God And Government - Part IV: Eugenics and Abortion
Eugenics and abortion—A tale of two evils.
The History Of Eugenics
Eugenics literally means “well-born.” The term was first used in 1883 by Francis Galton, the first cousin of Charles Darwin. The seed of selective breeding to improve the human genetic composition was developed by Galton, and he gave the process its name—eugenics. Galton explained that after studying plant and animal methods, he was convinced that traits were hereditary, good and bad alike. Therefore, he reasoned that it was possible to breed people to eliminate the “undesirables” and to multiply the “desirables.” However, all Galton had was theory based on observation. With racial tensions still raging in the United States, the majority of Americans did not embrace ideas of eugenics. However, a certain segment of sophisticated elites desired to institute a means of racial cleansing.
Early Roots Of Eugenics
Cellular biologist August Weismann discovered a cell with all the genetic information enclosed. He called it the “germ plasm,” but scientists would later rename it the chromosome. Out of Weismann’s discovery, Galton assumed that every person was the measurable and predictable sum of his ancestor’s immortal germ plasm. Galton now had flawed science to prove his faulty theory; the concept of eugenics was born.
Galton was greatly influenced by Thomas Malthus and his cousin Charles Darwin. Malthus was known to society as an influential political economist in early nineteenth century England. In his “Principle of Population,” Malthus believed that population grew at an exponential rate whereas food grew at a linear rate; meaning society could grow in excess of food resources. Being a clergyman, he believed that lack of food was God’s way of forcing the human race to advance, thereby removing the weak-minded. Galton was able to supply an answer with breeding.
In 1911 a treatise entitled “Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeders’ Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population” provided details into how the undesirable elements of society could be eliminated. The report asserted euthanasia and mass extermination via gas chambers. Adolph Hitler would later use this material to execute the Final Solution of the Jews and other “undesirable” segments of the population.
Eugenics In United States And Nazi Germany
The early eugenics movement did not suffer from any lack of financing. Some of history’s most affluent U.S. business magnates provided funding through various foundations, such as the Carnegie Institution of Washington, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad conglomerate. Of particular note was a participant in Germany’s Rockefeller-funded eugenics; his name was Josef Mengele, better known as “the Angel of Death.” Mengele was a German SS officer and physician at the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust. He performed horrifying experiments on Jewish prisoners and selected victims to be killed in the gas chambers.
Rockefeller funds also helped form the German Psychiatric Institute, which was an organization that gave rise to one of Hitler’s most influential medical doctors — Ernst Rüdin. Dr. Rüdin is considered the pioneer of psychiatric inheritance studies in Munich, Germany. He was greatly influenced by his brother-in-law and friend Alfred Ploetz, the “father” of Rassenhygiene, which translates to a “cleansing of the races.”
This focus on cleansing humanity from undesirable elements included the “voluntary” or compulsory sterilization of psychiatric patients. Sadly, such thought was not limited to Nazi Germany, as the U.S. Supreme Court set a repulsive precedent in the 1927 case Buck v. Bell. The Court ruled that a state statute permitting compulsory sterilization of the unfit, including the intellectually disabled, “for the protection and health of the state,” did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. Regarding forced sterilization of mentally-impaired individuals, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. famously said, “It is far better for the world…three generations of imbeciles are enough.” The Supreme Court has never expressly overturned Buck v. Bell.
The Racial Integrity Act was established in Virginia in 1924. The act sought to create a database to document the race of everyone who lived in the state. The objective was to maintain racial integrity by only permitting a person of “purely white” heritage to marry another individual of the same profile. A marriage license could be denied if there was any doubt or insufficient evidence to prove both parties’ racial profile. Providing false information on the marriage license application was a felony punishable by up to a year in prison.
Eugenics And Immigration
Immigration posed another challenge to the eugenicists. Undesirable genetic qualities could be introduced into the gene pool via immigration. This gained acceptance on a national level especially after outbreaks of smallpox and cholera affected New York’s immigrant hub on Ellis Island. Restrictions were placed on immigration in 1911 by Congress and the surgeon general.
Eugenics And Abortion
Adolph Hitler made abortion legal in Germany to help speed the process of cleansing the German race. In the United States, abortion soon became the means to meet the ideals of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, to advance her objective of reducing and eliminating the black population and all undesirables. Planned Parenthood supporters today, and those who fund it, may not realize that it has little to do with women’s rights, but much to do with racial cleansing and population control. At the beginning of Sanger’s work, birth control emerged just after the eugenics movement took off in the early 1910s. Sanger was a Malthusian eugenicist who believed the “dead weight of human waste” should be “eliminated.” Besides birth control, she advocated sterilization and eugenics. She did not openly support abortion due to Havelock Ellis’ suggestion that “society was not quite ready for it.” Prior to Planned Parenthood, Sanger’s American Birth Control Federation, founded in 1922, soon began its work at supplying birth control and targeting the undesirables. In 1930, Sanger had a clinic in the heart of Harlem. She taught them that birth control, not better prenatal care, would produce healthier children. From that point on, Sanger would continue to open clinics in strategic high-minority, low-income areas.
By the next decade, Sanger instituted “The Negro Project.” Its goal was to invite African American leaders and preachers into the movement to persuade the black community to embrace the concepts of birth control. In a letter she wrote to one Dr. Clarence Gamble, she said, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out the idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
In the next issue of The Evangelist, I will continue with the history of eugenics and abortion. As you can already see, what continues to exist is a monumental effort to champion abortion as the so-called right of a woman over her body. This progressive agenda has gone so far that in recent months the United States Senate struck down the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” which would have mandated doctors to provide life-saving care to babies born after a failed abortion procedure. We now have a clear voting record of U.S. senators on the subject of late-term abortion.