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Monday, February 6, 2012

"...aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race..."

"The NAACP and Black Abortions". If you don't know (and would like to know) where the NAACP, Rev. Clenard Childress, a New Jersey pastor, and Day Gardner, Levon Yuille and Dr. Alveda King, a niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King, stand, this article will help. The article's author is not alone in calling the NAACP to task:
[C]ould not the NAACP work for a society where pregnant African-Americans had two doors open to them? Planned Parenthood's not going anywhere, so the first would still lead to America's largest abortion provider, a business that has already eliminated millions from America's population. But the other would lead to people whose business is of a vastly different order: welcoming these children into the world, and getting their moms the help they need to live lives of purpose and dignity.

Then again, that would give women a real choice.
Many times, visitors here and those I've met in person have dismissed me (anyone, for that matter) when the racist and eugenicist foundations of Planned Parenthood and its creator, Margaret Sanger, were pointed out to them. Nothing in this article is news to us who are contributors or regulars here. But these facts appearing in a mainstream newspaper might--who knows?--finally get through the dense wall of outraged disbelief we usually encounter:
...students at UCLA hired actors to call up Planned Parenthood clinics posing as donors. In one call, the actor expressed his dislike of affirmative action, and said that he just felt that "the less black kids out there, the better." The woman responded, "understandable, understandable" and went on to say she was "excited" about the donation. Other calls yielded similar embarrassing results.
On the other side, of course, are the maternity homes and Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Planned Parenthood and their allies accuse these centers of posing as medical clinics, offering religion instead of science, and of "traumatizing" pregnant women by showing them things like sonograms. It's an odd complaint from a group that runs a Web site called Teenwire – which offers adolescents tips on everything from anal sex to a crude, animated condom game. Given that the overwhelming majority of women who have abortions are over age 20, showing one a sonogram or telling her "Jesus loves you" seems pretty tame stuff.
Then a letter appeared in response to the article. It was written by Angela Franks, Ph.D., author of "Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Legacy."

William McGurn ("The NAACP and Black Abortions," Main Street, July 15, 2008) correctly notes the eugenic roots of Planned Parenthood's current pursuit of poor minority clients.

Even more than race, poverty was universally accepted by eugenicists to indicate genetic "unfitness." Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood's founder, said it clearly: "All our problems are the result of over-breeding among the working class."

In addition, Ms. Sanger targeted charitable assistance to the poor. In 1922, she castigated such philanthropy in these terms: "Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant."

Given this history, the poor have good reason to be suspicious of Planned Parenthood's current intentions.

Angela Franks, Ph.D.
Brighton, Mass.

Dr. Franks is the author of "Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Legacy."
The use of the words "stocks" and "over-breeding" are borrowed straight out of the world of raising animals: "Breeding stock is a term used to describe a group of animals used for purpose of planned breeding. When individuals are looking to breed animals, they look for certain valuable traits in purebred stock for a certain purpose, or may intend to use some type of crossbreeding to produce a new type of stock with different, and presumably superior abilities in a given area of endeavor." [emphasis this author]

Sanger was white. There can be no doubt whose "race" she intended Planned Parenthood to protect.

If you're really open to this messing with your head, read some of the worst statements she made or which others made that she published, here.

Franks is refreshing:
"Racist comments sometimes appeared in the Birth Control Review while it was under Sanger's editorship, but they were in articles not written by her. Little direct evidence has been uncovered to date that she herself specifically drew the distinction between the "fit" and the "unfit" along racial lines. She did believe in preventing the "unfit" from reproducing, and insofar as large portions of racial minorities fell into the categories of "unfitness," she believed that their reproducing should be limited, by force if necessary. It is correct, therefore, to call Sanger an 'elitist bigot' in that she advocated the control of the alleged over-production of the "unfit," a population specified by categories that often included large portions of racial minorities. There is insufficient evidence to argue that [Sanger] was an out-and-out racist."
Franks, for example, gives Sanger the benefit of the doubt over the letter to Clarence Gamble, Oct. 19,1939 about the Negro Project, which is kept with other Sanger manuscripts in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College. So on that point, I stand corrected:
The Negro Project is the most questionable activity of Sanger regarding race. In 1939, the Birth Control Federation of America initiated the project, which was to promote family planning among the black population of the South, using black ministers. A letter to Clarence Gamble says: "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." (Margaret Sanger to Clarence Gamble, October 19, 1939, Sanger Smith Collection, quoted in Linda Gordon, Woman's Body, Woman's Right: Birth Control in America, second edition [New York: Penguin Books, 1990,] 332-33)

Some people believe that this letter reveals a sinister intent to exterminate the black population; others argue that it is simply expressing a possible misconception that blacks might have about the project and how to address that misconception. Given the lack of further evidence, it is not clear how to interpret the letter. This is the only really questionable statement about blacks in Sanger's writings; elsewhere she claims to oppose "race prejudice."
But Franks goes on to state the obvious for anyone who can read English:
The fact that Sanger printed articles that contained racist statements points to the difference between what she said and what she is responsible for. What she said can be proved by her writings. What she is responsible for involves her effects on others. She certainly attracted to her cause racists and other bigots. Since she reprinted and legitimatized their opinions, she bears a huge measure of responsibility for perpetuating racism. Let us look at some of the racists with whom Sanger worked:
Harry Laughlin ... Lothrop Stoddard ... Guy Irving Burch ... Clarence Gamble ... Hans Harmsen ... and of course, Dr. Alan Guttmacher himself, "former vice-president of the American Eugenics Society."

I know the Wall Street Journal is a more conservative newspaper (and it isn't just about Wall Street and stocks and bonds, for those who don't read it), but still, to see these things in this publication, things we and many others have been writing about for almost 10 years, gives me some hope. What we've been reporting for all this time, was finally getting reported by at least a few mainstream media outlets at least as of 2008.

[This post originally appeared July 23, 2008 and has been re-issued with updates here.]

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