By George E. Curry
Conservatives are attacking Planned Parenthood so viciously that you would be forgiven if you thought that the organization was running for president as a Democrat. It is often said, “The first casualty when war comes is truth.” Actually, the first casualty of politics is truth.
That’s particularly true when it comes to the orchestrated attacks on Planned Parenthood. The anti-choice Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has released seven videos that seek to discredit Planned Parenthood. Media Matters said, “The latest video again relies on footage already debunked as highly edited, features conversations with third-party providers who acted as the middlemen between researchers and clinics, and relies heavily on the account of a technician who did not work for Planned Parenthood…”
Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, has also launched a major attack against Planned Parenthood and he should know better.
In an interview with Fox News on Aug. 12, Carson said that Planned Parenthood erects most of its clinics in Black neighborhoods as a “way to control that population.”
However, ABC’s Martha Raddatz reported, “Planned Parenthood estimates that fewer than five percent of its health centers are located in areas where more than one-third of the population is African-American.”
In a detailed rebuttal, the Washington Post awarded Carson “Four Pinocchios,” indicating a “whopper” of a lie, the highest level of falsehoods.
“A 2011 report by Life Dynamics, which opposes abortion, used Census data to determine the African-American and Hispanic population of each zipcode where Planned Parenthood has an office,” the newspaper recalled. “The report was intended to show that the abortion clinics are placed mostly in areas where black residents exceed the average black population of the state.
“But when you look closely at the data, it turns out that there are only about 110 locations (out of about 800) where the black population exceeds 25 percent of the overall population. That certainly does not support the claim that “most” clinics are in ‘black neighborhoods.’
“Separately, in 2011, the Guttmacher Institute surveyed all abortion providers (about 1,700), including Planned Parenthood, and found that 60 percent are in majority-white neighborhoods — and that fewer than one in ten abortion providers are located in neighborhoods where more than half of the residents are black. The statistics did not change when the numbers were adjusted for nearly 600 providers that conduct more than 400 abortions a year.”
Referring to the founder of Planned Parenthood, Carson said: “I know who Margaret Sanger is and I know that she believed in eugenics and that she was not particularly enamored with Black people.”
He is correct in saying that Margaret Sanger believed in eugenics, the idea that the human race can be improved by encouraging or discouraging reproduction based on genetic traits. Even so, Carson tells only half of the story – the half favorable to his point of view.
“…I think people should go back and read about Margaret Sanger, who founded this place – a woman who Hillary Clinton by the way says she admires,” Carson said in the Fox interview. “Look and see what many people in Nazi Germany thought about her.”.
The Washington Post did just that.
“Starting in 1916, Sanger’s clinics at first were aimed mainly at poor immigrant women. The first clinic was in a neighborhood ‘populated largely by Italians and Eastern European Jews,’ according to the 2010 book “Birth Control on Main Street,” by Cathy Moran Hajo. Sanger did not open a Harlem clinic until the 1930s, even though infant mortality rates there were similar.
“Hajo found that in the 1916-1939 period, white activists were more likely to exclude African Americans from clinics, rather than include them. There were some half-hearted efforts to create African American clinics, but white activists actually gave little or no assistance. ‘Whatever the activists’ personal beliefs about race may have been, there was no grand program to exterminate nonwhites or the poor,’ Hajo concluded.”
The Post also noted, “Sanger in 1938 appeared to speak positively about the German program undertaken by the Nazis. ‘Reports in medical journals state that the indications laid down in the German law are being carefully observed. These are gongenital feeble-mindedness; schizophrenia, circular insanity; heredity epilepsy; hereditary chorea (Huntington’s); hereditary blindness or deafness; grave hereditary bodily deformity and chronic alcoholism,” she said. “The rights of the individual could be equally well safeguarded here, but in no case should the rights of society, or which he or she is a member, be disregarded.’
“Yet in 1939, she wrote that before Hitler came to power, ‘I was one of the few Americans who joined the Anti-Nazi Committee and gave money, my name and any influence I had with writers and others, to combat Hitler’s rise to power in Germany.’ She added that ‘my three books were destroyed [burned] and have not been allowed to circulate in Germany.’”
It would be great if we could get these orchestrated lies about abortion out of circulation.
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA) and BlackPressUSA.com. He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorgeand George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook. See previous columns at http://www.georgecurry.com/columns.