PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times website designed to tell truth from lies in always rancorous American politics, tackled the by now familiar accusation that Margaret Sanger sought to exterminate African-Americans. They investigated the claim made by Georgia-based Republican presidential aspirant Herman Cain in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation:
“When Margaret Sanger – check my history – started Planned Parenthood, the objective was to put these centers in primarily black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world.”
Poltifact did check–turning to ” scholarship, Cain’s camp, anti-abortion groups, Sanger’s biographer, and multiple experts on Cain’s claim,” and awarded Cain their lowest ranking: “Pants on Fire!” Writer and researcher Willoughby Mariano noted:
Sanger welcomed some of the movement’s more notorious leaders onto the board of a predecessor to Planned Parenthood. She also endorsed paying pensions to women of low intelligence who agreed to be sterilized.
But we found no evidence that Sanger advocated – privately or publicly – for anything even resembling the “genocide” of blacks, or that she thought blacks are genetically inferior.
Every academic PolitiFact Georgia consulted said that Cain’s claim is wrong.
For Sanger to launch a genocidal plot behind their backs and leave no true evidence in her numerous writings would require powers just shy of witchcraft.
Really, calling the Negro Project a genocidal plot defies common sense. Why would Sanger try to destroy a race of people by giving them access to the very thing she thought could make life better?
Planned Parenthood’s early objective was not to “help kill black babies before they came into the world.”
Sanger failed to rise above the ethnic and racial paternalism of her time, but that’s a far cry from being genocidal.
Cain’s claim is a ridiculous, cynical play of the race card. We rate it Pants on Fire.