old baby.)

Victor Galipi said...

Planned Parenthood workers may not physically go out and forcibly bring people in for abortions. However, many of the women who go to PP for abortions are forced. Parents and boyfriends force them. Sex traffickers force them.

And PP is complicit because they have been on a number of occasions in many locations been caught protecting people they thought were sex traffickers and not reporting cases of child sexual abuse even when told about it.

By the way they have also been caught agreeing to take money for abortions specifically of blacks.

PP also has a disproportionately large number of it's abortion mills in areas with largely Afro-American populations.

This, too, is not gaffe, but fact.

Jameson Graber said...

Meh, it all depends on what you mean by "gaffe." I suspect it is a political miscalculation. And that means, yes, stating facts can sometimes (or often) be a political miscalculation.

Coyote said...

I agree with this. I do think that this quote is a little bit misleading, though, considering that pro-choicers support legal abortion regardless of the race/ethnicity of the fetuses being killed, while the KKK (AFAIK) did care a lot about the race/ethnicity/religion of the people that it targeted.

I also think that people who are accusing pro-choicers of supporting eugenics against minority populations are incorrect. It's all about supply and demand--more blacks and Hispanics/Latinos are poorer, thus there is more unwanted pregnancies among these groups, and thus there is more abortions (at least as a % of their total populations) among these groups. (Some pro-choicers do arguably support eugenics against Down's syndrome fetuses, though.)