Not just Planned Parenthood: A look at NARAL’s racist, eugenicist founders

NARAL, abortion group, EACH Act

Currently on a book tour, Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, is claiming that the pro-life movement was not started in response to the treating of humans in the womb as property to be disposed of as a woman sees fit, but as a “Trojan horse to move a deeply unpopular, regressive policy agenda” of “men’s rights.” Hogue fails to mention that in reality, the pro-abortion movement of the 1960s was actually hijacked by men who pressured women’s groups to adopt a pro-abortion position — a decision which deeply divided the women’s movement.

Hogue also fails to mention that NARAL itself was founded largely by men, a fact which National Organization for Women (NOW) founder and NARAL co-founder Betty Friedan admitted to an audience in 1989 where she said “women were not the majority of people” who helped to form the organization. Two of NARAL’s three member pre-formation planning committee were men: Garrett Hardin and Lawrence Lader, who held and promoted radical racist, eugenicist ideas about population control.

Because Hogue is not being forthcoming about the history of her own organization, here is what readers should know about the founding ideals of one of the nation’s most powerful pro-abortion lobbying groups.

Image: Larry Lader and Garrett Hardin NARAL founders

Larry Lader and Garrett Hardin, two of NARAL’s founders

Garrett Hardin: “Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all”

Garrett Hardin was a “leading ecological thinker, whose views influenced debates on abortion, immigration, foreign aid, overpopulation, and other provocative issues,” according to a University of California archived history of Hardin. But the NARAL founding member was also disturbingly described by UC Political Science Professor Matto Mildenberger as “a racist, eugenicist, nativist and Islamophobe.”

Hardin was a leader of the American Eugenics Society perhaps best known for his essay, “Tragedy of the Commons,” published in 1968, a year before joining the NARAL founding committee. According to the LA Times, Hardin argued “that humanity must curtail some of its freedoms to stave off overpopulation and environmental disasters.” His ideas mirrored those of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who once advocated requiring families to obtain licenses to have children.

“Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all… The only way we can preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed, and that very soon,” Hardin stated.

License to Breed Margaret Sanger

Two years after the founding of NARAL, Hardin again suggested in a New York Times op-ed that the “Right to Breed” was not an absolute freedom, writing in part:

Having given up so many freedoms already it is natural to resist giving up this additional one, the freedom to breed… Unfortunately, logic and experience show that continuing to support the right to breed is suicidal… It is not a question of freedom vs. nonfreedom. If we defend the freedom to breed, we shall ultimately lose all other freedoms as a result of unbearable overcrowding.

“There is always infanticide to fall back on”

According to Hardin, “If abortion did not solve the planning problem there was always infanticide to fall back on… Most people think that the practice of infanticide is confined to savages. This is not true,” he wrote.

On the starving poor in Ethiopia, the New York Times separately reported Hardin as once suggesting, “[I]f you give food and save lives and thus increase the number of people, you increase suffering and ultimately increase the loss of life.”

Coerced “sterilization doesn’t seem so bad”

In 1971, The Gadsden Times documented Hardin’s coercive abortion and sterilization ideas, quoting Hardin as saying, “Let’s call it X number. Now, when a woman goes in to have that X child, she would be advised that she has the alternative of sterilization, if she so desires. But after that X child, X plus 1, she would no longer have an alternative. She would by law be required to have an abortion and sterilization.”

“The idea of sterilization as punishment is unrealistic…. But if we think of it in fact as helping the woman, the family and the world, sterilization doesn’t seem so bad,” Hardin added.

“In the case of overpopulation, Hardin said, the coercion could take the form of China’s one-child law, or regulations offering tax credits only for the first two children in a family,” the previously mentioned Los Angeles Times article added.

Hardin was against immigration, reportedly because “most immigrants into the United States… have been Mexicans, blacks from the Caribbean and Africa, and Asians,” and according to the Garret Hardin Society website, Hardin believed that “an increasingly multicultural society” was “a recipe for social disorder….” In 1990, Hardin was awarded by the anti-immigration Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), where he served as a board member.

In 1974, Hardin was elected into membership in the American Philosophical Society, and he received funding from the Pioneer Fund, whose founders were high ranking officers of the American eugenics movement. Hardin and his wife were deeply involved with Zero Population Growth and Planned Parenthood, and in 1980 he received Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award. Hardin belonged to the Hemlock Society and took his own life in 2003.

Larry Lader: “Father of Abortion Rights” believed minorities needed abortion the most

As a founding member of NARAL, Larry Lader was joined by former abortionist (later turned pro-life activist) Bernard Nathanson, who later exposed how NARAL deceived the American public with inflated deaths of women from illegal abortion. According to the New York Times, Lader and other “radicals” met in his apartment on July 30, 1968, and in July of 1969, they met in Chicago and formed the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL).

Hiding the eugenic agenda

Lader, dubbed the “Father of the Abortion Rights,” was a biographer and disciple of Margaret Sanger. While Sanger openly used eugenic terms when she spoke, Lader was more subtle, claiming that society needed to look out for the “protection of the child and its future.” But what Lader really meant was not the future of every child, but the future of the elites, the perfect, and those who were mostly Caucasian. Still, Lader maintained that in order for abortion to be legalized, the eugenic agenda must be hidden from the public, and “women… and some Blacks” must be kept “out front” once recruited to the cause.

Minority children are “unwanted”

In his writings, Lader bemoaned that the “balance” of adoptable babies had shifted from white babies to minority children, which he called “unwanted,” writing that the critical problem was “in New York and many cities with minority populations.”

“[T]he excess for infants for adoption are mainly Negro and Puerto Rican,” he claimed, and added that the cost of welfare to care for such “illegitimate children” was “steep.”

Lader suggested that “Puerto Ricans, Negroes, [and] other minority groups” were the groups who needed abortion the most, telling WNCY that society can “no longer afford to bring into the world ten, fifteen children, most of whom will be starving not just in India, but often in our own home, will become the flotsam and jetsam of society, will become the drug addict.”

In his 1966 book, “Abortion,” he stressed, “We will only defeat ourselves by producing an endless cycle of unwanted children. Those born in slums, for example, denied even the smallest share of education and economic opportunity, have little chance of realizing their full potential as citizens.” There, he mirrored the claims of Garrett Hardin, whom he quoted as saying, “When unwanted children become parents they are more likely than others to be poor parents themselves and breed another generation of unwanted children. This is a vicious cycle if there ever was one. It is ruinous to the social system.” (p. 156)

“Above all, society must grasp the grim relationship between unwanted children and the violent rebellion of minority groups,” Lader went on to state.

Lader remained active in NARAL until 1976, when he left for reasons “no one chooses to discuss,” noted the LA Times.

Today, NARAL has purged these eugenicists from its public pages. In addition, NARAL has in recent years also failed to condemn modern systemic racism and misogyny within the abortion movement, even praising Planned Parenthood’s racist founder Margaret Sanger.

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