The Virginia Tech community, along with the rest of the nation, spent yesterday reflecting on the extraordinary achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr.
His words and acts continue to influence policies, debates and discussions in classrooms and congress alike. Civil rights activists seek to identify where King might have stood on an issue in the same way lawyers try to interpret what the founding fathers might have said about the Constitution. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day comes at a time when thousands of individuals are organizing in the streets in protest or support of the Roe v. Wade decision that took place on this day 35 years ago which made abortion a Constitutionally-protected right.
While it has long been debated which camp King may have sided with in the current abortion debate, civil-rights activists should question what his response to Planned Parenthood's mission would have been had he fully known its agenda. Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in America, was founded by Margaret Sanger in 1916.
Sanger, an advocate of eugenics, sought to improve human hereditary traits by eliminating undesirable traits using abortion. In her words, we should rid the world of reckless breeding by making abortions accessible to those who are poor, blind, deaf, mute, epileptic, feeble-minded, mentally ill, diseased, imprisoned or alcoholic.
By providing abortions to these groups, Sanger believed she was helping rid the world of an unnecessary strain on humanity. She explained, "we are failing to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying . . . a dead weight of human waste . . . an ever-increasing spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all" (advocates for diversity must be squirming in their seats at those words). For this reason, Sanger founded Planned Parenthood in an effort to better humanity through selective breeding. To those who believe an organization's origins have a bearing on its current respectability, it is also interesting to note that Sanger didn't just stop at poor and diseased people in her crusade.
Sanger created the "Negro Project" which, in her words, helped educate the black community about better family-planning practices. Some argue, as she did, that this program was created to help the community overcome the economic stress created by unwanted children.