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Growing up in inner city Detroit, Janine Simpson and her girlfriends didn't think twice about having abortions. In her all-black neighborhood, teen abortions were the norm, she says, and the local abortion clinic was a fixture.

"My friends and I, we all had abortions," Simpson says. "We didn't even think about it. To us it was just getting rid of a blob of tissue. We'd say, 'Oh, you pregnant? Okay, let's go take care of it.' "

But after Simpson's own abortion her freshman year of college, things changed. She became a Christian and after graduation developed a passion to help other women with unplanned pregnancies.

"I had gone through a healing process and felt I needed to talk to them and share my heart," says Simpson, now an ordained minister through the Potter's House.

Simpson has just started a new job as director of urban center development for Care Net. She works with inner-city church leaders to educate their communities about the need for alternatives to abortion. Care Net, an umbrella group for 600 crisis pregnancy centers across the country, launched a pilot project in Philadelphia last September. It aims to establish pregnancy resource centers and prolife clinics in largely black, urban areas where such centers are rare.

Black abortion epidemic

"The perception is that we as black people keep our children," Simpson says. The reality, she says, is that 512 of every 1,000 African American pregnancies end in abortion.

African American women constitute 13 percent of the female population in the United States. However, they have 36 percent of the abortions, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's research arm. In Pennsylvania, the figures are even more disproportionate. Ten percent of the female population ...

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February 2003

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