April 19, 2004
STERLING, VA – Fifteen year-old Tamia Russell of Detroit, Michigan thought abortion was her only option. Six months pregnant, Russell was taken to WomanCare of Southfield on January 7, 2004 for an abortion. She died one day later. Her parents were not notified before she was given the abortion, although Michigan law requires parental consent before a minor has an abortion. The news of her death has gone relatively unnoticed until this week.
“The sad fact is that we are unaware of how many Tamia’s exist because the abortion industry is unregulated and, accordingto the coroner, the complications that led to her death are considered ‘normal,’” said Janine Simpson, Director of Urban Center Development for Care Net, a network of 750 pregnancy resource centers in North America.
Despite the lack of health and safety regulations in the abortion industry, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) recently announced its historical endorsement of the pro-choice position. In addition, in their press release, the organization stated that its stance was due to the fact that “women of color seek abortion at rates higher than their percentage in the population.”
“The NAACP’s decision to endorse abortion rights is irresponsible,” said Simpson. “This organization should be concerned that one in three African American pregnancies end in abortion, that over 1,200 black children die every day, and an estimated 70 percent of abortion providers are in minority neighborhoods. The NAACP should bemoan these facts and look for solutions for the African American family.”
In 2003, Care Net launched an initiative to make access to abortion alternatives a real choice for African American women. Care Net’s Urban Initiative targets underserved urban areas across the country to educate communities about the abortion problem and to assist individuals plant or strengthen pregnancy resource centers in their community. Care Net has committed to plant 20 new urban pregnancy centers in the next five years. Currently, it is involved in Atlanta, Compton, Dallas, Detroit, Ft. Wayne, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
A pregnancy resource center offers free services, including pregnancy tests and counseling, material assistance, abstinence education, post-abortion counseling and, in many areas, medical care, such as ultrasound services and STD testing.
“The goal is to empower every woman to have real choices,” Simpson said. “Not just the choice of abortion, which is convenient for the moment, but real choices that will change their lives.”