Month Archives: February 2020

Margaret Sanger and the Racist Roots of Planned Parenthood

by Worth Loving

February 10, 2020

Recently, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest (R-N.C.) came under fire for comments he made regarding Planned Parenthood and its founder, Margaret Sanger. Speaking to an MLK Day breakfast at Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, Forest said this: “There is no doubt that when Planned Parenthood was created, it was created to destroy the entire black race. That was the purpose of Planned Parenthood. That’s the truth.” Forest later defended his comments to McClatchy News: “The facts speak for themselves. Since 1973, 19 million black babies have been aborted, mostly by Planned Parenthood. I care too much about the lives of these babies to debate the intent of Sanger’s views when the devastation she brought into this world is obvious.”

Margaret Sanger, her sister, Ethel Byrne, and Fania Mindell opened the first birth control clinic in the United States in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York on October 16, 1916. The clinic was later raided by the NYPD, and all three women were arrested and charged with violating the Comstock Act for distributing obscene materials. After laws governing birth control were relaxed, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which was renamed the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

While Lieutenant Governor Forest was attacked by many on the Left for pushing an uneducated, insensitive agenda, history backs him up. The fact is that Margaret Sanger strongly believed the Aryan race to be superior and that it must be purified, a view that finds its roots from Charles Darwin’s defense of evolution in The Origin of Species. Darwin argued that a process of “natural selection” favored the white race over all other “lesser races.” Sanger advocated for eugenics by calling for abortion and birth control among the “unfit” to produce a master race, a race consisting solely of wealthy, educated whites. Sanger said she believed blacks were “human weeds” that needed to be exterminated. She also referred to immigrants, African Americans, and poor people as “reckless breeders” and “spawning…human beings who never should have been born.”

Sanger once wrote “that the aboriginal Australian, the lowest known species of the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain development, has so little sexual control that police authority alone prevents him from obtaining sexual satisfaction on the streets.” In an effort to sell her birth control and abortion proposals to the black community, Sanger said: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” In 1926, Sanger was also the featured speaker at a women’s auxiliary meeting of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey.

Sanger opened her clinics in largely minority neighborhoods because she believed immigrants and the working class were inferior and needed their population controlled so as to purify the human race. That trend continues today where almost 80 percent of Planned Parenthood facilities are located in minority neighborhoods. In fact, although only 13 percent of American women are black, over 35 percent of all black babies are aborted in the United States every year. Abortion is the leading cause of death for blacks in the United States. According to Students for Life of America, “more African-Americans have died from abortion than from AIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer, and heart disease combined.” Black babies are about five times more likely to be aborted than whites. On Halloween in 2017, Planned Parenthood’s “Black Community” Twitter account tweeted: “If you’re a Black woman in America, it’s statistically safer to have an abortion than to carry a pregnancy to term or give birth.”

While Margaret Sanger tried to portray Planned Parenthood as a merciful organization that helps needy families, the facts speak for themselves. In her testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in September 2015, former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards openly admitted that over 80 percent of her organization’s annual revenue comes from performing abortions and not basic health care for poor or disadvantaged women. When you dive deeper, well over 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s annual revenue comes from performing abortions.

Despite this sordid history, Margaret Sanger is almost universally recognized as a pioneer for women’s rights rather than the racist she actually was. When accepting Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that she “admired Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision…I am really in awe of her.” Those like Hillary Clinton are ignoring the explicitly racist statements that Margaret Sanger made throughout her life. The fact is that Sanger normalized birth control and abortion in the United States as a means to accomplish eugenics. Her ultimate goal was to eliminate non-white races, people with sickness or disabilities, children born to felons, the poor, and immigrants, to name a few.

Margaret Sanger is no heroine, and Planned Parenthood is not some merciful health care provider as the Left paints it to be. Margaret Sanger repeatedly stated her racist intentions for the whole world to see and hear, and Planned Parenthood was and still is the manifestation of those racist ideologies. America was founded on the idea that no matter your race, creed, national origin, disability, or station in life, everyone who comes here or is born here has the opportunity to live a successful, fulfilling life. Margaret Sanger didn’t believe that.

As pro-life activists, we must do our part to expose Margaret Sanger for who she really was. We must also expose the racist history of Planned Parenthood and how that history is still relevant today. For more information on Margaret Sanger and the racist roots of Planned Parenthood, check out these FRC resources: Planned Parenthood Is Not Pro-Woman and The Real Planned Parenthood: Leading the Culture of Death.

Virginia Is Trying to Make Abortion Less Safe and Keep Women in the Dark

by Blake Elliott

February 6, 2020

The Virginia General Assembly is considering legislation to expand abortion access and repeal life-saving pro-life laws. Radical pro-abortion legislators have been advocating for expanded access to abortion in the fear that Roe v. Wade will soon be overturned. After pro-abortion Democrats gained control of the Virginia General Assembly, they wasted little time in targeting the state’s pro-life laws.

On January 28, 2020, Virginia’s House of Delegates passed House Bill 980, a bill which expands the list of medical professionals who can commit abortions during the first trimester to include physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified midwives. This bill also removes the 24-hour waiting period requirement, a requirement that women seeking abortions be given an opportunity to view an ultrasound, and a requirement that medically accurate information regarding the procedure be provided to the woman seeking an abortion.

Not to be outdone by the Virginia House of Delegates last week, the Virginia State Senate passed a companion bill, Senate Bill 733. State Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) described the urgency of passing these bills by arguing that existing pro-life laws somehow inhibit women from controlling their bodies and easily ending the baby’s life.

The sad reality is that these bills will do more than expand abortion—they will actually make the procedure even more dangerous. By eliminating the ultrasound requirement, abortions will become more unsafe by removing the crucial step of allowing the physician to clearly see the unborn child in the womb. Furthermore, repealing the requirement that the woman be given medically accurate information opens the door to women being denied critical information about their pregnancies.

In addition, the dangers that come with these bills allowing physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified midwives the ability to commit abortions that they have not been trained to do cannot be ignored. One would think that the Democratic party, who claims to be “pro-woman” and is promoting these bills in the name of “women’s health,” would want certified physicians with training to be the ones committing the abortion, but that is not the case. Instead, they treat abortion as if it were a minor procedure. State Senator Stephen Newman (R-Bedford) emphasized this when he pointed out how “there is no other procedure we deal with that ends the life of another person.” It is crucial that we remember that these procedures don’t just simply kill the baby—they can also be dangerous for the woman.

For pro-lifers, these bills amount to an egregious effort to repeal major pro-life laws on the books in Virginia which have saved countless lives. Delegate Margaret Ransone (R-Westmoreland) gave a powerful testimony in the House as she described the need for these pro-life laws and the dangers of repealing them. She pointed out that no matter what the circumstance is around the pregnancy, a woman seeking abortion deserves information about what will happen during an abortion. Abortions are incredibly traumatic procedures, and women deserve to be given access to as much information as possible about them.

Delegate Ransone described one abortion provider’s description of a chemical abortion, which read similarly to Planned Parenthood’s website. Planned Parenthood describes chemical abortions and how the woman will cramp and bleed tremendously and release “large clumps of tissue.” Not surprisingly, they fail to mention that these large clumps of tissue are actually the unborn child. Wouldn’t one think that a woman would want to be fully informed about a chemical abortion (which is in reality an in-home, do-it-yourself abortion) and the trauma that will come with it? Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Bedford) described House Bill 980 as being “so lax, so casual, that anyone, at any time, almost anywhere can have an abortion performed by just about anybody.” If pro-abortion Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly cared about “reproductive health,” then why do they support deregulating an industry that has hurt women?

Only one Democrat, Delegate Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), spoke on the House floor in favor of House Bill 980. Delegate Hope said that the issue was personal for him because he has three daughters, and he wants his daughters to be able to make their own reproductive health decisions—without all the information necessary to make that decision, apparently. He demanded that his colleagues support this legislation to roll back “medically unnecessary” restrictions on their health care. Delegate Hope apparently believes allowing women access to medical information regarding an abortion somehow “restricts” their health care. What was missing from his comments was any sort of awareness that his daughters, and women in Virginia, will not be able to make the best decision for themselves if they are not given the best possible information.

It is incredibly sad that the Virginia General Assembly decided to pass HB 980 and SB 733. Pro-abortion Democrats value the bottom line of the abortion industry over women’s health. Denying women the ability to access information regarding abortion doesn’t advance women’s health, it hurts it—and it will inevitably lead to more aborted children. It is important that Virginians wake up and see what is happening in their state. Democrats are doing the bidding of the abortion industry, which is further cheapening life and keeping women in the dark.

A Hidden Life Is an Unparalleled Depiction of Christian Discipleship

by Daniel Hart

February 4, 2020

Are we merely admirers of Christ, or are we followers?

For all Christians, this profound question should shake us to our core. It’s a question that runs through the heart of A Hidden Life, a powerful new film from acclaimed filmmaker Terrence Malick, who wrote and directed the three-hour epic that explores the calling and consequences of true Christian discipleship.

A Simple Life Shattered by War

A Hidden Life is based on the true story of an Austrian farmer named Franz Jägerstätter, a devout Catholic and conscientious objector martyred by the Nazis, who lived with his wife Fani and their three daughters in a small village in the mountains during World War II.

The movie begins by showing parts of an old Nazi propaganda film of Adolf Hitler touring a town in Germany and the adulation he receives from the people. In stark contrast, the film then envelopes its audience into the majestic beauty of rural Austria, where Franz and his family live an idyllic life as humble farmers. Scenes of hard farm work mixed with the simple joys of recreation with family early in the film establish the fact that Franz, Fani, and their girls are living a peaceful, happy, and fulfilled life. Other scenes of genuine comradery between Franz’s family and the other townspeople demonstrate that they are well-respected and even loved by the village.

It is in these opening scenes that the unique filmmaking style of director Terrence Malick becomes apparent. As in his past films, most of the scenes in A Hidden Life are presented as a kind of vignette, often with minimal dialogue. Sometimes, the dialogue is muted intentionally, with music or even a voice over being what you hear. Frequently, Malick will intersperse scenes with gorgeously rendered shots of nature—the mountains, fields of grain waving in the wind, a waterfall cascading down into mist. For the uninitiated viewer, this style can be a bit disorienting at first, but the film has a way of drawing the audience into its world after the first few minutes. One reviewer of A Hidden Life aptly described it as “a movie you enter, like a cathedral of the senses.”

Soon, the ominous sounds of Nazi airplanes flying high above the village convey a distinct sense that the simple lives of the farmers and townspeople will never be the same. Sure enough, Franz is conscripted into the German army, and at first he willingly complies with their demands that he complete basic training. After months away from his family, he is allowed to return home, but the possibility of Franz being called back into full duty as the war drags on hangs over him and his wife. From this point on, the central conflict that Franz faces becomes the focus of the film—he knows that he will be required to pledge an oath of loyalty to Hitler once he is called back up to service.

A Heroic Act of Conscience

As Franz seeks counsel from his parish priest on what to do, it is clear that many churchmen of the time could not muster the courage to make the principled stand that Franz is attempting to make. “We’re killing innocent people, raiding other countries, preying on the weak,” Franz pleads with his priest, asking for guidance. Instead of answering, the priest defers and directs Franz to ask his bishop for direction. When Franz is able to get an audience with the bishop, he asks him pointedly, “If our leaders—if they are evil, what does one do?” The bishop’s response clearly breaks Franz’s heart: “You have a duty to the fatherland. The Church tells you so.”

After this, Franz and Fani try to go about their normal life, but they are clearly mourning what they know is likely to come: Franz’s imprisonment and execution for his conscientious objection. Through extended scenes of the couple lying together in the countryside, sitting in their bedroom, or doing farm chores, it is clear that an internal battle is raging inside of them as they contemplate the consequences of the unthinkable—to forever lose their tranquil and joyful life together for the sake of sacrificing his life for the gospel.

As if this weren’t enough, Franz and his family begin to experience ridicule from their fellow townspeople. It seems that Franz is the only man in his village to publicly and openly question the Nazi war effort, which is clearly too much to bear for their guilty consciences. The town mayor, a close friend of Franz’s at the outset of the film, eventually ends up denouncing him: “You cannot say no to your race and your home. You are a traitor!” Franz and his family are publicly insulted, spat upon, and even physically threatened at various points in the film.

Despite the almost unimaginable pressure that Franz faces from his church, his peers, and even his own family (from his mother-in-law and sister-in-law) to give in to the Nazi’s demands, he refuses to take the oath to Hitler after his inevitable call-up to military service.

Once Franz is imprisoned, we begin to find out more about what is going on in his soul. In a series of interrogations by the Nazis and during interviews with his court-appointed defense attorney, Franz is challenged over and over again to give in. “You think your defiance will change the course of things?” “Words! [referring to the oath to Hitler] No one takes that sort of thing seriously.” Franz’s responses are simple and direct, but somehow their simplicity makes his motivations crystal clear: “I have that feeling inside me, that I can’t do what I believe is wrong. That’s all.” “If God gives us free will, we are responsible for what we do, what we fail to do.”

What will never be simple, though, is the toll that Franz’s sacrifice takes on his wife Fani and their daughters, which is illustrated through numerous scenes of toil and heartbreak as she undertakes difficult farm work and tucks their children into bed without him. Even still, the fortitude that Fani exhibits is every bit as heroic as Franz’s. Toward the end of the film, she is allowed to see Franz one last time in prison. In an almost unbearably emotional scene, Fani displays the epitome of spiritual union with her husband as she assures him of her solidarity even if his decision means death: “Whatever you do, I’m with you, always.”

As A Hidden Life draws to a close, it is clear that Franz’s experience of imprisonment, interrogation, physical abuse at the hands of the prison guards, and the mental anguish of his impending death has molded him into a Christ-like figure. When a Nazi major promises him that he will be free if he signs a paper oath to Hitler, Franz responds, “I am already free.” In one scene, he gives his tiny ration of bread to a fellow starving prisoner, who stares at him disbelievingly. In one of the most subtle yet surprisingly touching moments of the film, he carefully replaces an umbrella he had accidentally knocked over back to its original position. These actions show that he has indeed become a truly free man, unencumbered by worldly concerns, whose only goal is to do good with the little time he has left on earth.

An Unparalleled Depiction of Christian Discipleship

From a Christian perspective, watching A Hidden Life is an unparalleled film experience. In the words of one reviewer, it is arguably “the best evocation of the Gospel ever committed to film.” The deliberate, reverential style in which it is acted, filmed, and edited allows the viewer to truly immerse themselves into and contemplate the deep mysteries of some of the biggest questions that frame the nature of discipleship in Christ. How far must we go to become a true follower of Christ, and how do we reconcile this with our familial obligations? Is there meaning to our suffering for Christ when it causes us such indescribable pain? Does standing for the gospel really matter if no one seems to notice? Why does God seem to hide Himself from those who most desperately need Him?

The most pointed question this film asks of its audience is one that remains extremely pertinent in our own time, in which Christians remain the most persecuted religious group on earth. The question is this: When we are faced with the wrath of the world for our faith, will we shrink and make excuses, or will we stand for truth, no matter the consequences? In the film’s depiction of Franz Jägerstätter, we are a given a true-to-life role model for how to accomplish heroic virtue with grace and serenity.

But perhaps the greatest gift that A Hidden Life gives the viewer is three hours of space—space for reflection and contemplation of these most paramount of questions that probe the deepest mysteries of the faith life. In this age of distraction and anxiety, we desperately need it.

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