By Laura Peredo, Vitae Foundation Intern

As the keynote speaker for the Vitae Foundation’s annual St. Louis event, Allen West challenged the audience to consider that all black lives matter.

West, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 22-year U.S. Army veteran, and CEO & President of the National Center for Political Analysis, said that through abortion, the black community is experiencing something that was not achieved through slavery.

West pointed out that just 50 years ago, 77 percent of families in the black community were two-parent households.  Today in the black community, only 25 percent of black children have parents in their homes.

“You are witnessing a destruction of my people,” he said.

It is estimated that 2 to 5 million African Americans were killed during the slave trade in America. for the last 40 years, when abortion was legalized, an estimated 13 to 16 million black babies have been killed through abortion.  This makes abortion the leading cause of death among the black community since 1973, above heart disease (2,266,789), cancer (1,638,350), and accidents (370,723). (CDC)

West condemned commercials asking for donations to save various animals, saying “Instead of us caring about the puppy dogs and the cats and the whales and the seals, we have an entire race of people here in America that is being killed either in the womb, or outside the womb. And we have to talk about that.”

According to the CDC, African Americans make up 13.2 percent of the U.S. population.  But 36.2 percent of abortions are performed on black women.

This higher abortion rate is often attributed to a higher birthrate in the black community.  Organizations such as Protecting Black Life point out, however, it is also likely minority women are targeted as potential clients for abortions.  On their website,, they share an interactive map using data from the CDC 2012 Census to indicate where Planned Parenthood surgical abortion clinics are located.  It shows that 79 percent are located within walking distance (2 miles) of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods.

“I do not want to live and watch my own race die off,” West said.

“This is why we need the Vitae Foundation,” West explained. “Their research-based messaging and cutting edge media strategies inform women facing an untimely pregnancy about local Pregnancy Help Centers.”

In the St. Louis area, Vitae provides Internet strategies to ThriVe, South County Pregnancy Centers, and Mosaic on the Illinois side.  Vitae also provides expertise to Birthright of Wentzville, Birthright of Hillsboro, and Options Now.  The intentional messaging Vitae provides help more women locate a local center rather than an abortion facility.

“We cannot win on the defense,” West said.

West named Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Trevon Martin as members of the black community whom America recognizes as lives that mattered. But at the same time, we have to talk about and recognize that all black lives matter from the moment of conception until death.

Abortion, as West showed, is causing an unprecedented destruction of black lives. “How many will it take that will never see Dr. King’s dream before we wake up and understand that we have to turn this around?”

We can hope that it won’t take many more, because all black lives matter.