For Beauprez, abortion is a “black and white” issue

Colorado Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is getting in trouble for spouting off about black women and abortion without actually researching the issue.
On Colorado Public Radio on Monday morning (audio here), he said, “in some of our ethnic communities we’re seeing very, very high percentages of babies, children, pregnancies end in abortion… I’ve seen numbers as high as 70 percent, maybe even more, in the African-American community that I think is just appalling.”
Beauprez obviously hadn’t “seen numbers.” According to the CDC, the abortion ratio for black women is 495 per 1,000 live births, or 33%. The Guttmacher Institute elaborates:

Black women are more than twice as likely as women overall to have an abortion, and Hispanic and Asian women have abortion rates slightly higher than average: Five percent of black women have an abortion each year, compared with 3% of Hispanic women, 3% of Asian women and 1% of white women.

It is not surprising that unmarried, black and poor women are among those most likely to have an abortion. Although the nation’s overall abortion rate has fallen in recent years, these women have effectively been left behind.[...] The high abortion rate reflects both the high rate of unintended pregnancy and the fact that black women are less likely than other racial and ethnic groups to carry their unintended pregnancies to term. Often, these factors are driven by socioeconomic circumstances: For example, black women of reproductive age are more likely than other women to be poor and less likely to be married, characteristics associated with higher unintended pregnancy rates.

Even though he got the numbers wrong, I agree with Beauprez that unintended pregnancies among women of color is an issue that needs to be addressed. What he refuses to acknowledge is that increased access to reproductive health care and family planning services can significantly reduce abortion rates– and women are having a hard time accessing contraception these days. (The percent of black women who reported not using contraceptives increased from 10% to 15% between 1995 and 2002.)
Yet Beauprez opposes contraception. He voted pro-choice approximately 0% of the time he served in Congress. (His Democratic opponent for governor, Bill Ritter, also opposes abortion rights but is in favor of EC. Isn’t it sad when that almost seems progressive?)
It’s so infuriating that lawmakers like Beauprez can lament the abortion rate for women of color, then fail to acknowledge that their lack of support for family planning disproportionately affects these women. I wasn’t surprised to read that, a few weeks ago, Beauprez said, “I am fairly black and white (on opposing abortion) and I think that people need to know that.”

Join the Conversation

  • D.E.

    It might be added that if you want to do something to reduce the abortion rates of poor minorities, how about doing something about poverty? Any economist will tell you that someone who cannot afford to have a child is more likely to seek an abortion.
    Yet the right wing slashes anti-poverty programs every chance they get.

  • Ann

    Absolutely. One of the top reasons women give for choosing abortion is that they’re financially unable to support a(nother) child.

  • Tom Head

    Oh, jeez. One can only hope that this expands Ritter’s 6-point lead, but it’s frustrating that in Colorado, as in Mississippi, we’re forced to choose between two anti-choice candidates.

  • ashleyj

    Funny – Beauprez sounds a lot like many crisis pregnancy centers, which often inflate abortion rates and have campaigns specifically targeting “urban areas.” The website for Heartbeat International (a McDonald’s style crisis pregnancy franchise) actually states that they are targeting “the ‘darkest’ areas of America in a strategic effort to bring the option of light and LIFE where there has been none.” (See

  • Ann

    >>>”the ‘darkest’ areas of America in a strategic effort to bring the option of light and LIFE where there has been none.”
    Oh. My. God.

  • nonwhiteperson

    In this way Heartbeat intends to go on the OFFENSIVE and give “abortion vulnerable� mothers the information and services they need. We have joined forces with specific strategic partners who will be targeting other areas of darkness.
    This is their RENEW: Urban Renewal program. They should just call it GENTRIFY: Urban Gentrication.

  • Messy Jessi

    This reminds me of a local story from here; a local principal had to leave her job because on the first day of school, she announced over the PA system that too many black students had failed the state standardized tests and that if a few more black students had passed, the school would have met the state standards. Because, you know, only black kids failed those tests. It took her four days to apologize, but, surprisingly (cough) some parents weren’t satisfied.
    What I’m saying is that this is totally horrible.

  • AlieraKieron

    Ok, stupid question from someone who doesn’t fully understand how these stats are calculated. Isn’t 495 out of a thousand a lot closer to 50% than 33%?

  • Miranda

    Ok, stupid question from someone who doesn’t fully understand how these stats are calculated. Isn’t 495 out of a thousand a lot closer to 50% than 33%?
    Aliera, It’s not 495 out of 1,000. What those numbers mean is that for every 1000 LIVE births, there are also 495 abortions. So it’d be 495 abortions out of 1,495 pregnancies. Does that help?

  • nonwhiteperson

    that is confusing. spose it means 495 abortions for every 1000 births or 495 abortions out of 1500 pregnancies.

  • The Bourbs

    Something tells me that this guy wouldn’t condone this minority group’s solution for avoiding abortion.

  • AlieraKieron

    Doh! Now it is clear. Thank you!

  • sylviasrevenge

    Minority Women Reasonably Exercising Choice Over Reproduction: 0
    Poor Baby-Killing Oversexed Minority Sluts: 1
    De facto replies of lack of resources from raising children, the fact that not many people are willing to adopt black children, and the stigmatization of black and poor women aside, of course.

  • Frenchwoman

    Precisely at the moment of change, when cities need to be inventive, the rise of a risk culture limits potential. Every risk management policy should be renamed ‘risk and opportunity policy’ to ensure both sides of risk are explored. This means moving from a climate of ‘no, because’ to one of ‘yes, if’. Allied to this move should be incentives to encourage and validate imaginative thinking.
    For instance embedding criteria for innovation and creative capacity as part of annual job performance assessments and as a requirement in job applications. Moving forward requires a focus on the spirit of most guidelines, rules or laws and not on the letter of the law, which usually constrains. This requires leadership from the top, from the bottom and right through the middle. Top leaders need to symbolically ‘give permission’ so that the trapped potential of others lower down the hierarchy and of the city is unleashed. There are many potential leaders waiting in the wings.