'The Negro Project'; Planned Parenthood's Philosophy Isn't What You Think

Article excerpt

Byline: Deborah Simmons, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Before we get any further into Black History Month, I thought I'd help pass on some information of significance. This is not to belittle what others have said or might say. It's just that, well, so much of what black history really means to America has been commercialized or reduced to trivial pursuits of the first black this and the first black that. And, although we still need to be reminded of the short distance between here and not-so-far-back there, we also occasionally need to take stock. So here goes.

You know who the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was, and most of us know, or at least think we know, what he stood for, right? I said "think we know" because I offer up what portends to be a little-known black history fact. Margaret Higgins Sanger, the mother of Planned Parenthood and grand dame of latter-day women's lib balderdash, hoodwinked the good reverend doctor - who, in his May 1966 acceptance speech of the Margaret Sanger Award, granted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, mentioned a striking "kinship between our [civil rights movement] and Margaret Sanger's early efforts." Poor King, moving orator though he was, misspoke.

First, a little about the socialist herself. Sanger, born in 1879 into an Irish Catholic family, was encouraged by her father to be a nonconformist. While in nursing school, she married architect William Sanger and they had three children. The Sangers first lived for many years in Hastings, an affluent suburb of Westchester, N.Y., but her wanderlust lured her to New York City. As a visiting nurse on the Lower East Side, it was there that she adopted the cause of birth-control (and, shh, abortion) as one sidebar to her eugenics-based radicalism after a poor woman died following an "unwanted" pregnancy. In 1916, Sanger opened her first birth-control clinic, an illegal birth-control clinic, setting in motion abominable ends to the beauty of giving life.

Over three generations, Sanger founded the Birth Control Review, which regularly published pro-eugenics writings. Also during that time, she was jailed for passing on obscene literature and chastised repeatedly by the religious community. She had even shamelessly abandoned her own family in the name of, ahem, the cause, and took up with several men - including the English novelist H.G. Wells - and fled America to avoid prosecution. Undeterred and unbowed, Sanger and a precursor to Planned Parenthood, the Birth Control Federation of America, decided to turn their attention to black folk. They devised a plan for an "experimental" clinic that Sanger said would "reduce the birth rate among ... elements unable to provide for themselves, and the burden of which we are all forced to carry," writes Tanya L. Green, author of "The Negro Project: Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Plan for Black Americans. …