The following is the third in a series of excerpts from “Rebuilding America” to be featured on HumanEvents.com.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of the organization that today is Planned Parenthood, began her crusade for abortion on the theme of eugenics. Her journal, The Birth Control Review, is filled with articles advocating the elimination of the “unfit,” including those with mental and physical disabilities, to produce a superior race of human geniuses. Her slogan, “Birth Control: To Create a Race of Thoroughbreds,” appealed to the type of racist thinking that gave rise to Hitler’s propaganda and the resultant “racial purification” violence of the concentration camps. Her writings are filled with a mix of the popular ideas of her day, drawn from early sexual psychology and Darwinism. She advocated that women separate sex from childbearing so as to preserve the “right” to have an abortion when childbearing does not suit their economic or psychological needs. Her views were extreme to the point where almost any reason expressed by a woman justifies abortion, even when the need is simply inconvenience. Sanger’s writings strongly attack Christianity, often expressing a vehement anti-Catholicism. She wanted sexual freedom to replace religion. She intended the combination of birth control and abortion to produce more children from the “fit” and fewer children from the “unfit.”
In 1939 Sanger launched what came to be known as “the Negro Project,” a concerted attempt to build birth-control clinics in black areas across the country. The underlying goal was to limit the rising number of African Americans by reducing African American birthrates throughout the rural South as well as in the urban cities of the North. By placing birth-control centers in or near black communities, Sanger sought to convince African Americans that by having fewer babies more carefully “spaced” in a family, African Americans would enjoy an improved standard of health that would be measured in a reduction in maternal and infant deaths. Sanger’s letters of the time outline a plan to convince black religious leaders to preach the virtues of birth control. The tone of her letters conveys a thinly disguised racism aimed at attacking the “reproductive practices of black Americans.” In a 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence J. Gamble, prominent for creating the soap-manufacturing company of Proctor and Gamble, Sanger wrote, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Obviously, this needed to be written precisely because Sanger’s message did sound like an extermination attack. Gamble was then serving as southern director for Sanger’s Birth Control Federation of America, a predecessor to Planned Parenthood.
The statistics on African American abortions are shocking. Even though African Americans are only about 13 percent of the U.S. population, one of every three abortions in the United States is performed on a black woman. Three of every five African American women will abort a child. Some 1,452 African American babies are killed each day in abortions. Let’s compare these statistics to the number of African Americans who have been killed by crimes of racial violence. Statistics show that between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 blacks were lynched in the United States. That number is bypassed by the number of African American abortions every three days. Let’s project the favorable consequences had the aborted babies been allowed to live. Had the 13 million babies aborted since Roe v. Wade in 1973 been allowed to live, today’s African American population of 37 million could reasonably be projected to exceed 50 million today. In other words, today’s potential African American population has been reduced 25 percent by abortions. And the 13 million African American abortions are estimated to have enriched the U.S. abortion industry by some $4 billion since Roe v. Wade.
Supporters of abortion like to argue that the incidence of abortion may simply be a timing issue. In other words, if a woman aborts a child, she may later have a child, supposedly when her life circumstances are more suitable for her to be a mother. This argument attempts to say that abortions do not reduce long-term population growth trends; abortions merely change the timing of births. U.S. government data present contrary evidence. Fertility, defined as the number of births per 1,000 women, was identified at 84.9 for black women in 1980; by 2002, the fertility rate among black women had fallen to 65.8. Similar reductions did not occur among white women. For white women, the fertility rate in 1980 was 65.6 births per 1,000 women; by 2002, the fertility rate for white women was 64.8, little changed. Granted, abortions are not the only reason black women may be having fewer babies. Yet the statistics would indicate that the birthrate trend is downward for African Americans. In 1980 the higher fertility among blacks should have indicated a growing African American population. The straight-line downward progression since 1980 suggests that the African American population, as a percentage of total U.S. population, is unlikely to increase from births. Abortions since Roe v. Wade have taken a far greater toll among African Americans than among whites. Of some 40 million abortions in the United States since 1973, some 30 percent are African American, even though African Americans are only about 13 percent of the population.
If abortions were being supported by conservative Republicans instead of by liberal Democrats, African Americans would be loudly arguing that the true goal of abortion was to eliminate the African American race from the United States through attrition. But that is not the case. Abortion has been one of the central causes advanced by the political Left since the 1960s.
To “market” abortion, the political Left has packaged the concept around “pro-choice,” the supposed right of a woman to self-determine her own body, including the right to choose even a late-term abortion, regardless of whether the woman had taken any steps to prevent pregnancy. In 2005 David Kupelian argued in his important book, The Marketing of Evil, that the political Left has waged a war on marriage, determined to advance an agenda of sexual license that includes same-sex marriage and teaching homosexuality and lesbianism in our schools, an agenda whose forefront argument is the “right” to demand an abortion:
What if reporters and editors cut through the high-flying rhetoric of civil rights and constitutional freedom and women’s health and brought the issue down to little, perfectly formed human babies—three thousand of them every day, the same number of people as perished on 9/11—being painfully ripped apart, suctioned, chemically burned, sliced up, or decapitated?
What if the press diligently reported on the proven and devastating physical and psychological effects abortion has on women or on the many studies that show abortion leads to an increased risk of breast cancer? What if the press actually broadcast pictures or videos of abortions?
Kupelian answers his own questions. Presented with the cold reality of abortions, Americans would “see the truth once again, and the realization of the horror of abortion would, as it did for centuries before this generation, seep into and eventually pervade the public consciousness.” As a result, abortions would again become illegal, recognized as barbaric and criminal acts of murder, except in rare and carefully defined circumstances. Politically correct thinking as defined by the Left demands that we accept “abortion upon demand,” allowing even unmarried teenagers to kill their unborn babies simply because the pregnancy is not the best decision for the moment.
Margaret Sanger would be among the first to argue that babies born into poverty constitute an economic and health burden that justifies killing the fetus. Nowhere will the pro-abortion movement accept responsibility for what is obvious, that these arguments result in more African American abortions. Since the political Left blames white America for black poverty, the political Left believes white America is responsible for perpetuating the economic and health conditions that “cause” abortion to be disproportionately a problem today in African American communities. Victimization is the main perspective through which the Left sees all racial problems. For the Left, the victims are always the minority and the culprits are always the white majority. The truth is that the political Left’s almost religious adherence to a policy of abortion on demand has unleashed abortion doctors to kill unborn babies almost indiscriminately in the black community.
Contrary to what the political Left wants us to believe, unwanted pregnancies are not a “disease,” nor is the appropriate “medical treatment” an abortion. Abortion is not justified by the argument that there are inadequate economic resources to care for all unwanted babies unless they are killed by abortion. Families wanting to adopt babies frequently are blocked from doing so, often by the cumbersome nature of adoption rules and regulations, but rarely because there are no babies available to adopt. The population of the United States is not “improved” when unborn black babies are killed. How many business leaders, academic luminaries, artistic geniuses, future mothers and fathers were lost to America when 13 million African American unborn babies have been killed since 1973? This loss is a loss not only to the African American community but also to America and the world as a whole.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter