Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1935)
History of Eugenics
The Eugenics Movement was a potent political force in early 20th century America. However, its membership was of a much different ilk compared to Hitler and the jack-booted soldiers of the Third Reich. As Ross Douthat wrote in the New York Times,
[These] American eugenicists …were often political and social liberals — advocates of social reform, partisans of science, critics of stasis and reaction. [Quoting author Richard Conniff] “They weren’t sinister characters …but environmentalists, peace activists, fitness buffs, healthy-living enthusiasts, inventors and family men…who saw the quest for a better gene pool as of a piece with their broader dream of human advancement.”
One of the original members of this crusade was Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. Her unwavering support of eugenics as a means of achieving economic stability and improved public health was well-documented in her many essays and speeches.
The Eugenics Movement faded to the background after World War II amid the horrors of the Nazi holocaust. However, it continues to exert an influence on the modern activities of Planned Parenthood, particularly regarding its relationship with African-Americans and other minorities. It also can be seen in the philanthropic activities of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Their tactics for combating climate change and addressing global health issues would make Margaret Sanger proud.
The Negro Project
We who advocate Birth Control, on the other hand, lay all our emphasis upon stopping not only the reproduction of the unfit but upon stopping all reproduction when there is not economic means of providing proper care for those who were born in health. Margaret Sanger, “Birth Control and Racial Betterment” (February, 1919)
Sanger’s most successful endeavor toward this goal was what she called “The Negro Project.”
The propaganda of The Negro Project was that birth control meant better health. So, on this premise, the Birth Control Federation of America (later named Planned Parenthood) designed two southern Negro Project “demonstration programs” to show “how medically-supervised birth control integrated in to existing public health services could improve the general welfare of Negroes, and to initiate a nationwide educational program.” Tanya L. Green, The Negro Project: Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Plan for Black America
In order for The Negro Project to succeed, Sanger emphasized the need to have influential black leaders and, especially, ministers, educated in the goals of the birth control movement.
Sanger knew blacks were religious people–and how useful ministers would be to her project. She wrote, “The minister’s work is also important and he should be trained perhaps by the Federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go our that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” (Green, 4)
“Abortion is Racism”
Backed by funding from the wealthy Rockefeller Foundation, The Negro Project was a success.
By 1949, Sanger had hoodwinked black America’s best and brightest into believing birth control’s “life-saving benefits.”
[Black leadership] certainly wanted to decrease maternal and infant mortality and improve the community’s overall health. They wholly accepted her message because it seemed to promise prosperity and social acceptance. … [However,] aside from birth control, she offered no other medical or social solutions to their adversity. Considering the role eugenics played in the early birth control movement…the notion of birth control as seemingly the only solution to the problems that plagued blacks should have been much more closely scrutinized. (Green, 5)
Sanger lost control of The Negro Project to other members of her Federation before her vision was completely achieved. However, current statistics attest to the lingering success of her strategy.
79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located in or within walking distance of predominately African-American and Latino communities.
African-Americans have a disproportionately high abortion rate; though they make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, they comprise 30 percent of the country’s abortions (From Protecting Black Life. org)
Clearly, according to African-American pro-life leader, Dr. Alveda King, “Abortion is racism.”
The Urgency of Population Issues
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated billions to the cause of improving global health, largely by sponsoring vaccine and agricultural programs in Third World countries. In an interview on the PBS program NOW with Bill Moyes (May 9, 2003), Moyes asked Gates how, given his background at Microsoft, he came to this champion this particular cause. Bill Gates responded:
The two areas that are changing in this amazing way are information technology and medical technology. Those are the things that the world will be very different 20 years from now than it is today.
I’m so excited about those advances. And they actually feed off of each other. The medical world uses the information tools to do their work. And so when you have those advances you think will they be available to everyone. [pause]
The one issue that really grabbed me as urgent were issues related to population… reproductive health.
Then he revealed that, for a time, his father, William H. Gates, Sr. was the head of Planned Parenthood.
Decreasing Population Through Better Health Care?
As did Sanger, Gates believes in the eugenist Thomas Malthus’s idea that the sustainability of the world’s resources is completely dependent upon maintaining population control. Ironically, Gates believes that improving health care, primarily through vaccinations, will accomplish this.
And maybe the most interesting thing I learned … is that, as you improve health in a society, population growth goes down.
You know…before I learned about it, I thought it was paradoxical. Well if you improve health, aren’t you just dooming people to deal with such a lack of resources where they won’t be educated or they won’t have enough food? You know, sort of a Malthusian view of what would take place.
And the fact is that health leads parents to decide, “Okay, we don’t need to have as many children because the chance of having the less children being able to survive to be adults and take care of us, means we don’t have to have 7 or 8 children.” Now that was amazing. (Bill Gates, NOW interview).
Gates emphasizes vaccination programs as the best means of combating Third World poverty. However, as with birth control and The Negro Project, this exclusive focus on vaccines has raised some suspicion among the civic leadership. For example, in 2014, the Kenyan Catholic Doctors Association and the Kenyan Catholic Bishops Conference issued a statement expressing concern that a UNICEF/WHO Tetanus vaccine was tainted with hCG, a contraceptive hormone. While this accusation has been denied by the agencies involved, the Catholic groups remain wary.
“Innovating to Zero”
Population control is also central to the issue of climate change, another of Gates’s passionate causes. In a talk titled, Innovating to Zero, presented at the 2010 Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) Conference, Gates proposed a goal of achieving zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050. He explained his mathematical formula by which that goal may be achieved.
CO2=Population x Services x Energy x Emissions.
Noting that the first factor in the equation is population, Gates remarked:
The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent.
To that end, since 2012, Melinda Gates, a Catholic, has pledged over a billion dollars from the Gates Foundation to support Family Planning 2020 (FP2020). She helps lead this international effort whose goal is to get birth control to 120 million more women by 2020. This despite strong objections from groups such as Culture of Life Africa who resent “the disturbing encroachment of the bold and wealthy proponents of the Culture of Death.”
“All Lives Have Equal Value”
It remains, even if well-intentioned, the activities of Bill and Melinda Gates, like Margaret Sanger, are in direct opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church. As stated by Pope Francis In his encyclical, Laudato Si:
Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of “reproductive health”. Yet while it is true that an unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and a sustainable use of the environment, it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development. To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. (50)
It is remarkable that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation webpage has as its slogan, “All Lives Have Equal Value.” Would that they and Margaret Sanger actually believed that was true.