Politics & Government

Conservative black leaders protest Planned Parenthood’s new Charlotte clinic

More than three-dozen black women on Monday protested next month’s opening of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Charlotte, invoking terms such as genocide to describe the impact of abortion on African-Americans.

Planned Parenthood announced plans to open a clinic near uptown in June. The clinic on Torrence Street, just off Kings Drive, will allow the group to provide abortion services in Charlotte for the first time in decades.

“We cannot sit idly by and allow this genocide to take place under our noses,” Pam Wooden of Raleigh said at a news conference outside the government center.

The press conference drew speakers from as far as Georgia. It was organized by the conservative Frederick Douglass Foundation.

Planned Parenthood’s new clinic is just one of the latest flashpoints in the fight over abortion rights.

North Carolina lawmakers plan to try to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a controversial bill that details a doctor’s responsibilities if an attempted abortion results in a live birth. Cooper said the measure addresses a problem that doesn’t exist.

And a handful of states, including Missouri, Alabama and Georgia, recently have adopted strict new laws designed to restrict abortions.

Paige Johnson, a vice president of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, defended the new clinic against protesters.

“These protests are designed to shame the patients who seek basic health care services from Planned Parenthood and to intimidate the health care professionals who work here,” she said in a statement. “Women should be able to get health care without fear of violence, harassment, or intimidation.”

A private abortion clinic in east Charlotte has been the scene of protests for over a decade from activists who’ve called it “an abortion mill” and hope to change the minds of women who go there.

Several of the women at Monday’s protest cited the impact of abortions on black women. Some claimed black women are “targeted” by Planned Parenthood.

“If we have a problem in our communities with unplanned pregnancies the solution is not to murder our babies,” said Marilyn Gool of Charlotte’s Victory Christian Center.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, non-Hispanic white women had an abortion rate of 6.8 abortions per 1,000 women (aged 15–44) in 2015 while black women had a rate of 25.1 abortions per 1,000 women.

A Planned Parenthood spokesperson has said that more than 3,300 women in Mecklenburg County and another 4,700 from surrounding counties need abortion services every year. Forty-five percent of patients lack health insurance.

Planned Parenthood officials say the Kings Drive location was chosen for its accessibility and security.