Zero Population Growth, abortion, and racism

Former executive director of Zero Population Growth Roy Morgan (he’s talking about what abortion was legalized and shortly afterwards) Zero Population Growth was instrumental in the fight to legalize abortion prior to Roe V. Wade.

“There were some people in ZPG in the early years, at the local chapter level for sure… who hopped on the ZPG bandwagon because they were rather draconian about what they wanted to do to bring down the population. Some of them were racist – there’s no doubt about it – some of them were restrictionist; they didn’t want any more people in.… So they’re very hard lined about population growth. It was a lot of that. It was mostly in the early years.”

Suzanne Staggenborg The Pro-Choice Movement: Organization and Activism In the Abortion Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) 163

These were people who were involved in making abortion illegal. So it shows that racism was a motive – more documentation of this is in the section on “Racism and Sexism”.

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Clinic worker: abortionist did “very racist number” on patients

From pro-choice author Carole Joffe interviewed abortion industry workers for her book The Regulation of Sexuality: Experiences of Family-Planning Workers:

Another counselor grievance concerned doctors’ interpersonal style with patients. Certain doctors were accused of being too abrupt or “insensitive” with patients… Bernice [a clinic worker] recalls that when “Dr. Stuart first came, he did a very racist number on a couple of patients. I called him on it, and he has changed.” Some specific accusations of insensitivity were related to the rejection of obese women for clinic abortions.… [These patients pose “special difficulties” in an emergency] Counselors felt that some doctors handled this admittedly difficult situation in a particularly mortifying way. 

Carole Joffe The Regulation of Sexuality: Experiences of Family-Planning Workers (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986) 106

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Abortionist: it’s “great” the 98% of his abortion patients were Hispanic

From South Texas abortionist Dr. Lester Minto:

“For 35 years I had a clinic where I saw women and took care of their reproductive needs, but mostly terminating pregnancies…Ninety-eight percent were Hispanics. I would go days where I wouldn’t speak English because they were all Spanish speakers — which is great.”

That 98% of the time Dr. Minto was killing the babies of Hispanic women? This quote smacks of racism, although the abortionist did go on to say:

Nearly half of Minto’s patients were teenagers, and he averaged more than 4,000 abortions each year.

WADE GOODWYN “A Doctor Who Performed Abortions In South Texas Makes His Case” NHPR September 12, 2014

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Social worker decries racism in abortion/birth control clinics

Albuquerque social worker Marla Cefuentes said in 1988:

“Every chance they get, the clinic personnel here remind poor and Hispanic women that they can’t raise a family, that to have children is irresponsible,… They are constantly pushing for sterilization, even for very young girls. It’s reprehensible to see that kind of racism go unchallenged.”

George Grant Grand Illusions: the Legacy of Planned Parenthood(Franklin, Tennessee: Adroit Press, 1988, 1992) 102

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Planned Parenthood to mom on welfare- we won’t help unless you get sterilized

A mother of four on welfare describes how Planned Parenthood refused to provide her with any medical services unless she agreed to be sterilized:

“Lydia Jones, a title X and Medicaid eligible welfare mother of 4, went to the Planned Parenthood clinic near her home and discovered that “free” government programs could be a good news /bad news proposition. “They told me that if I wanted to take advantage of their medical services I would have to undergo sterilization,” she said. “The counselor just kept lecturing me about how I needed to do this, and that I should’ve done it a long time ago. She told me that my children were a burden to society. Well, let me tell you, I love my children. And they are a burden to no one. My 2 oldest are in college, working their way through. The other 2 are straight A students and bound for scholarships. I may be poor, and I may be black, but I’m not going to be bullied by these people into despising the heritage God’s given me,” Lydia walked out – a rare exception.”

George Grant Grand Illusions: the Legacy of Planned Parenthood (Franklin, Tennessee: Adroit Press, 1988, 1992 )101

Jones is not the only African American mother to be pressured to get an abortion/sterilization by Planned Parenthood or other abortion clinics.  Pro-choice authors Rayna Rapp and Rosalind Pollack Petchesky comment on it as well. See here for more information about abortion clinics and racism.

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Margaret Sanger is a “hero” at abortion clinic despite racism

From a pro-choice author who interviewed clinic workers for a book she wrote:

“Many of the staff [at the abortion clinic] moreover, were aware of the family planning establishment’s historic ties to the eugenics movement. As Bernice, a black counselor put it: “Margaret Sanger is the big hero around here, but she said some outrageously racist things.”

Carole Joffe The Regulation of Sexuality: Experiences of Family-Planning Workers (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986) 85

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NOW pres: It’s ok, Margaret Sanger didn’t just hate Blacks

Laurie Bertram Roberts, Mississippi State Pres. of the National Organization of Women, comments on Margaret Sanger’s racism:

“First of all, Margaret Sanger did not work on abortion. She worked on birth control. Context is everything. I will never deny that Margaret Sanger was connected to the eugenics movement, what they (abortion opponents) never bothered to say is that eugenicists also wanted to limit the birth rate of poor white people and disabled people. It wasn’t just Black people; it was a whole lot of people they deem to be unfit.”

Quoted in “Thank God for Stupid Enemies” Speaker for the Dead WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014

From Anna Wolf “Using the KKK to Fight Abortion Rights” Jackson Free Press April 16, 2014

Margaret Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood. She was also an avowed racist (she spoke at at least one KKK meeting)  who did indeed advocate sterilizations of the  handicapped and poor.

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Columnist: “poor, black, Indian” children are “marked for failure”

An American columnist said abortion is needed for the “at risk” population, “poor, black and Indian” whose children are “marked for failure.”

The quote appeared in Tony Bouza “A Mother’s Day Wish: Make Abortion Available to All Women,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 8, 1989 

 Melinda Tankard Reist Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief after Abortion (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2007) 193

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Minorities don’t get support to keep their babies, former clinic worker says

From a former abortion clinic worker, Rayna Rapp, who is still pro-choice:

“Many minority women, even if they are not poor, cannot count on support for their pregnancies, and pregnancy related decision-making, from their healthcare providers. Frankie Smithers, an African-American schoolteacher, told me that when she got her positive pregnancy test results back at City Hospital, she was delighted, but the nurse automatically directed her to make an appointment for an abortion. It took considerable complaint to persuade the woman to schedule a prenatal care visit instead.”

Rayna Rapp Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: the Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America (New York: Routledge, 1999) 164

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Planned Parenthood: Children of the Poor are Too Costly

A fund-raising letter of Planned Parenthood committee of Pittsburgh:

“Have you ever stopped to consider how much the “unwanted” children of poor and ignorant parents are costing you in the community in increased relief load, state medical and mental care, juvenile delinquency, and criminality?… There is a critical need for the expansion of this work [birth control] in American slums and other areas.”

Johanna Choen Choice & Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005)

This is an old letter from before abortion was legal, but it shows the disregard Planned Parenthood had for minorities and the poor.

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