Abortion rates high for black women

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1973, 15 million fetuses have been aborted by black women.

Black women represent only 12 percent of the population in the United States, but they are responsible for the majority of abortions. Each day, 1,452 abortions are performed on black women.

The report also stated that black women are three times more likely to have abortions than white women, and Hispanic women are 2.5 times more likely.

“If I got pregnant right now, I would have an abortion because I’m not ready for a child,” said Tina Drandy, 18, an economics student from Macon, Ga. Drandy said at this point in her life she couldn’t afford a child and would like to get her degree first.

“It’s nobody’s business if a person has an abortion,” Drandy said.

“Our mission is to educate women by providing pregnancy counseling and information on the different options,” said Tiahna Larsen, director of external affairs of Tallahassee’s Planned Parenthood.

Larsen said the main reasons women have abortions are: they’re not ready for a child, the father is not around or they do not have the resources to take care of the child.

Prospective Florida gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher said they would sign a bill outlawing abortions in Florida if it was proposed in the House.

“African-Americans account for 35 percent of abortions. Some believe minorities are targeted by Planned Parenthood, but we create diversity,” Larsen said. “One of our goals, we call it goals for 2025, is that Planned Parenthood will be a model for basing diversity and expanding decision making power. Basically, having different cultural aspects throughout our organization and representing those throughout the community as well.”

“Planned Parenthood never forces anyone into having an abortion, and we advise women that every child is wanted,” Larsen said. “We just put the options out there that the women can consider. And make the best decision for herself.”

“We give information about adoption and certainly assist with parenting. There are also programs to assist women with care of their children in a sheparding environment while they are finishing school,” said Barb Shackelford, executive director of A Women’s Pregnancy Center, located at 1919 W. Pensacola St.

Shackelford said most abortion clinics are in minority neighborhoods.

“The abortion rate is disproportional to the population of the black community. The abortion rate among married black women is nearly four times greater than married white women,” Shackelford said.

Shackelford said the women’s center gives women abortion alternatives and assists mothers during pregnancy and after birth.

“I know a couple of women who had an abortion done for the simple fact they didn’t want the baby. But I believe if a person has unprotected sex, they should deal with the consequences,” said Tamika Williamson, 20, a junior psychology student from Eustis.

“A lot of women realize after the fact that the abortion was much more significant in their lives. They deal with the feeling of regret, grief and often times experience a group of symptoms called post abortion syndrome, which include depression, inability to attach in a relationship, flashbacks, and just weight of the regret their feeling about the decision,” Shackelford said.

“But there is healing. You can get to a place where you actually function with the memory of the choice you made,” Shackelford said.

Contact Melissa L. Louis at MelissaL32@hotmail.com