The Population Council is the latest abortion rights organization to be publicly accused by a former staffer of racism. In a Twitter thread, Shannon Harvey, who says she worked for the Population Council for three years, posted images of correspondence she allegedly sent to the organization’s leaders documenting a concern that leadership and partners ignored racist motivations behind their programs. Harvey published the thread to explain why she signed a statement at ReproJobs condemning reports of racism in various reproductive rights organizations. Although Harvey no longer works for the Population Council, she accused the organization of being “endemically racist.”
According to Harvey’s LinkedIn page, she held several positions with the Population Council between 2017 and 2019, including as Associate Director of Philanthropy and Chief of Staff to the President. Harvey’s now-archived website confirms this, and her Twitter account includes pictures of Population Council leaders at global events she also allegedly attended.
Harvey listed several examples where, in her view, the Population Council ignored obviously racist motives. Live Action News has previously documented that founders of the Population Council were well connected to the eugenics movement. The organization brought the abortion pill to the U.S. and set up the pill’s manufacturer, Danco Laboratories, LLC, and today, eugenics-connected groups continue to fund the expansion of the abortion pill. In 1968, the Population Council teamed up with Disney to produce a film promoting “family planning”:
“I was in a meeting for this event where Danish officers stated that their govt was only interested in family planning because of immigration,” tweeted Harvey. “We went ahead & the President (knowing this) went to Denmark to solicit funding 2 months later.”
Harvey then admitted that she and the Population Council understood that some of their “supporters” were motivated by racism. She tweeted the image below of correspondence she allegedly sent to “Julia” (likely Julia Bunting, president of Population Council), after an alleged researcher asked for her help “raising funds for a project to get conservationists talking about population reduction to fight climate change.”
“As you well know… we have some supporters who hold frankly racist views about the link between population growth and climate change, and I feel strongly that we should be cautious that our advocacy doesn’t give those people fodder,” Harvey wrote in part.
“Three months later I was still being pressured to support that project,” Harvey tweeted.
The “project” identified by Harvey is “Population, Environmental Risk, and Climate Change (PERCC),” launched in 2018. According to a Population Council document, the initiative “generates rigorous research to better understand how climate and the environment impact people, and how people, in turn, impact the climate and their environment. ” PERCC was launched with a combination of small grants from external donors and a special allocation from the Population Council’s capital fund
In response to her concerns, Harvey claims the VP “basically” told her “it was in line with the strategy and to suck it up.”
“I repeatedly told the President and senior staff that I believed our position on family planning and climate change was racist and open to exploitation by white supremacists, she tweeted.
The Population Council’s “senior leaders” whom Harvey claimed were “75% white,” allegedly argued a need to “curb high fertility” and “reduce population to combat climate change.”
“I want to believe that we do the work we do because we want to see a world where everyone can fully exercise their reproductive rights, but I am frequently seeing senior leaders suggesting that this is not the case – whether it’s [redacted] arguing we need to curb high fertility, [redacted] and [redacted] arguing we need to reduce population to combat climate change, or [redacted] telling me that [redacted] concept for a project… is within PERCC’s remit. I am in a sensitive position, because I frequently have discussions with donors that I have to pull back from heading into a full-on population control territory, and I need clarity around what our actual position is an an organization,” Harvey wrote.
Harvey doubled down on her accusations, claiming a VP of the Population Council expressed a concern about African immigration into Europe.
“At a donor event a VP made this case for family planning: ‘There’s widespread concern about 4bn people in Africa: poverty, environment, famines… With 1bn Africans, immigration is more than [Europe] thinks they can handle. With 4bn people it will be a much bigger problem,'” she tweeted.
While Harvey expressed regret about her complicity with Population Council, she confessed that her Twitter thread only revealed “a fraction of what I was party to in my time at PopCouncil.”
In recent weeks, employees and former employees of several pro-abortion organizations have publicly exposed the racist underpinnings and practices at various “reproductive rights” organizations.
Although Planned Parenthood’s past is steeped in racist eugenics, hundreds of Planned Parenthood staffers recently exposed the fact that the corporation has not only a history but a “present steeped in white supremacy.” NARAL Pro-Choice America, which has staunchly defended Planned Parenthood’s eugenicist founder Margaret Sanger, also recently came under fire by staffers for alleged racism, as did the Feminist Majority Foundation and the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Abortion industry insider Dr. Daniel Grossman publicly admitted that groups in which he is an active leader, such as the University of California San Francisco, have “created and upheld structures that limit the success of Black and Brown scholars and staff.” According to an archived CV, Grossman previously “held the position of Health Specialist at the Population Council in Mexico City.
The Population Council’s latest annual report reveals $39.5 million in U.S. taxpayer funding in 2018, and $106,630,678 in net assets. The Population Council also receives financial support from the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Guttmacher Institute, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Marie Stopes International (MSI), the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), and International Planned Parenthood Federation, among others.
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