NFL Star’s Take on Abortion as Tool to ‘Exterminate’ Blacks Sparks Debate

black couple abortion

Former NFL coach Tony Dungy sparked a debate about Blacks and abortion online over the weekend after the conservative Christian voiced agreement with star athlete Benjamin Watson’s take on abortion as a means to “exterminate” African Americans.

“I applaud my brother @BenjaminSWatson for speaking the truth on a controversial issue. Thank you,” Dungy tweeted, quoting an article from pro-life website (sourced to Life Site news) about Watson’s interview with San Diego’s Turning Point Pregnant Resource Center.

Watson, a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, was quoted as saying: “I do know that [B]lacks kind of represent a large portion of the abortions, and I do know that honestly the whole idea with Planned Parenthood and [Margaret] Sanger in the past was to exterminate [B]lacks. And it’s kind of ironic that it’s working.”

The married father of five and born-again Christian added: “We (as minorities) support candidates, and overwhelmingly support the idea of having Planned Parenthood and the like, and yet, that is why she created it. We are buying it hook, line, and sinker.”

Facing push-back from some of his 757,000 Twitter followers, Dungy went on to describe abortion as a “moral issue,” after tweeting: “It’s not a health care issue.”

Dungy also rejected a claim that he had fallen prey to “ugly propaganda” and was promoting a “racist lie used to demonize Black women.”

And the coach insisted that getting men to “step up” would help decrease the number of unwanted Black children.

The ongoing debate between Dungy and his Twitter followers, many of them Black, is emblematic of the contentious views African Americans hold on abortion.

Some Arguments For and Against Abortion

Conservative Christians argue that life begins in the womb and view abortion as the killing of an innocent life made in God’s image. Some Christians cite passages in the Bible, such as Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13-16 and Exodus 21:22-25, among others, to support their anti-abortion convictions.

Pro-choice advocates disagree on the viability of life in the womb and view most attempts to regulate abortion as attacks on a woman’s right to decide how to control her body and manage her pregnancy. There is also the perception among some abortion advocates that conservative pro-lifers are more concerned with the unborn than they are with the mother and father, and fail to advocate as strongly for the child’s right to a good education and safe neighborhoods as they do for its right to be born. Others also argue that being pro-choice does not necessarily make one pro-abortion.

In addition, most Black Americans have said their views on abortion are shaped by “not judging other people” (72 percent) and “showing compassion for women in difficult circumstances” (68 percent), according to a 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). About 63 percent of Blacks also said “promoting personal responsibility” is vital in shaping their views on the legality of abortion.

Many argue, however, that decreasing the number of abortions is not a simple matter, particularly when factors related to the economy/employment and education are considered. A 2014 article in The Atlantic attempted to look at the complexity of the issue, and considered how employment and education may play a part in women of color choosing abortion.

Some reasons given by women for accessing abortion services include: “financial reasons, timing, partner related reasons and the need to focus on other children.” Multiple reasons are often cited by women seeking an abortion.

Black Women Targeted?

While some reject claims that Black women are “targeted” by leading abortion provider Planned Parenthood, statistics show that Black women remain disproportionately impacted by abortion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported over the years that Black women account for a disproportionate number of abortions in the United States, which is why some African Americans view the procedure as a form of “Black genocide.”

TheGrio reported in Dec. 2016: “Although [B]lack women make up six percent of the population, they account for 35 percent of all abortions, while [W[hite woman, at 77 percent of the population, account for 37 percent of abortions. Hispanic women, at 17.6 percent of the population, make up 19 percent of the population.”

Despite Black women leading in the number of abortions, the same CDC report cited by TheGrio, reveals that “abortions have declined across all race/ethnicity groups.”

In NYC, the abortion rate for Black women remain startlingly high, as the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has reported. While also leading in the number of pregnancies and miscarriages, Black women in NYC had more abortions than live births (followed by Hispanic women and then White women; Asian and Pacific Islander women had the least number of abortions), NewsOne reported on a 2012 study.

A majority of Americans (57 percent) believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and that sentiment is reflected among 62 percent of African Americans, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2017 report. Fifty-nine percent of women also agree that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, along with 55 percent of men. Among Black Protestants, 55 percent share that view.

An estimated 54 million abortions have been performed since the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in 1973, according to

As for Margaret Sanger’s purpose in founding Planned Parenthood and her public views on eugenics, much has been written and debated about them for decades. To read various perspectives on Sanger’s alleged eugenics and anti-Black views, see the following links:

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    Written by Nicola A. Menzie

    Nicola A. Menzie is Editorial Director of Faithfully Magazine. Nicola is a religion reporter in NYC whose bylines have appeared on the websites of the Religion News Service, The Christian Post, CBS News and Vibe magazine. You can find her on Twitter @namenzie. Email: nicola.menzie (at)


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