Member, Hosea Board of Advisors
While talking with a friend last week, she mentioned her weekend plans included a trip to our local blood bank. Her comment brought to mind a childhood memory.
When I was in grade school, Mom let me wander around the children’s section of the local library and choose an assortment of books to take home with us. When I finished, Mom reviewed my choices, making sure I was reading age-appropriate material. As my reading progressed, I remember being fascinated with biographies.
I still recall one of the first biographies I ever read. It was about Dr. Charles Richard Drew, an African-American surgeon and researcher born in 1904 who developed a method for storing blood plasma. His discoveries led to the establishment of blood banks. Today, he is known as “The Father of the Blood Bank.”
Because I have received transfusions, I am grateful for Dr. Drew’s work. Without his discoveries the first blood banks would not have been established in the 1940s. By the time I was born in the 1970s, blood transfusions had become routine. As my mind wandered, I started wondering if Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, had had her way earlier, whether Dr. Drew, an African-American, would have ever been born.
Planned Parenthood is responsible for the vast majority of abortions within the United States. According to multiple websites I checked, Planned Parenthood performs more than 332,000 annually. Although the number is staggering and should move all of us to action, just one abortion can affect the lives of so many. For example, what if Dr. Drew had been aborted? How many lives would have been lost without his lifesaving work?
As I sat with that unpleasant idea, I also thought about Sanger’s “Negro Project” and its effect on the African-American population. Started in 1939, the “Negro Project” was Sanger’s justification to promote eugenics in an effort to eliminate those she deemed unfit. Although the project didn’t start until the late 1930s, Sanger had long advocated for eugenics.
For example, in 1919 she wrote an article titled “Birth Control and Racial Betterment” which appeared in the Birth Control Review.
The article begins, “Before eugenicists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for Birth Control. Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenicists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods.”
Just whom did Sanger and others around her consider unfit?
An excerpt from a letter she wrote to Dr. Clarence Gamble might shed some light on her thoughts. (Dr. Gamble encouraged Sanger to merge the Clinical Birth Control Research Bureau with the American Birth Control League. In 1939, it became known as the Birth Control Federation of America. Today it is known as Planned Parenthood.)
“It seems to me from my experience … that while the colored Negroes have a great respect for white doctors they can get closer to their own members and more or less lay their cards on the table which means their ignorance, superstitions and doubts.
We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal.
We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out the idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
It’s worth noting Sanger relied upon the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to promote her work. His niece, Dr. Alveda King, full-time director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, an outreach of Priests for Life, says she grows weary of the organization’s arguments.
In 2011, she wrote, “"Sometimes I wonder if Planned Parenthood will ever get tired of lying about my Uncle Martin, and then I remind myself that a business built on the lie that a baby isn’t a baby is a stranger to the truth. Just to be clear one more time, there’s no way Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., were he alive today, would support an organization that has helped destroy one-quarter of the African-American population."
One man who might understand the impact of the “Negro Project” is Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. During an interview in 2015, he said, “And one of the reasons you find most of their clinics in black neighborhoods is so that you can find a way to control that population. I think people should go back and read about Margaret Sanger who founded this place.”
Maybe we should all heed Dr. Carson’s advice.