‘White America’s cruelty playbook’
Sir, – Una Mullally says that recent legislative restrictions on abortion in the United States arise from “white fragility matched with white supremacy” whose aim is to “torture those who seek to unseat the racist patriarchal structures of American society. That’s what this is about.” (“Eroding reproductive rights part of white America’s cruelty playbook”, Opinion & Analysis, May 13th).
The facts do not support this ridiculous conspiracy theory.
A key factor in the upswing of pro-life opinion in the US in recent years has been changing opinions among racial minorities. The Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think-tank which monitors polling trends, found that in 2018, 38 per cent of black voters believe that abortion should be “illegal in all/most cases”, and that this rises to 44 per cent among Hispanic voters.
Furthermore, 36 per cent of women think abortion should be “illegal in all/most cases”, and, surprisingly, 21 per cent of registered Democrat voters.
This scotches your columnist’s notion that the pro-life movement in the US is driven by a conspiracy of white racists, the male patriarchy, and the ever-nefarious Republicans.
It is believed that the growing opposition to abortion among black voters is due to increasing knowledge of the reality that black children are far more likely to fall victim to abortion. In New York City, more black children are now aborted than are born alive. In 2017 there were 34,062 black children born, but 40,193 abortions. In Georgia, the state which Una Mullally holds out for particular criticism, African Americans comprise just 32 per cent of the population, but account for 64 per cent of all abortions.
With horrendous facts like this, it is a bit odd to allege that anti-abortion legislation of being driven by racism and white supremacy.
Una Mullally also says that the states which are restricting abortion access “seem perfectly fine with having the death penalty”. It is most interesting that she chose to draw this analogy, as she must recognise that abortion and the death penalty both result in a life being ended.
There were 25 executions carried out across the entire United States in 2018. (One of the states she criticises – Mississippi – has not executed a prisoner for almost a decade.) In contrast there were 638,000 abortions in the US last year. Is Una Mullally suggesting some kind of moral equivalence between the ever-reducing number of death row executions, and the industrial scale on which abortions are being carried out?
The reality is that both of these egregious violations of human rights need to be abolished, and it is heartening to see so many US states are striving to do so.
It is deeply regrettable that just as the tide is beginning to turn in the United States, we have chosen to legalise abortion on demand here in Ireland. The American experience tells us it may take decades of seeing the harsh realities of abortion before the tide begins to turn. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Una Mullally writes that, “Everything comes back to race in America, that is true. But everything also comes back to white American cruelty.”
If this statement, along with several others like it in the same piece, are not anti-white bigotry, what is?
Would Una Mullally or other writers at The Irish Times be willing to pick any another racial or ethnic group, ie a group other than “whites”, and proceed to say “everything” wrong with some other society “comes back to” that group’s behaviour, much less its “cruelty”? I doubt it.
And if this sort of writing is acceptable at The Irish Times as a standard which applies exclusively to “white” people, then certain conclusions will naturally follow. Indeed, they must follow. – Yours, etc,