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Over 100 Black Leaders Urge Ohioans To Oppose Bid To Enshrine Right To Abortion In State Constitution

Over 100 black faith and community leaders in Ohio urged constituents to oppose a ballot measure in November that would make abortion a constitutional right, according to a Tuesday letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Pro-abortion advocates drafted the initiative in February, and a GOP-proposed measure to increase the threshold for passing a constitutional amendment was rejected by voters in an August special election. Black pastors, community leaders and elected officials asked Ohioans to vote against the abortion amendment on Nov. 7, arguing that such a measure will allow the abortion industry to “rob generations of Black women and men of the insurmountable joy of parenthood,” according to the letter spearheaded by Apostle Brian Williams of the Hope City House of Prayer.

“The Black community has been the target of the abortion industry for decades, beginning with the deplorable ideology of racist eugenicist Margaret Sanger, whose Planned Parenthood organization purposefully established abortion mills in minority neighborhoods and targeted our communities for abortion. Sanger’s mission was to kill Black babies before they entered the world, and Planned Parenthood and the for-profit abortion industry have allowed that mission to continue to this very day,” the letter reads. “We can only hope the abortion industry will one day be held to account for its dark history and depraved legacy, but in the meantime, we cannot allow it to continue pushing an agenda driven by racism and greed.”

The black faith leaders maintain that voting for the amendment shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but a “moral” one that is “life-or-death” for their community, the letter reads. Along with Williams, 109 prominent faith and community leaders signed the letter, as well as elected officials like former Cincinnati Mayor J. Kenneth Blackwell and former state Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent.

The Ohio Department of Health’s 2022 abortion report released in September indicates that roughly 48% of abortions in the state are performed on black women, though only 13% of the population is black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Bishop Patrick L. Wooden, a prominent black faith leader who shares the views described in the letter, was featured in a video launched Tuesday by pro-life group Protect Women Ohio, which is also rallying against the abortion ballot initiative in the state.

“What is the number one killer of us? It’s not the police, it’s abortion,” Wooden can be heard saying in the video. “Black folk, we are targeted for extinction. I believe that we have the right to exist.”

“We’re talking about the future of our country, our race, our society,” Wooden added. “You can’t pray one way, and vote another.”

The Republican-led effort to require constitutional amendments garner 60% approval from Ohio voters instead of a simple majority failed by double digits. Other provisions to curb abortion have also failed over the last year in states like Kansas, Kentucky and Montana.

Voters rejected a pro-life constitutional amendment in Kansas in early August, and a referendum failed in Montana last December that could have brought criminal charges against health care providers who didn’t take “all medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the life” of a born-alive infant. A measure restricting constitutional abortion rights was also rejected in Kentucky in November 2022.

Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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