Rep. Jackie Speier on Abortion

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood yesterday. California Representative Jackie Speier made an impromptu speech on the floor against it.

If you seek an example of patriarchy you need look no further than our government, where a bunch of men sit around passing laws trying to forcibly make medical decisions for women.

Nixon the Racist

More tape recordings of President Richard M. Nixon’s private office discussions were made public today.  Covering Januaury and February 1973, these tapes reveal what the former President thought of the Supreme Court decision making abortions legal.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white. Or a rape.”

Nixon secretly taped all business in the Oval Office during his Presidency.  The tapes reveal him to have been a suspicious man, confused and often bewildered by the difficulties of the Vietnam War which dominated his two terms.  They also contain more than a few episodes where he and his advisers are discussing the events relating to the break-in at the Watergate, the cover-up of which eventually caused his demise.

These audio peaks give us a fuller picture of the man, including his view that there should be hotter women in the GOP and that abortion would be useful for those women who were about to give birth to an interracial baby.

Ah! White supremacy!!

You can read the news on these releases at the LA Times and the NY Times. You can listen to the audio tapes yourself here.


“The Racism and Politics of Planned Parenthood”

Stories like this one by Erika Andersen of usually flash on my computer screen for a minute, receive a garbled grumble of some kind from a tired and exasperated professor, and then zip away to never be thought of again…at least until another one comes along.

But this is actually the fourth time in the last seven days that an article relating abortion politics, racism, and Obama has found its way into my blog reader. Coincidence? I think not.

Just so you don’t have to help their advertising revenue by clicking the link above, here’s the full-text of the piece:

The dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. was more than desegregation. It was prosperity, life and liberty — Constitutional metrics for success — for every person of every color in every stage of life. King’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, now leads a movement pitted against Planned Parenthood for targeting the black community for abortion.

On Thursday, King joined other African-American leaders and pastors in a march at the Republican and Democratic National committee headquarters to urge legislators to reject the $10 million in funding PP has pledged to donate to influence the election.

Students for Life of America and the National Black Pro-Life Union have campaigned heavily against the federal funding of Planned Parenthood, who received $350 million in taxpayer funds last year alone.

“We are uniting civil rights and moral rights to fulfill the dream of what my uncle called ‘the beloved community,’” said King. “We start where life begins, with the babies, and we will march on until abortion, racism and all society’s ills bow to the truth that we are all one race.”

Last year, after a group of college students posed as phone donors specifying that their money be used to abort a black child, the racist undertones of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger blazed forth. The fake donors were told their money would be marked for such delivery even after one caller said, “the less blacks out there, the better” and another noted that “there are definitely too many black people in Ohio.”

Planned Parenthoods across the nation are strategically placed in low-income, highly African-American populated areas — where poor women are more likely to have access. In fact, 62.5% of PP clinics are located in these communities and when you include Hispanic neighborhoods, the number increases to 70%. These same community leaders stood outside of a Washington, DC Planned Parenthood clinic in April, protesting the targeted placement.

Aside from aiming at African-Americans, PP’s activities across America are scandal-laced. In Kansas, a clinic is under criminal investigation for falsifying documents and performing illegal, late-term abortions. A California PP is accused of defrauding taxpayers up to $180 million and an employee of a Los Angeles PP was caught on video tape encouraging a minor girl to lie about her age in order to receive an abortion.

Pro-life activists fear that the $10 million PP has pledged to spend this election season will yield unfair influence over legislators to continue voting for federal funding of the organization. Taxpayers have no choice in what aspect of Planned Parenthood their dollars are channeled so individuals against abortion are forced to fund them.

“While we have a historic presidential election, with the first African-American candidate now the [Democratic] nominee, this racist agenda buy such a large organization cannot be ignored,” said Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union.

Sen. Barack Obama, though, possesses one of the most anti-life records in the Senate, having voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, a bill that would have protected babies that survived late-term abortions.

Obama recently said he hoped his daughters wouldn’t be “punished” with a baby if they decided to have sex at an inappropriate age.

Planned Parenthood’s deliberate moves to situate themselves among a vulnerable population and use tactics — morals aside — to increase the group’s income deserves national attention and Congressional investigation. Gardner noted that donations received from PP are nothing more than “seed money.”

“It’s one hand watching the others money; it’s ‘you watch my back — I’ll watch your back’ money,” she said, adding that the pro-life agenda is not only a Republican platform item.

It doesn’t matter if your claim to fame is as a Democrat or a Republican…abortion is a plague among Americans — and an epidemic in the black community.”

The racist and anti-Semitic legacy of PP is rooted in the beliefs of its founder, Margaret Sanger, who often said that “we must exterminate the Negro population.” Now, more than 14 million black babies have been aborted by PP, in addition to 30 million babies of other races.

According to Ricardo Davis of Georgians for Life, Sanger even created a plan to stop the growth of the black community in response to request by “southern state public health officials.” Her magazine, Birth Control Review, published an article praising a book entitled, “The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy.”

Pastor Stephen Broden of the Fair Park Bible Fellowship Church pinpointed the PP donations to the RNC and the DNC as a “conflict of interest” and called on both organizations to return such contributions.

“Planned Parenthood has since its inception targeted the black community to fulfill its eugenic philosophy of ridding society of the poor, unfit and uneducated,” he said. “It is outrageous that our government provides a sizeable percentage of our tax dollars to Planned Parenthood’s budget to exercise its philosophy of dysgenics among black Americans.”

There’s a lot that can be said here–not the least of which is the invoking of Dr. King and his memory by a conservative publication that once opposed his movement; the selective (mis)quoting of Barack Obama; and the asserting that one vote earned him “one of the most anti-life records in the Senate”

More importantly is the context they try to frame to win over supporters at the expense of poor women of color (while using other people of color to legitimate that stance). The correlations between reproduction and racism under the banner of “eugenics” are real, historically speaking. But they were hardly the norm, nor are they now. Even when considering the clear record of forced sterilizations (both in this nation and in others) the vast majority of these procedures went to women who were willing participants. [For a great if rather theoretical explanation of the complex sets of forces setting the stage for these battles in Puerto Rico–land of the rumored organized, government-sponsored campaign to sterilize the island’s women to curb population growth–see Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico by Laura Briggs.]

A conservative cause like the one above is so contradictory as to make me want to scream. They claim to be protecting poor women of color from a racist institution by building from the belief that they know what is best for them. They cover that foundation by using other people of color to legitimate and ground their belief. (If I told you I liked turkey sandwiches would you write how Chicanos love turkey?) Even worse, they claim to stand for “limited government and, above all, a staunch, unwavering defense of American freedom,” except when those limits include stopping a government from deciding what a woman can do to her womb or when those freedoms include the right for a woman to decide the same.

Yes, there are millions and millions of African Americans and Latinos who both oppose abortion and would be willing to say so in vote. I would guess that those numbers even border on the majority in both electorates. Then why haven’t they supported the broader conservative cause in the past thirty years? Could it be that they object to the varied and multiple other ways that same conservative movement stands in opposition to nearly every other struggle they face in this country?

John McCain on Abortion

Every presidential election is one of importance to the daily lives of women and people of color. Recent political events notwithstanding, this fall’s race is no different. As a historian, trust me when I say, these connections are not always so easy to make.

Here, from today’s San Francisco Chronicle, are McCain’s evolving (or devolving) views on the issue of abortion.

“I’d love to see a point where (Roe vs. Wade) is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe vs. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to (undergo) illegal and dangerous operations.” McCain said he would support legislation banning abortions in the third trimester.
Interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 20, 1999.

“After a lot of study, a lot of consultation and a lot of prayer, I came up with a position that I believe there should be an exception for rape, incest or the life of a mother…(the issue) is one of the most difficult and agonizing issues that I think all of us face, because of our belief — yours and mine — that life begins at conception.”
Reported in the New York Times, Jan. 22, 2000.

“John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.”
McCain for President website, 2008.