Last week, Planned Parent-hood founder Margaret Sanger was examined for evidence of a racist and eugenic agenda in her early work, and was caught red-handed. Her colleagues had ties with the Third Reich, and spoke publicly about the “Jew Problem” and the “black peril.” (Knopf, 1925.) She herself called black aborigines “just a step higher than the chimpanzee.” (What Every Girl Should Know, 1920.)
However, when issues about the history of Planned Parent-hood and its founder come up, two common criticisms are:
- “Just because she was racist then doesn’t mean Planned Parent-hood is racist now. They even had an African American president, Faye Wattleton!”
- “Planned Parent-hood is mostly about birth control; they existed decades before abortion was even legal.”
Ironically, that’s exactly the point of this article. Planned Parent-hood is about birth control; it was born out of a eugenic movement that recommended sterilization and segregation as its primary birth control tools. And immediately after sterilization and segregation legally failed, abortion appeared on the scene, and minorities were targeted for abortion just as heavily as they were targeted before for sterilization and segregation. The sad truth: abortion became a far more effective and
lucrative eugenic tactic than anything that came before it.
More sadly still, the eugenic movement seduced black leadership by rebranding eugenic birth control as a civil right, and that’s exactly how an African American woman could end up as president of a still-racist organization.
The Seduction of Black Leadership and the Founding of the Negro Project
In 1939, Sanger retooled the Birth Control League to become the Birth Control Federation of America. Under this new name, Sanger’s first goal was called the “The Negro Project,” intended to persuade black women to stop having children.
Dr. Clarence Gamble (of Proctor and Gamble fame) who had served as director of the Birth Control League and was appointed as the regional director of the South, sent Sanger a memo entitled “Suggestion for Negro Project,” where he warned that black leaders would likely see her strategy as a plot to exterminate the blacks. His solution? Enlist carefully selected black leaders to spread the word instead. They’d take the pill if it were from their own people and no one would suspect a thing!
He even had a strategy worked out: merge it with the familiar and trusted framework of their current religious practice. The steps were simple and effective:
- Enlist skilled black ministers with a gift for revivalist tactics to gather and excite people
- At the right moment, parade “colored nurses” and “colored doctors” in front of the crowd as the message moves towards improving the lives of black families.
A clever bait and switch, wouldn’t you say? In Sanger’s reply letter on Dec. 10. 1939, she agreed with his strategy. “We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten that idea out if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Within months, two Negro Projects were started in the south, and the BCFA began testing black leadership to see if they would bite. Once of her early enlistees was Dr. W. E. Burghardt DuBois, who in June of 1932 had published the article “Black Folk and Birth Control” in which he make a critical distinction between “those Negroes who were striving to improve their economic position and those whose religious faith made the limitation of children a sin.” He starkly condemned the “mass of ignorant negroes” and called their childbearing both careless and disastrous, since those who were “least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly” were the ones having the most children.
In that same June, 1932 edition, black author Walter A. Terpenning said, “The birth of a colored child, even to parents who can give it adequate support, is pathetic in view of the unchristian and undemocratic treatment likely to be accorded it at the hands of a predominantly white community.”
Another prominent black supporter was Charles S. Johnson, Fisk University’s first black president, who wrote that “eugenic discrimination” was necessary for blacks because of higher rates of disease and infection among black mothers and infants. Johnson went on to join the National Advisory Council to the Birth Control Federation of America.
Once Black leadership in church, academics, and politics began selling eugenics as a vehicle for the enhancement the lives of African Americans, the lie was sold.
Targeting Blacks in South Carolina
The BCFA opened the second clinic for the Negro Project on May 1, 1940, in rural Berkeley County, South Carolina. The area was 70% black. When the clinic failed to improve the lives of the local black community as promised, blame was laid on their moral restrictions and ignorance, instead of on the harsh medical realities and racial discrimination of the day. In a speech about the future direction of the BCFA at their 1942 annual meeting, board member Dr. Dorothy B. Ferebee said that future programs needed to focus more on recruiting and training black professionals to reach those currently resistant to the idea, since the function of the ABCL was a “vital key to the elimination of human waste” and to be effective it “must reach the entire population.” Among her reasons for soliciting black professional for this job were that they would “not be suspect of the intent to eliminate the race.”
How Eugenics Used the Civil Rights Movement as the Ultimate Smokescreen
Below, I’ve sketched out an interesting timeline of certain 20th century events. As you read it, watch the intertwined threads of two very different movements converge on a single point. First, observe a strong eugenic movement striving to sterilize and segregate inferiors. Entangled historically with that movement is another totally unrelated movement: civil rights for women and for minorities.
- 1917: Sanger publishes the first edition of the Birth Control Review, her chief pro-eugenic mouthpiece
- 1920: The 19th Amendment grants women the right to vote.
- 1921: Sanger, Stoddard and others start the American Birth Control League
- 1926: Sanger gives a lecture to the women’s auxiliary of the Klu Klux Klan
- 1930+: 17 States passed sterilization laws, and thousands of minority women each year were sterilized against their will
- 1933: Rudin writes the sterilization laws for Nazi Germany and publishes an article in Sanger’s Birth Control Review
- 1939: Sanger’s American Birth Control League becomes Birth Control Federation of America
- 1940: The BCFA Negro Project opens a clinic Berkeley County, SC, an area that was 70% black.
- 1942: Birth Control Federation of American becomes Planned Parent-hood Federation of America
- 1947: Segregation is ended in national sports by the acceptance of Jackie Robinson
- 1952: International Planned Parent-hood Federation is launched
- 1954: Brown v Board of Ed decision rules school segregation to be unconstitutional
- 1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat
- 1962: Alan Guttmacher becomes president of Planned Parent-hood
- 1964: Civil rights act bars discrimination based on race and sex.
- 1966: The National Organization for Women is founded
- 1969: NARAL is founded (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws) and pro-abortion campaigns are launched across the country
- 1972: Forced sterilization of minority women is struck down in court
- 1973: Abortion is de-criminalized in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton, in the name of civil rights
- 1974-2011: Planned Parent-hood rapidly becomes the leading provider of abortions in the United States.
Another clever bait and switch.
Is the Eugenics Program Still Going On?
So how has the eugenic program faired since segregation and sterilization have been made illegal, and abortion made legal? Before 1972, thousands of minority women were sterilized each year, but almost immediately after Roe v Wade in 1973, the number of legal abortions quickly climbed into the millions.
Since it was legal for everyone, this doesn’t immediately indicate anything racial, except for two very important facts:
- The birth control campaigns like the Negro Project that gave birth to Planned Parent-hood heavily targeted minorities
- Planned Parent-hood has placed the vast majority of their clinics in minority neighborhoods
The result? According to the Guttmacher Institute, black women are 5 times more likely than white women to have an abortion. Since Roe v Wade, 10% of the white race has been wiped out, but 28% of the black race has been wiped out. The black community makes up only 12% of the American population, but they have 36% of all the abortions–so black babies are dying more than 3x as fast! By 2008, close to 14,000,000 black babies have been killed by abortion.
Watch a clip from our full length documentary film
about this disturbing information:
These numbers are far more aggressive than anything accomplished by sterilization. Abortion has been more effective at achieving the eugenic agenda than forced sterilization ever was, because the birth control + abortion methodology is far more effective: instead of traumatizing women against their will, now they sell it as freedom, sell it as choice, sell it as a government funded service, and make hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, while achieving the same result: a declining black population.
This is a matter of historical fact: to maintain stable population, each family must have 2.1 children. Since 2003, the black community has dropped below that line, and is on the decline.
So it looks like the goals of the Negro Project were wildly successful after all: Almost universally, black leadership still votes and rules in favor of abortion, and abortion is the new golden egg of the eugenics movement.
We welcome your comments! What do you think? Is Planned Parent-hood still racist according to the numbers?
We cover this subject and a whole lot more in Bloodmoney – The Business of Abortion, our full-length documentary film. We currently have a dwindling supply of sleeve-only copies available for only $10, so get your copy today.