Reproductive Racism

Akua Furlow, BS, MA


The vision of Planned Parenthood, founded in 1916 by Margaret Sanger, became the working arm toward eugenic goals. The stated vision was “reproductive freedom” through legalization of contraceptives to be used by the wealthy and imposed Eugenic Sterilization Laws as “birth control” for everyone else.

The organization most responsible for propagating the bigoted concepts of “Social Darwinism” is the American Eugenics Society. Founded in the early 1900s, this organization was the sister organization of the British Eugenic Society which embraced the white—more specifically, the Anglo-Saxon race—supremacy doctrine. In the United States eugenics became more than an abstract philosophy. It degenerated into an active campaign to eliminate all those deemed inadequate and resulted in a worldwide crusade to abolish all human inferiority.1 The American Eugenics Society fostered the Jim Crow Laws of the South and Eugenic Sterilization Laws nationally, the anti-Semitic doctrine that encouraged Nazi Germany during the Jewish Holocaust and defined South-African Apartheid.

Despite claims that Margaret Sanger was not a racist or an anti-Semite, the fact remains that “she openly welcomed the worst elements of both into the birth control movement.”2 Henry Pratt Fairchld who wrote, “Birth control and eugenics are by nature closely related, and neither one can attain its complete fulfillmnt, or render its maximum service to society, without the other”3 and Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy, were two of many eugenicists who worked closely with Sanger.

Historical documents prove that Planned Parenthood acted as the willful arm of the American Eugenics Society and developed a plan, the Negro Project, as a propaganda program to infiltrate the black community with a “birth control for health” campaign through their civic leaders.4 Margaret Sanger expressed disdain for the poor and disabled whom she frequently dubbed “undeserving,” “unfit,” and “dysgenic.” Her call for their sterilization and segregation5 is well known and is likely to have been the motive behind her “Negro Project.”

Lest one think reproductive racism was merely an issue of the past, current numbers prove the problem persists. Racial targeting by abortion providers, Planned Parenthood being the foremost national provide of abortions, has demonstrably resulted in a disproportionate number of minorities obtaining abortions. In the year 2000, African Americans, numbering 34.7 million individuals, or 12.3 percent of the U.S. population obtained 32% of abortions in that year.6,7 “Black women are more than three times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2 1/2 times as likely.”8 According to updated census reports, African Americans are no longer the largest U.S. minority population.9 Abortion and population control have taken a devastating toll on the African American community.


1 Black, Edwin, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Creat a Master Race, New York, Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003, p. 19

2 Ibid. p. 135.

3 Fairchild, Henry Pratt. “Programs and Wishes For 1933,” Birth Control Review, Volume XVII, Number 1 (January 1933), p. 5

4 “Letter from Sanger to Dr. W. E. Burghardt DuBois, 11 November 1930, New York, MSCLC. DuBois served as director of research for the NAACP and as the editor of its publication, The Crisis, until 1934

5 Sanger, Margaret, The Pivot of Civilization, Humanity Press, 1922, chapters 4, 5

6 Jones, RK; Darroch, JE; and Henshaw, SK: “Patterns in the socioeconomic charateristics of women obtaining abortions in 2000-2001,” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2002, 34 (5): 226-235

7 www.prcdc.org/summaries/blacks/blacks.html

8 www.guttmacher,org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

9 www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762156.html and U.S. Census Bureau


Akua Furlow, B.S., M.A., is a graduate of the State University of New York College at New Platz where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Education. She received her Masters degree in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is the author of the book, The Tuskegee Syphilis Study – What Really Happened (Published by Sojourner Press) and is nationally sought-after speaker on various issues related to population control and bioethics. To contact Akua Furlow, call (713) 645-2442.


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