GOP's Trent Franks: Abortion worse than slavery for blacks

Arizona's Trent Franks says "far more of the African American community" is being hurt by abortion than slavery

Published February 26, 2010 10:10PM (EST)

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., is a fairly passionate opponent of abortion rights (and by one measure, the most conservative member of the House). Still, even by his standards, the comments he made to blogger Mike Stark Friday were a little extreme.

Discussing civility and outrageous language, Franks wandered into a tangent in which he wound up declaring that "far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery." Where, exactly, did he get that idea? Because, as he also explained, "half of all black children are aborted." (The Centers for Disease Control, which compiles abortion statistics, actually estimates that 33 percent of pregnancies end in abortion for black women.)

Abortion-rights opponents like to compare abortion and slavery; the Dred Scott vs. Sandford case is often seen on the right as the 19th century equivalent of Roe v. Wade. Still, the comments caught the attention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"To compare the horrors and inhumane treatment of millions of African Americans during slavery as a better way of life for African Americans today is beyond repulsive," said Stephanie Young, a DCCC spokeswoman. "In 2010, during the 2nd year of our first African American president, it is astonishing that a thought such as this would come to mind, let alone be shared. The next time Congressman Franks wants to make assumptions about what policies are 'best' for the African American community, he should keep them to himself."

Watch Franks below -- the abortion riff starts at about the 6:20 mark: 

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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