Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Planned Parenthood Marks 100 Years Amidst Controversy

Conservatives Decry Abortion, Allege Racism and Targeting Black Women

In a twitter storm today under #100YearsStrong, Planned Parenthood celebrated 100 years since its founding. "No woman can call herself free, if she does not own and control her own body," said the successors to Margaret Sanger in a tweet quoting her. But not everyone on Twitter was congratulatory, of course.

Planned Parenthood says that it provides wellness exams, cancer screenings, education and outreach, access to affordable medicine to millions of American women, and that's absolutely true.

The socially conservative Heritage Foundation, in a tweet, says that more black babies are aborted in New York City and Washington DC, than are born alive to black women. "This is nothing to celebrate," says Heritage. They allege Margaret Sanger, who founded a Brooklyn clinic 100 years ago, of worrying that black mothers were having too many children, and wanting to do something about it. "Colored people are like weeds, and need to be exterminated," she is quoted (or perhaps misquoted) as having said.

"Thanks, @PPact, for providing me with affordable healthcare, when I was a broke student with no health Insurance," said Julie diCaprio, among others.

"Abortion isn't healthcare," said Autumn price. "Strength is shown in protecting the weakest, not killing them for profit," said Art Schneider. "#100yearsStrong, #100 years of abuse."

"It's really sad how African Americans are blind to the inherent racism of the Democratic party," said deplorable Jen, with a photo showing Sanger saying "Colored People are like human weeds and need to be exterminated," and Hillary Clinton saying how much she admired Margaret Sanger, "her tenacity, her courage, her vision."

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), or Planned Parenthood, is a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health services both in the United States and globally. A member association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), PPFA has its roots in Brooklyn, New York, where Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. in 1916.

In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which changed its name to Planned Parenthood in 1942. Planned Parenthood is made up of 159 medical and non-medical affiliates, which operate more than 650 health clinics in the United States, and it also partners with organizations in 12 countries globally.

The organization directly provides a variety of reproductive health services and sexual education, contributes to research in reproductive technology, and does advocacy work aimed at protecting and expanding reproductive rights.

PPFA is the largest single provider of reproductive health services, including abortion, in the United States.

In their 2014 Annual Report, PPFA reported seeing over 2.5 million patients in over 4 million clinical visits and performing a total of nearly 9.5 million discrete services including 324,000 abortions.

The organization has a combined annual revenue of US$1.3 billion, including roughly US$530 million in government funding such as Medicaid reimbursements. Throughout its history PPFA and its member clinics have variously experienced support, controversy, protests, and violent attacks.

Sanger's writings echoed contemporary ideas about inferiority and loose morals of particular races. In one "What Every Girl Should Know" commentary, she references popular opinion that Aboriginal Australians, to her "the lowest known species of the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain development," possessed "so little sexual control that police authority alone prevents him from obtaining sexual satisfaction on the streets," as compared to the "normal man and Woman." who were able to exercise control over their desires. Elsewhere she bemoaned that traditional sexual ethics "... have in the past revealed their woeful inability to prevent the sexual and racial chaos into which the world has today drifted."

Sanger worked with eminent African American leaders and professionals who saw a need for birth control in their communities. In 1929, James H. Hubert, a black social worker and leader of New York's Urban League, asked Sanger to open a clinic in Harlem. Sanger secured funding from the Julius Rosenwald Fund and opened the clinic, staffed with black doctors, in 1930.

The clinic was directed by a 15-member advisory board consisting of black doctors, nurses, clergy, journalists, and social workers. The clinic was publicized in the African-American press and in black churches, and it received the approval of W. E. B. Du Bois, civil rights activist and author of The Souls of Black Folk, co-founder of the NAACP and editor of its magazine, Crisis, whom Martin Luther King Jr. would eulogize as "unsurpassed as an intellect."

Wikipedia says taht Sanger did not tolerate bigotry among her staff, nor would she tolerate any refusal to work within interracial projects. Sanger's work with minorities earned praise from Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1966 acceptance speech for the Margaret Sanger award.


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