When I woke up this morning, I did the same thing I do every morning. I made myself a few cups of coffee, ate some yogurt, then I checked my Facebook (don’t judge me).
I scrolled through more of the same, cat memes, baby pictures . Nothing out of the ordinary until, a black and white photo of a woman from the 1930’s caught my attention. Underneath the photo was a caption that read:
“Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.”
The woman in the photo was Margaret Sanger. A birth control activist, sex educator , a nurse, and the founder of Planned Parenthood.
Even though I’m pretty sure that everything I read quoted in a meme on the Internet is without doubt a fact. This one raised my suspicions. So I decided to do a bit of fact searching.
During my search for answers I was unable to find an actual source for the quote, but I did find it repeated over and over again on Pro Life and extremist web sites and blogs.
I also found that eugenics w
as a part of Sanger’s agenda. Meaning that she believed that there are some people who just should not reproduce. I’m not so sure that is a bad thing.
All joking aside, eugenics can be simply defined as a practice aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population. Birth control is one way to prevent certain groups of people who would be considered “unfit” from having children.
Sanger’s is quoted as saying:
“I accepted one branch of this philosophy, but eugenics without birth control seemed to me a house built upon sands. It could not stand against the furious winds of economic pressure which had buffeted into partial or total helplessness a tremendous proportion of the human race. The eugenists wanted to shift the birth control emphasis from less children for the poor to more children for the rich. We went back of that and sought first to stop the multiplication of the unfit. This appeared the most important and greatest step towards race betterment.”
In Sanger’s day, eugenics were a popular theory in the U.S. 75% of colleges offered such courses. Does this mean that the organization she founded is a racist one?
I then went on to read about one of Planned Parenthood’s earliest projects. In 1939 they designed The Negro Project, according to some, was designed to control the sprouting of those “weeds” mentioned earlier. The project set up clinics in poor Black communities and gave access to birth control and abortion. Many consider this to be part of Planned Parenthood’s “Black Genocide” agenda to this very day. Some even accuse the clinics of strategically placing their clinics in poor and ethnic neighborhoods in the attempt at some brown baby “Holocaust”. Many critics of Sanger and Planned Parenthood accuse the organization of being responsible for the decline in the Black population and that the Negro Project was designed to sterilize black women and other “undesirables without their knowledge.
Margaret Sanger advocated birth control so that abortion would not be nesessary.
In her autobiography she states:
We explained simply what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way — no matter how early it was performed it was taking a life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way — it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun.”
While Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortion, those procedures only make up 3% of services.The accusation that they are planning to eradicate the Black population reeks of using race to make women feel guilty about their choices.
Do I believe that Margaret Sanger was absolutely not a racist? No, it is a possibility.
Do I believe that Planned Parenthood is trying to single handedly wipe out the Black race through abortion? No, I don’t believe that either.
Planned Parenthood offers options to women in order to help them manage the size of their families, for those of us who would choose not to live as a broodmare.
They also offer other services. These services vary depeding on location but they include:
Thyroid, diabetes, and cholesterol screening, as well as testing for cervical cancer and STD testing. They even have some men’s health services.
These are invaluable services for someone with limited resources. It doesn’t sound much like genocide. The way people viewed things in the 30’s is vastly different than the way things are viewed today. Judging an organization because it’s founder didn’t have modern day ideals just doesn’t make sense.
This isn’t a “pro” or “anti” issue. The issue here is that race is being used as a scare tactic and it just doesn’t get much lower than that. There are people who may not seek health services because they are being led to believe that they will be hurt somehow. People should not have to feel afraid to seek medical attention.