Minority Anti-Abortion Movement Gains Steam The Rev. Johnny Hunter is national director of the Life Education and Resource Network, also known as LEARN. Rev. Hunter explains the mission behind his newly-formed group of anti-abortion activists and his hopes to influence African-American communities.

Minority Anti-Abortion Movement Gains Steam

Minority Anti-Abortion Movement Gains Steam

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/14650805/14650794" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Rev. Johnny Hunter is national director of the Life Education and Resource Network, also known as LEARN. Rev. Hunter explains the mission behind his newly-formed group of anti-abortion activists and his hopes to influence African-American communities.


And we have more on the difficult decisions many Americans face in creating families and examining the ways in which race plays a part. Although surveys show that African-Americans support and oppose abortion rights in the same percentages as the rest of the population, African-American women are more likely to have abortions than other ethnic groups.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, for every 1,000 women who have abortions, 49 are black. The number is more than three times that of white women. And that number has caught the attention of a newly vocal group of anti-abortion activists - black evangelicals. They say they view abortion as an active genocide on African-Americans, and they want to see more African-Americans involved in the anti-abortion movement.

Here to tell us more about this is the Reverend Johnny Hunter, national director of the Life Education and Resource Network, or LEARN. Welcome, Reverend Hunter.

Reverend JOHNNY HUNTER (President, Life Education and Resource Network): Oh, thank you. It's wonderful to be on your program with you today.

MARTIN: Now, your group first came to our attention through protests at the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Aurora, Illinois, and you were among the speakers there. I'd like to know how you became involved in the anti-abortion movement.

Rev. HUNTER: Well, we became involved because we noticed that there were a number of things that was really hurting the African-American community. And of all the things, nothing was hurting it like abortion was, and this is something that really disturbed me.

MARTIN: But how did that - how did you come to that insight or that point of view?

Rev. HUNTER: Actually, just being at the abortion facilities myself. I tell people, at the time, I was a pastoring a church up in Buffalo, New York, and I would go out into the - preach on the fruit - we would call it the fruit belt section of town where there drug addicts and everybody was. Nobody minded. When we even preached to prostitutes, nobody minded. I went out to abortion clinics and preached, and all of a sudden they had the police and everybody on me.

But I noticed, worst of all, it was mostly blacks that was going in. And then when I looked at the stats and found out was happening nationally, I found that we were making 12 percent of the population in the United States account for well over 33 percent of abortions. And that was just way beyond acceptable.

And people don't have an idea just how bad this thing yields. We are losing our children at the rate of 1,452 a day. They're just African-Americans. And I tell people, just to put in perspective, between 1880 to 1968, 3,446 blacks was lynched. That number is surpassed within three days by abortion alone.

MARTIN: Now you've made some particularly harsh statements against Planned Parenthood, saying that you think that they deliberately target the black community, putting clinics in African-American neighborhoods.

Rev. HUNTER: That is exactly what they're doing.

MARTIN: But what makes you say that?

Rev. HUNTER: I say that because Planned Parenthood was founded by a racist named Margaret Sanger. She was a bigot. She was a racist. She was a eugenics. And she implemented something called the Negro project.

MARTIN: But wasn't that a long time ago?

Rev. HUNTER: Yes, it was. And to this day, you can't get Planned Parenthood to say one bad thing about Margaret Sanger - not one bad thing. It's that, you know, I tell people you can say what want, but a Klansman's always a Klansman. Klansmen used to take us and hang us on the trees and get rid of us.

MARTIN: But, forgive me, forgive me Reverend Hunter, but Planned Parenthood does more than just abortions. They also offer a number of health services at low cost. They offer birth control. They offer cervical cancer checks, HIV/AIDS education. Do you find no merit in any of these services?

Rev. HUNTER: If that's all they did, they will be great. But drinking - otherwise, you're drinking Jonestown Kool-Aid. You don't go to a place just because they offer other good things when the main thing they do - Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortion in this nation. Nobody else does more abortions than them. Every other thing, even in the city of Aurora, one of the things that upset people when they moved in, they offered us the same services you just named. But guess what? Those services are already provided. There was other medical facilities right in Aurora offering the exact same things.

MARTIN: But what is the basis of your view that A, these services are targeted - that abortion is being targeted to the African-American community?

Rev. HUNTER: I go right back to that Negro project. She came up with that project specifically just to woo ministers and to woo blacks into controlling the population of blacks. She really wanted to see the black population decrease. And you got to understand the eugenics. As far as Margaret Sanger's plan, Hitler's playing for the Jewish people was just fine. And people haven't gotten disturbed enough to realize, oh, my goodness. This Negro project that she started to decrease the black population is well underway to this day.

MARTIN: Earlier in the program, we spoke about African-American women who would like to find African-American families to adopt their children…

Rev. HUNTER: Yes.

MARTIN: …and are sometimes having difficulty in doing so. How do you feel about adoption, and how do you feel about African-American children going to non-black families?

Rev. HUNTER: Well, let me tell you about adoption. I feel very good about it because I am an adopted child. I was adopted by my mama's sister. So adoption really works. At least it worked for Johnny Hunter. And the one thing that we can - people can really, really learn is that it's best if blacks would adopt their own children.

But in Alabama, for instance, I learned from Pastor A.J., he was telling me there are more black families in Alabama waiting to adopt children than there are black children to be adopted. And I was surprised even to hear that. But I came there for pastor, he's doing good work ministry in Alabama, Birmingham. But not only that, if a family was really loving, I will say even allow another family from another race to even adopt a black child, if it's good for that black child.

MARTIN: Reverend Johnny Hunter is the national director of the Life Education and Resource Network - LEARN. He joined us from his office in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Reverend Hunter, thank you so much for speaking with us and sharing your views.

Rev. HUNTER: Thank you and your audience. I appreciate you all just hearing what I had to say today.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.