At the same time that Margaret Sanger was advocating for birth control in the early twentieth century, the eugenics movement was growing among American intellectual elites, and a little book was in circulation in Germany titled, Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life: Its Measure and Form (first published in 1920). This German book on “mercy killing,” the birth control movement, and the formation of The American Eugenics Society all had a foundational commitment to “racial betterment” and the elimination of those the elites believed were “unfit” and “unworthy of life.” This ideological agenda is alive and well today, and is being carried out in the elimination of black people through our culture’s love and commitment to abortion.
1. Karl Binding, Alfred Hoche, & Cristina Modak, Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life: Its Measure and Form (Suzeteo Enterprises, Dec. 17, 2012).
As defenders of Margaret Sanger never tire of saying, it is true that she was no fan of abortion. She thought it a “horror” that should be afforded the same contempt as infanticide. However, when her commitment to the betterment of the white race through birth control and sterilization was combined with her membership in the American Eugenics Society, the idea of abortion as a tool for eugenic purposes was an inevitable progression for those who shared her ideological commitments. For example, men like Alan Guttmacher, a eugenicist and Planned Parenthood’s first president, was an early advocate for the liberalization of abortion laws with the intent that abortion would drastically reduce the reproduction of those who were presumed by the eugenicists to be inferior.
2. Margaret Sanger, Women and the New Race (New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1920), 25.
The Role of Eugenics
It is a matter of historical fact that the members of the American Eugenic Society kept a broad list of persons who were deemed unworthy to reproduce, including blacks, who they regarded as “racially inferior.” The Society’s entire mission was based on their understanding of the difference between “positive” and “negative” eugenics. According to The Eugenics Review: Aims and Objects of the Eugenics Society,
Positive Eugenics . . . holds that married couples of sound stock who deliberately have fewer children than they can adequately bring up, do an injury to the race.
In other words, the Society promoted favorable treatment to families with “sound stock” (not including blacks) by encouraging lower taxes, scholarships to “children of superior ability,” and birth control that was not used to suppress undesired characteristics but only for the purpose of spacing births.
How the Society defined negative eugenics should sound alarmingly familiar, for it reads like a list of the exact kinds of programs and policies that our government has enacted toward blacks since Reconstruction:
Negative Eugenics: The following measures have . . . been suggested as likely to diminish the fertility of sub-average persons: birth control, sterilization, segregation, legal prohibition of marriage and artificial termination of pregnancy.
While it is undoubtedly true that most of the items on this list are no longer practiced because they are regarded today as immoral and an infringement upon the rights of black people, the same cannot be said for birth control and abortion. At present, abortion is regarded by many as being absolutely necessary for the success of women in general and for low-income black women in particular.
Despite Euphemisms, Selective Killing Endures
What this suggests is that the Eugenics movement is not dead. The word “eugenics” may have fallen out of favor, but the ideology underneath the practice still thrives among us. Although black women are fewer in the population across the country, black babies are aborted in greater numbers and at a greater rate than any other ethnic group in the United States. This is indisputable For example, a CDC report from 2019 reveals that 74% of abortions in Mississippi were for black women, yet black women account for only 39.7% of the population. The greatest differential regarding ethnicity and abortion is in South Dakota, where black women are 2.68% of the population but have four times the abortion rate (11.1%)!
Eugenics doesn’t stop at the color of one’s skin; it expands to one’s very genetic makeup. You will look in vain for a little boy or girl in Iceland with Down Syndrome—because since the early 2000s, almost every child with this diagnosis is aborted. Even more frightening is the biotechnology called CRISPR; a process that allows scientists to alter the genetic makeup of any life form. Ironically, while the word “eugenics” is publicly condemned today, the ungodly ambitions of European and American eugenicists like Harry Laughlin, Frank Galton (cousin to Charles Darwin), Alexander Graham Bell, H.G. Wells, Winston Churchill, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, Harvard University, Margaret Sanger, and many others are being realized right before our eyes: certain classes of people are designated by those in power as “unworthy of life” and are thus being eliminated.
3. Visit the Eugenics Archive in order to see how each of the above mentioned individuals and institutions were involved in the Eugenics Movement.
Underlying the eugenicists’ commitment to their own racial betterment and to ridding the world of what they consider undesirables is a hatred toward God and a worship of the self. Romans 1:30 says that those who commit murders and invent new avenues of evil have been given over to a debased mind (Rom. 1:28). God has said, “I kill, and I make alive” (Deut. 32:39), but they want to be the ones who kill (through abortion and euthanasia,) and they want to “make alive” (through cloning, and CRISPR, and creating In-vitro-fertilized test-tube babies). We know the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things deserve death, and yet oft times we Christians are silent.
4. Wesley J. Smith, “The Alarming Rise of Complex Genetic Testing in Human Embryo Selection,” March 28, 2022.
Have Zeal & Take Courage
Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June of 2022, abortion advocates have become bolder in their calling evil “good” and good “evil,” at times even using the Name of the Lord or their “Christian upbringing” as their support for the murder of innocent life. Last fall the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, purchased billboard advertising in seven abortion-restricted states to lure abortion “tourism” to California. Adding to this wickedness, Newsom put Mark 12:31 on the billboards as if Jesus Himself would think it loving to help our neighbor destroy their own child in the womb. Pastor John McArthur called out Governor Newsom in an open letter for his “gross blasphemy”—obeying the command that admonishes us to expose evil (Eph. 5:11). It was good and right for Pastor McArthur to use his position to publicly call to repentance a government leader who endorses and encourages what is essentially child sacrifice to the false god of “bodily autonomy.” But how many others are likewise willing to speak out? There are so many abortion advocates who are bold to proclaim their lies; are Christians willing to match these people with an even greater boldness for the truth?
The Church cannot be silent about this grave wickedness. The “splendid dupes” of the abortion conglomerate think, in their arrogance, that they get to determine what class of people are unworthy of life and which are worthy. But we who are in Christ know that all humans are worthy of life because they bear the image of our holy God (Gen. 1:26–27). For the glory of His Name, then, let us forever and tirelessly contend for the imago Dei in black people, in all people, and especially in the unborn.