Thursday, September 13, 2018

Population Control (Part II)

Ziegler on Planned Parenthood, birth control, abortion, and race: “It was not until the late 1960s, however, that controversy about the racial politics of birth control and abortion became intense. There were several reasons for this shift. First, over the course of the 1950s and early 1960s, efforts to curb population growth enjoyed substantial popular support. In the same period, the movement for the legalization of abortion had picked up steam, attracting the official endorsement of Planned Parenthood in 1968. During this time, a militant streak within the civil-rights movement became more visible and politically significant. Organizations like the Black Panthers contended that birth control and abortion were part of a plan to eliminate poor people of color. Finally, the anti-abortion movement began to organize, connecting the abortion-legalization movement to eugenics and racism. These were the events that made the racial politics of abortion in the early 1970s so combustible.” From the previous paragraphs it seems anti-abortion advocacy groups had good reason to tie the legalization of abortion to eugenics and racism.

Ziegler on Planned Parenthood, abortion, race, and population control: “Under Guttmacher's influence, members of Planned Parenthood primarily justified abortion in consequentialist terms, invoking, among other things, the importance of population control. In a pamphlet on the benefits of legalizing abortion in New York, for example, Planned Parenthood stressed such arguments, arguing that legalization would result in lower rates of population growth and illegitimacy and decreased welfare expenses. Similar rhetoric appeared again in a 1969 interview with the New York Times, when Guttmacher argued that abortion reform was a problem closely related to the "population explosion" and contended that population-control efforts, including abortion, were intended to reduce poverty, not eliminate the poor. In 1970, in praising repeal acts in New York and Hawaii, Guttmacher also emphasized "the realization of the population problem. "We're now concerned more with the quality of population than the quantity," he told the Associated Press, in commenting on efforts to reform abortion laws.” Concern over the quality of the population was a eugenics philosophy and to say you want to use abortion to reduce poverty but not eliminate the poor is a very hypocritical statement. Also, the legalization of abortion did nothing to reduce the per capita expenditures on welfare (welfare continues to escalate year in and year out) even though abortion disproportionately affects the poor.

Ziegler on NARAL, abortion, and population control: “NARAL also framed abortion access partly by stressing concerns about population control. Along with arguments that abortion was a privacy right, the organization's official debate handbook included a whole category of arguments related to overpopulation. When faced with arguments that Beethoven would not have been born if people used legal abortion for eugenic purposes, NARAL activists were advised to reply that "possibly Hitler wouldn't have been born either." Other proposed claims asserted that "[l]egal abortion will decrease the number of unwanted children . . . and possibly subsequent delinquency, drug addiction, and a host of social ills." A final population control argument stated that "[s]ince contraception alone seems insufficient to reduce fertility to the point of no-growth, . . . we should permit all voluntary means of birth control (including abortion)." Of course, delinquency, drug addiction, and social ills mostly affect the poor and minorities and not the affluent. So, abortion for NARAL was a way to implement eugenic theories on the less fortunate and minorites.

Ziegler on NOW, abortion, and population control: “Even the National Organization for Women (NOW), a major feminist group, worked closely with population controllers and, for tactical reasons, borrowed some of their ideas. In November 1970, Christopher Tietze of the Population Council asked NOW President Wilma Scott Heide for NOW volunteers to participate in a study on the health effects of abortion. In writing to NOW state affiliates, Heide recommended participating, suggesting that "[t]he request from the Population Council represents the fact that we are viewed as responsible and stable." While some feminist proposals, like the Equal Rights Amendment, enjoyed substantial support in the early 1970s, population-control legislation, as we have seen, also enjoyed bipartisan support and popular approval. Heide's wish to tie her organization to the population control cause made strategic sense. Indeed, Heide also testified about population control in Congress, arguing that women's rights and overpopulation were inextricably linked.” The last sentence is key to note how women’s rights and overpopulation are linked. Hence, a woman’s right to abort a child because of overpopulation concerns is completely natural, respected, and desired or woman’s rights are not truly being practiced.

The following statement by Ziegler is not entirely true: “Roe acknowledged powerful arguments about race that had informed debate inside and outside of the Court, but the justices made no other reference to concerns about race, poverty, abortion access, or equal protection. Indeed, a few years later, in Maher v. Roe (1977) and Harris v. McRae (1981), the Court upheld laws denying public funding for abortion, rendering seemingly irrelevant any constitutional claim that abortion restrictions disproportionately impacted poor women.” The Court, did in fact, consider overpopulation, race, and poverty when deciding Roe for several reasons. First, Justice Potter Stewart saw “abortion was becoming one reasonable solution to population control. Poor people, in particular, were consistently victims of archaic and artificially complicated laws.” Justice Blackmun said, “In addition, population growth, pollution, poverty, and racial overtones tend to complicate and not to simplify the problem.” Secondly, abortion afflicts both the poor and minorities at a much higher rate than any other class of persons. African-Americans make up 42% of all abortions but only consist of 13% of the population. Therefore, even without federal funding, minorities and the poor are afflicted by abortions disproportionately. With federal funding, these numbers would only be even more disproportionate.

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