Commentary

It’s Time to Ask: Which Lives Matter?

Grazie Christie
By Grazie Christie | August 31, 2015 | 4:39 PM EDT

People cross a street during a "Black Lives Matter" march in Wausau, Wis., on Sunday, (AP Photo/Dan Young)

The Center for Medical Progress has now released eight different undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood executives and some of their associates speaking way too frankly about their business practices.

The last few weeks have also shown us the interesting spectacle of the progressive left eating its own: Governor O’Malley and Bernie Sanders being tangled up by Netroots Nation on the interesting issue of lives mattering.  Identity politics and class politics have come to a head on collision in a highly illustrative way.

It seems a great time to ask Planned Parenthood and by extension, the company’s fervent cheerleaders: which lives matter? 

If only we could resurrect Margaret Sanger, the famed eugenicist, and ask her.  Thankfully we have transcripts of a speech she gave in 1921, the same year she founded the American Birth Control League, which later became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  Here she divided society into neat sets.  At the bottom were the lives that didn’t matter. 

In this set she liberally included immigrants, those she referred to as feeble minded, and members of what she considered inferior races.  She concluded that “there is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”  She pursued her flawed ideals with enthusiasm, working tirelessly with poor Irish immigrants whose religious scruples were incomprehensible to her, and choosing Harlem as the site of one of her first flagship clinics. 

The organization she founded has hewed closely to the founder’s vision and has been wildly successful.  Could she have imagined that today Planned Parenthood receives over 500 million dollars a year from taxpayers? All while operating an extensive abortion franchise operation which cumulatively performs more abortions—over 300,000 yearly—than any other competitor.  I’m not even sure why they need the money from us.  Their annual report shows that abortion is a booming business, and they have nearly a billion dollars in net assets.  Over the last ten years, they have taken in over 500 million dollars in revenue.  Some of this, we’ve learned recently, has been from their sordid bucks-for-body parts scheme.

More than 79 percent of their clinics are located in or near minority neighborhoods, following their founder’s lead.  Those that are stopped from procreating tend to be disproportionately black and brown, poor and immigrant. Spokespeople for the company vow their presence in these neighborhoods shows how concerned they are for the health of poor Hispanic and black women. But contrary to what they frequently imply, they do not, for example, provide mammograms and are not a significant primary care provider.  Their highly lucrative business is abortion.

The macabre horror of the recent caught-on-video negotiations over the price of fetal body parts is magnified when one adds the racial angle.  Watching these highly privileged women in the videos, going on about crushing brown and black fetuses very carefully is enough to turn one’s stomach.  The optics are very bad for liberals, who spend a lot of time smugly patting themselves on the back for their fine racial sensitivities.  They don’t seem to get it, though, as the White House and others have come racing to defend the rich foundation.  

Hillary Clinton, another advantaged white woman, waited some time to state her support.  Her support did not come as a surprise, since she accepted the Margaret Sanger award in 2009, saying “I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision.”  Minority women like me have a right to feel both macro- and micro-aggressed!

It makes me wonder what a truly compassionate women’s health foundation would look like.  Would it make us proud to see our tax dollars at work if its mission was to help a scared and desperate woman through a hard time in any number of ways?  Might some of these ways even help her keep and raise a little one she will one day love with all her heart? We, ourselves, don’t disdain our children, because they are to be born poor and brown.  We cherish them and long for them, just as our white and privileged sisters do. 

It would behoove all of us hardworking immigrants, African Americans, and Latinos, who are chipping in with our taxes to keep Planned Parenthood not only afloat but wallowing in cash, to pointedly ask them, “Do our lives matter?”  The answer might make us shudder.

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a Senior Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association.  She writes and speaks widely, in both Spanish and English, about Catholicism, religious freedom, and the intersection of faith and science.  As a Hispanic, she brings a special focus on social issues that impact the growing Latino population, such as the state of the family and the real needs of the poor and marginalized.  As a physician, she is able to address complex subjects relating to government health policy and its true impact on the people it purports to help.

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