Investigative

Planned Parenthood’s ties to eugenics go far beyond Margaret Sanger

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One of the more frustrating things pro-lifers hear from abortion supporters is the claim that Planned Parenthood has never been about eugenics. It is simply intellectually dishonest as well as a total denial of history to make such a claim. Such was the case recently when MSNBC’s Joy Reid defended Planned Parenthood and cut off a guest who criticized Hillary Clinton because she once admitted that she admired Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger.

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger

According to author George Grant in his book Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood:

[Sanger] began to build the work of the American Birth Control League, and ultimately, of Planned Parenthood. Margaret relied heavily on the men, women, ideas, and resources of the Eugenics movement. Virtually all of the organization’s board members were Eugenicists. Financing for the early projects from the opening of the birth control clinics to the publishing of the revolutionary literature – came from Eugenicists. The speakers at the conferences, the authors of the literature and the providers of the services were almost without exception avid Eugenicists. And the international work of Planned Parenthood were originally housed in the offices of the Eugenics Society while the organizations themselves were institutionally intertwined for years.

Sanger was an avowed eugenicist and a member of the American Eugenics Society, and she also proudly spoke to the Ku Klux Klan, something she described in her autobiography…

I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan…I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses…I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak…In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered. (Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, P.366)

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger writes about her speech with the Klan

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger writes about her speech with the Klan

But, as abortion supporters who view Sanger as a heroine often do, they make the claim that Sanger is dead and therefore we are to simply ignore her Klan interactions, eugenics connections, rants about immigrants, push for forced sterilization and her failed goal of merging with the Eugenics Society.

Today, we are told that Sanger was a product of her day and that her attempt to have the “unfit” sterilized, the “feebleminded” shipped off, or her radical suggestion that couples be forced to get a permit from the state to have children (she wrote“No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit for parenthood“) had no lasting impact on the organization she founded, namely, Planned Parenthood.

The fact is that despite the claims of their supporters, not only does Planned Parenthood have a connection to eugenics separate from their founder, but many of Planned Parenthood’s officials were members or leaders of the American Eugenics Society. The following is a very abbreviated list of examples:

Henry P. Fairchild was vice president of Planned Parenthood and (surprise!) he was also a past president of the American Eugenics Society. According to the American Sociological Association, “One of Fairchild’s most famous contributions was the development of the Planned Parenthood of America Federation, called the Birth Control Federation of America until 1942. There he served on the Board of Directors in 1932 and later the Vice President from 1939-1948.”

Samuel W. Anderson was a member of the American Eugenics Society and served on Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Board of Directors.

CP Blacker was Secretary to the Eugenics Society and Vice Chairman of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

Mrs. Dorothy Brush was involved with the American Eugenics Society as well as the International Planned Parenthood Federation. In 1948, The Brush Foundation provided seed money to help establish the International Committee on Planned Parenthood (ICPP). In 1952, the organization opened its headquarters in London, England.

C. Lalor Burdick was a member of the American Eugenics Society and served on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and PPFA’s World Population Emergency Campaign.

Arkansas Eugenics Assoc. becomes state Planned Parenthood affiliate. (Image screen from Maafa21)

Arkansas Eugenics Society becomes state Planned Parenthood affiliate. (Image screen from Maafa21)

Mrs. Edward (Hilda) Cornish was not only a member of the American Eugenics Society, she was also an officer of the Arkansas Eugenics Association (later the Arkansas Eugenics Association, which would become the Arkansas State Affiliate of Planned Parenthood). Despite her direct connection to eugenics organizations, Cornish was named Arkansas Planned Parenthood’s executive director.

Robert L. Dickinson was a Vice President of Planned Parenthood and served on their Board of Directors. However, his eugenics ties were as deep as Sanger’s. In fact, he was a member of the American Eugenics Society as well as a committee chairman for Eugenics Research Associationevent.

Dr. Haven Emerson was on the Board of Directors for the American Eugenics Society and served as a Chairman of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Emerson was also a member of their National Medical Council.

In addition to those who officially served as leaders of Planned Parenthood who had direct ties to eugenics (too many to name here), there were others who were accepted with open arms despite their eugenics history.

Professor Frank Lorimer was part of the Eugenics Research Association and served on the editorial board of the Eugenics Quartlerly. Despite his eugenics connections, he represented the Planned Parenthood Federation of America at various meetings.

Dr. Charles F. Dight was the president of the Minnesota Eugenics Society when he wrote a letter to Adolf Hitler in 1933, wishing him success in “stamping out mental inferiority among the German people,” noting the Nazi leader’s efforts would “advance the eugenics movement in other nations as well as in Germany.”

In the 1930s, Dight joined the Minnesota Birth Control League, the forerunner of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota.

Charles F Dight letter to Hitler ( Image from document provided by the Minnesota Historical Society)

Charles F Dight letter to Hitler ( Image from document provided by the Minnesota Historical Society)

Frederic Osborn once wrote, “Eugenic goals are most likely attained under a name other than eugenics.” Osborn was a founding member of the American Eugenics Society who signed Margaret Sanger’s “Citizens Committee for Planned Parenthood,” published in her review in April of 1938. Some speculate that Planned Parenthood’s infamous slogan “Every Child a Wanted Child” may have originated with Osborn.

Planned Parenthood invites Eugenics officer to speak to their lunch

Planned Parenthood invites Eugenics officer to speak to their lunch

In 1958, Planned Parenthood was still cozy with eugenics leaders. In the article pictured right, we learn that the Director of the American Eugenics Society, Robert Carter Cook, was invited by Planned Parenthood to speak at their lunch in 1958.

In addition to Planned Parenthood leaders who had connections to eugenics, the International Committee on Planned Parenthood (ICPP) maintained by PPFA among others, received free rent from the Eugenics Society, according to the Eugenics Review. ICPP was replaced by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in 1952.

Does this sound like an organization that wanted to distance themselves from eugenics?

Wait… there’s more.

From their Review (and repeated here):

In conclusion, a unanimous vote of thanks was moved to the Eugenics Society, which has continued during the past year to make available, rent free, accommodation to the International Committee on Planned Parenthood.

This was confirmed by former Planned Parenthood chairman CP Blacker MD, who told an audience at the Fourth Conference at the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1964, that while he was secretary of the Eugenics Society they gave Planned Parenthood office accommodations rent free.

Let’s stop and consider the intentional blindness to truth that Joy Reid and others would have to have to claim that Planned Parenthood is not a eugenic organization. The fact is that Planned Parenthood was so supportive of the evil eugenics ideology that they advertised in eugenics journals. For Reid and others who doubt this fact, I provide some examples below (notice that their goals and beliefs go far beyond “reproductive rights”):

1968:

1968 advertisement by Planned Parenthood in the Eugenics Review

1968 advertisement by Planned Parenthood in the Eugenics Review

The Eugenics Society’s honorary secretary even encouraged funding IPPF, saying, “The Society’s activities in crypto-eugenics should be pursued vigorously, and specifically that the Society should increase its monetary support of the FPA and the IPPF [International Planned Parenthood Federation]…”

1963:

1963 Advertisement from Planned Parenthood in the Eugenics Review Quarterly

1963 Advertisement from Planned Parenthood in the Eugenics Review Quarterly

1961:

1961 advertisement from Planned Parenthood in the Eugenics Review

1961 advertisement from Planned Parenthood in the Eugenics Review

In summary, it is evident that from its inception, Sanger founded and nurtured Planned Parenthood in eugenics — and denying what is plain to see will never change that fact.

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