By Julia Craven, the Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) says he’s heard a lot about how the criminal justice system and other institutions treat African-Americans from the Congressional Black Caucus.

Representative  Sean Duffy, (R-Wis)

Representative Sean Duffy, (R-Wis)

But on Thursday, he wondered aloud on the House floor why the CBC wasn’t more vocal about “how their communities are targeted in abortion.”

“Here are some stunning facts. The African-American community is 15 percent of the country as a whole, but accounts for 40 percent of the abortions. Fifteen percent of Americans, 40 percent of the abortions. In New York City, the most recent statistic is that African-American women had more abortions than live births,” he said…

Non-Hispanic black women actually accounted for 36 percent of the population that received abortions in the U.S., according to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whereas white women accounted for 37 percent — but black women were about three times more likely to receive an abortion.

“My liberal friends, Congressional Black Caucus members, talk about fighting for the defenseless, the hopeless and the downtrodden,” Duffy added. “There is no one more hopeless and voiceless than an unborn baby, but their silence is deafening. I can’t hear them. Where are they standing up for their communities, advocating and fighting for their right to life?”

What Duffy didn’t express was any understanding of why so many black women have abortions. CBC member Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), however, provided the congressman with that context in a statement she delivered on the House floor on Friday:

“I don’t expect Representative Duffy to understand why his comments were so offensive, nor do I anticipate him apologizing for them. What he and so many of his Republican colleagues fail to understand is the underlying context behind high abortion rates in African American communities. High rates of abortion are related to poverty and lack of access to prevention services. A number of African American women face multiple barriers to accessing quality, affordable health care, which can lead to higher rates of both unintended pregnancy and abortion.”

History, culture, and disparities in educational attainment and wealth all factor into the abortion rate for black women — and contribute to the broader racial and economic inequalities the CBC is actively fighting against…

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