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Planned Parenthood: A Black-Family Destroyer?

Rush Limbaugh (Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment)
Rush Limbaugh (Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment)

(The Root) — One of the more annoying ploys that occasionally gets pulled out of the Republican bag of tricks is the  "But what about the Negroes?" shell game. I call it a ploy because it can't be argued in any reasonable fashion that the GOP actively wants to help the black community. They don't feel it necessary to reach out to us in the first place, even when they need our vote — let alone with any active attempt to help with issues unique to our population. But when it fits their agenda, Republicans magically remember the Negro American and seek to explain how their political position is actually a pro-black ideology.


So when Rush Limbaugh — champion of black people everywhere — starts explaining how Planned Parenthood is destroying the black family, I find myself quietly and softly chuckling. In this recorded bit (at about the 1:55 mark), captured on Media Matters from the Dec. 3 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, he said:

" … Planned Parenthood is all about family planning, but not the kind you're thinking about. It's called elimination of black families; that's what Margaret Sanger was about."


He continued:

"Planned Parenthood. Well, does that not sound really nice? [We're] going to teach you how to plan your parenthood, plan your family. We're going to teach you how to do it right. No. We're going to teach you how to not have one — is what Planned Parenthood is all about."

This is a popular narrative coming from white Republicans and some members of the black community. By attacking Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, for some of her very controversial stances, many believe they can prove that the organization is nothing more than a black-genocide factory. I'm expecting in the comments of this very blog post that someone will attempt to explain how Planned Parenthood and abortion are all about destroying the black family.

The arguments about a woman's right to choose, the concept of control over her own body, the role of economics in raising a child and various other valid arguments always get thrown out the window. The fact that Planned Parenthood offers so much more than abortions gets buried in the righteous rage of saving black babies. So I won't waste too many of my own words on this — instead I'll post a testimony by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) during the 2011 congressional hearings to defund Planned Parenthood. Listen to her break down this whole issue.


Transcribed and bold added by Colorlines:

"I would plead with my colleagues to reject the Pence Amendment and not to defund Planned Parenthood. And I mean that as a double entendre to not defund the ability of women to plan parenthood

I know of what the previous speaker, the gentleman, referred, to all those well-meaning people who want to speak about the value of life and not fund contraceptives and not make abortion, which is the law of the land, available if people chose that: I am really touched by the passion of the opposite, to want to save black babies. I can tell you I know a lot about having black babies. I've had three of them. And I had my first one when I was 18 years old — at the ripe old age of 18, an unplanned pregnancy.

I just want to tell you what it's like not to have planned parenthood … You have to give your kids ramen noodles at the end of the month to fill up their little bellies so they won't cry. You have to give them mayonnaise sandwiches. They get very few fruits and vegetables because they're expensive. It subjects children to low educational attainment because of the ravages of poverty. 

You know one of the biggest problems that school districts have in educating some of these poor black children who are unplanned is that they're mobile. They're constantly moving because they can't pay the rent. And, yes, I heard some of you talk about sexual predators. It subjects them to sexual predators as when you try to go out and do a little work you have to leave your kids with just anybody because you don't have $800 to $1,200 a month for childcare. And let me tell you, you know the public policy has treated poor children and women who have not had the benefit of planned parenthood with utter contempt.

These same children — it's been very difficult to get them health insurance through CHIPS. When you got to the grocery store to get them a little birthday cake with your food stamps, everyone stares with you in contempt. And, yes, on a bipartisan basis, Democrats and Republicans ended the entitlement Aid to Families with Dependent Children. So when we have a recession like we have now, women who are alone typically, poor, of color, with these poor black children have no money, go months and months and months with little or nothing to sustain themselves.

And you know, I remember that the first item on the You Cut website was to cut Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. And let me tell you what it does to women who cannot plan their parenthood: It derails their ability to complete education and training so they can get a job. The TANF is very harsh. It won't even let women complete high school diplomas. It sends them into workfare programs in very low wage service industries, often in jobs without unemployment benefits, and of course they're treated with contempt and disdain when they apply for any aid. They're humiliated. And so I would beg my colleagues, I would beg them to not defund Planned Parenthood. Planned parenthood is healthy for women, it's healthy for children and it's healthy for our society."


What she said.

Elon James White is a writer and satirist and host of the award-winning video and radio series This Week in Blackness. Listen Monday to Thursday at 1:30 p.m. EST at TWIB.FM and watch at TV.TWIB.ME/LIVE. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr.

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