African-American first ladies and church leaders in Charlotte protested the opening of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Charlotte Monday, shouting that the nation’s largest abortion provider is not welcome in the city.
“When I heard about how Planned Parenthood is trying to take up shop here in this city, I had to come and help you expose Planned Parenthood for who and what they really are,” Pamela Wooden, the first lady and director of women’s ministry at the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Charlotte, said during the protest.
“Planned Parenthood is a genocidal organization that targets black women and profits from lying and killing innocent children.”
Wooden was among dozens of black women who participated in a public press conference that was organized by the pro-life arm of the Church of God in Christ and the pro-life research group Douglass Leadership Institute. The new full-service abortion clinic is set to open up in Charlotte’s Cherry Hill neighborhood next month.
Activists have warned that the new clinic will allow Planned Parenthood to perform abortions in Charlotte for the first time in decades.
Many African-American church leaders have argued over the years that Planned Parenthood was founded to “exterminate” the black population and have noted that its founder, Margaret Sanger, promoted eugenics.
Minister Marilyn Gool, the first lady and a minister of the multicampus megachurch Victory Christian Center, agreed and said that the African-American community across the nation, as well as in Charlotte, is facing “a silent genocide” at the hands of the abortion industry.
“It is the American Holocaust,” she said. “Just as the Jewish Holocaust began be devaluing the Jews and making them less than human, the same thing has happened in the abortion industry.
"Black people have to rise up. This has to be the beginning of a black movement to stand up and say it’s enough.”
Across the nation, black women comprise over 30 percent of the 1 million abortions in the U.S. per year. DLI contends that black women account for 53.7 percent of the abortions that take place in Mecklenburg County.
“We only make up 13 percent of the United States, but 54 percent, that is ridiculous,” Sharon Stevens of City Church in nearby Huntersville said. “It starts with you being a voice and speaking out and saying there is a better way.”
Gool stressed that the solution to the problem of unplanned pregnancy in the African-American community is not to “murder our babies.”
“When we start to devalue life in the womb, then we start to devalue life afterward,” she explained. “We can’t teach black men to stop killing black men if we teach them it is OK to kill them before they're born.”
Gool warned about the dangers of society presenting unborn babies as just a “fetus” or a “piece of flesh.” She said that she has heard some call an unplanned pregnancy a “growth or a tumor.”
“If it is a nuisance that you can kill it before it is born, then you don’t have a problem killing it afterward if it becomes a nuisance,” Gool said. “There is a solution to our problem. There is a solution to our moral problem. But it is never to murder our children. I encourage you to continue to stand for life and stand for black lives because black lives do matter.”
Wooden contended that Planned Parenthood was founded for the “expressed purpose of wiping out the negro race.”
“Do not be fooled by their rebranding and repackaging because their purpose to wipe out black children has not changed,” Wooden urged.
Pastor Carol Threatt of Charlotte’s Christian Faith Center contended during her speech that Planned Parenthood doesn’t care about the health of African-American women.
“I refuse to allow Planned Parenthood to come in under the guise of some lies by saying they support us when they are really truly against us,” Threatt said.
Threatt called for the black community to rise up against the injustice but not to “bash” women who have experienced abortion.
“We don’t bash them, we uplift them and tell them there is hope,” she said. “Once we have done that, tell them about the lie. ... Let them know that [abortion] is a lie and God has a plan for our lives and our children’s lives.”
Stevens argued that even rape does not justify abortion. She stressed that adoption is a better possibility.
“We are here to be a voice, not just today but when we leave these premises, God has called us,” Stevens said. “God has put a word in our mouth to speak up. This is great … but when we go back to church and our organizations and our communities, when you hear that person say ‘I am pregnant and I don’t know what to do,’ you can encourage them to not give that baby up, don’t go to Planned Parenthood.”
“There are some of us standing here today that had an abortion. You didn’t know what to do. You felt hopeless. But there is hope today.”
The protest comes as the national abortion debate has intensified in recent weeks with the passing of abortion bans in states like Georgia, Alabama and Missouri. The Alabama and Missouri bills do not provide exceptions for cases of rape and incest.
In North Carolina, the state House of Representatives looks to override Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper’s recent veto of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act that would have made it illegal for abortion providers not to provide care for a baby that survived abortion.
Over the last few years, the Church of God in Christ (over 6 million members across the globe) has worked through its Family Life Campaign to oppose the abortion industry, as well as help direct women and girls facing unplanned pregnancies away from abortion clinics.
COGIC and DLI expressed concern last week, saying that Planned Parenthood South Atlantic set up a “shell company” to access Charlotte’s Cherry Hill neighborhood under the radar of pro-life activists and religious leaders who oppose abortion in the city.
“The expansion of the center is a part of a devastating strategy that Planned Parenthood is deploying, placing mega-abortion facilities in urban communities that are within walking distance of minority neighborhoods throughout the country,” Leslie Monet, the leader of COGIC’s Family Life Campaign, said in a statement. “It is part of their operational strategy to place these abortion mills in our communities, and we will not tacitly accept being targeted in this manner.”
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic defended the clinic in a statement from its vice president, Paige Johnson.
“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,” Johnson said in a statement, according to the Charlotte Observer. “Women should be able to get health care without fear of violence, harassment, or intimidation.”
Protests against abortion are nothing new for Charlotte, as churches have held several protests against the Preferred Women’s Health Center in the outskirts of Charlotte.