Analysis

Does Planned Parenthood’s eugenicist founder need to be ‘reinterpreted’? One workshop speaker thinks so.

Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger

An event scheduled for later this month at Smith College seeks to “reinterpret Margaret Sanger,” the eugenicist founder of Planned Parenthood, who created the “Negro Project” which targeted Black Americans with a birth control agenda. The workshop , entitled “Reinterpreting Margaret Sanger through a Black Feminist Lens,” features Black abortion rights activist Loretta Ross. The flyer (image below) shared on Twitter states:

When a Black woman walks through anti-abortion protesters at abortion clinics, chants of “Martin Luther King” and “Margaret Sanger” dog their footsteps, usually shouted by white people who claim that abortion is black genocide. They entwine these two iconic names as if one contradicts the other. This workshop will explore how the intersection of race and gender affects how Margaret Sanger is interpreted through a Black feminist lens.

But Sanger needs no “reinterpreting” — she herself openly advocated eugenics and admittedly met with members of the Ku Klux Klan. And what the flyer for the workshop doesn’t say is that it isn’t “white people” who “claim that abortion is Black genocide” — those who first called it by that name were Black leaders alive during the very time the agenda was introduced by Planned Parenthood.

Image: Reinterpreting Margaret Sanger workshop with abortion advocates (Image: FCWSRC Twitter)

Reinterpreting Margaret Sanger workshop with abortion advocates (Image: FCWSRC Twitter)

Workshop speaker Loretta Ross is a former co-founder of Sister Song, a group she admitted is “pro-choice” on abortion. Ryan Bomberger founder of The Radiance Foundation has previously referred to Ross as a “national leader of pro-abortion opposition to Black pro-lifers.” WATCH:

Bomberger wrote:

Ross’ SisterSong established the “Trust Black Women Partnership,” a nationwide collective of minority “pro-choice” groups…. Ross, whose duplicity rivals that of Margaret Sanger, frequently acknowledges eugenics and population control… yet fails to place the blame on the obvious perpetrator of these destructive and racist efforts.

In other words, this effort to whitewash the eugenic, racist history of the pro-abortion movement is nothing new for Ross. She’s been doing it for years.

Sister Song is funded by abortion philanthropists such as the Hewlett Foundation, Packard Foundation, Ford Foundation, Buffett Foundation, and Planned Parenthood (2015 and 2016).

Image: Sister Song funded by Planned Parenthood 2015

Sister Song funded by Planned Parenthood 2015

Live Action News has documented how many of Sanger’s American Birth Control League (later renamed Planned Parenthood) board members were deeply entrenched in the racist philosophy of eugenics. Among those were Lothrop Stoddard — Exalted Cyclops of the Massachusetts chapter of the Ku Klux Klan — and Planned Parenthood’s first physician president, Alan F. Guttmacher. Thanks to Sanger, Planned Parenthood itself was steeped in the eugenics community.

A few Sanger quotes below showcase her eugenic mindset — one that has led to countless injustices:

  • We who advocate Birth Control… lay all our emphasis upon stopping not only the reproduction of the unfit but upon stopping all reproduction when there is not economic means of providing proper care for those who are born in health…. Eugenics without Birth Control seems to us a house builded upon the sands. It is at the mercy of the rising stream of the unfit….” (Source: Margaret Sanger’s “Birth Control and Racial Betterment)
  • “… I believe that now, immediately, there should be national sterilization for certain dysgenic types of our population who are being encouraged to breed and would die out were the government not feeding them.” (Source: Personal letter to Katharine Dexter McCormick in 1950)
  • We are in a condition of society today… where the masses of the unfit have propagated to such an extent that our intelligence is not able to grasp or cope with the conditions so created…. We have erected palatial residences for the unfit, for the insane, for the feebleminded,— for those who should never have been born…. Now the time has come when we must all join together in stopping at its source misery, ignorance, delinquency and crime. This is the program of the Birth Control movement….” (Source: Margaret Sanger’s opening speech at the first American birth control conference; Birth control, what it is, how it works, what it will do: the proceedings of the first American birth control conference held at the Hotel Plaza, New York, November 11, 12, 1921 by American Birth Control Conference)

 

Ross, who left SisterSong and is currently doing speaking appearances, has received awards from the American Humanist Association, Feminist Women’s Health Center (abortion facility chain), NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia, Family Planning Associates (abortion facility chain), and others. She previously correctly noted that NARAL and Planned Parenthood did not come out of the “feminist” movement. In the interview, Ross stated:

[…W]hen you look at the antecedents of NARAL and Planned Parenthood, they didn’t necessarily come out of the women’s movement. Planned Parenthood at best comes out of the health movement, the family planning movement, that until they hired Faye Wattleton, they hadn’t had a woman president since Margaret Sanger.

Feminism is not equivalent to supporting family planning. Just because you support family planning doesn’t mean you’re a feminist. You could be a population control person. And so they were, not so surprising, less feminist — even though I think the larger world sees them as feminist because of their support for family planning, we feminists don’t necessarily see them as such.

The workshop flyer gives no indication whether the eugenic history of Planned Parenthood will be discussed, nor does it indicate whether Black pro-life voices will be represented — voices like Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized by a eugenics court influenced heavily by Clarence Gamble, Sanger’s financier and American Birth Control League board as well as Planned Parenthood. Notable Black leaders of the past — Fannie Lou HamerDr. Mildred JeffersonDr. Dolores Bernadette GrierIowa Rep. June FranklinErma Clardy Craven, and even comedian Dick Gregory — tried to warn how abortion would be used as a tool of Black genocideToday, Black leaders and even former Planned Parenthood board members are speaking out about the organization’s eugenics agenda.

 

Planned Parenthood’s allies appear to be distracting the Black community from the truth about Planned Parenthood’s sordid history. Today, there is a coordinated strategy to normalize abortion among women of color and the Black community in general. Live Action News previously documented how Planned Parenthood vowed to fight for more Hollywood portrayals of women of color having abortions.

Tragically, Planned Parenthood’s eugenics agenda seems to be working. The data reveals that abortion disproportionately impacts the Black community, violently ending the lives of an estimated 1.7 million Black babies over the past decade.

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