Ben Carson lies again, film at 11

Ben-Carson-and-evolution-with-TARDIS-and-Jesus-riding-dinosaur
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (one of the many GOP presidential candidates vying for the Republican nomination for the presidency) is once again filling the airwaves with his unique brand of ignorance. You’ll remember Carson as the guy who said that being gay is a choice because straight people who leave jail are gay, that white liberals are the most racist people there are, that the Affordable Care Act is the worst thing that has happened to the United States since slavery, and compared supporters of President Obama to Nazi’s. In response to the heavily edited anti-choice propaganda videos recently released by the Center for Medical Progress, Carson told Iowa radio talk show host Jan Mickelson:

“You wonder if he actually knows the history of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger, who was trying to eliminate black people,” Carson replied. “That was the whole purpose of it.”

This is very similar to a claim he made back in 2011. Back then, in an interview with CBS’ Face the Nation, he said:

Schieffer: … you said that it was not Planned Parenthood, it was really planned genocide because you said Planned Parenthood was trying to put all these centers into the black communities because they wanted to kill black babies —

Herman Cain: Yes.

Scheiffer: — before they were born. Do you still stand by that?

Cain: I still stand by that.

Schieffer: Do you have any proof that that was the objective of Planned Parenthood?

Cain: If people go back and look at the history and look at Margaret Sanger’s own words, that’s exactly where that came from. Look up the history. So if you go back and look up the history — secondly, look at where most of them were built; 75 percent of those facilities were built in the black community — and Margaret Sanger’s own words, she didn’t use the word “genocide,” but she did talk about preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born.

He’s repeating the same lies he told in 2011. Planned Parenthood did not (and does not) target the black community and Margaret Sanger was not advocating genocide against black people. Politifact refuted Carson’s claims 4 years ago. The claim that Sanger was targeting the African-American community for genocide relies upon cherry-picking her words:

Sanger, who was arrested several times in her efforts to bring birth control to women in the United States, set up her first clinic in Brooklyn in 1916. In the late 1930s, she sought to bring clinics to black women in the South, in an effort that was called the “Negro Project.” Sanger wrote in 1939 letters to colleague Clarence James Gamble that she believed the project needed a black physician and black minister to gain the trust of the community: 

Sanger, 1939:
The minister’s work is also important and he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. 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 that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.

Sanger says that a minister could debunk the notion, if it arose, that the clinics aimed to “exterminate the Negro population.” She didn’t say that she wanted to “exterminate” the black population. The Margaret Sanger Papers Project at New York University says that this quote has “gone viral on the Internet,” normally out of context, and it “doesn’t reflect the fact that Sanger recognized elements within the black community might mistakenly associate the Negro Project with racist sterilization campaigns in the Jim Crow south, unless clergy and other community leaders spread the word that the Project had a humanitarian aim.”

It’s also not true that Planned Parenthood targets African-American communities:

Sanger’s first clinic, opened in 1916, was in Brooklyn in a neighborhood called Brownsville, which was 80 percent to 85 percent Jewish in 1910 and 1920, according to author Wendell E. Pritchett’s “Brownsville, Brooklyn: Blacks, Jews & the Changing Face of the Ghetto.” Cathy Moran Hajo writes that the neighborhood was “populated largely by Italians and Eastern European Jews” in “Birth Control on Main Street: Organizing Clinics in the United States, 1916-1939.” She says that Sanger didn’t choose to open her first clinic in Harlem, where infant and mother mortality rates were similar to those of Brownsville.

In fact, early birth control clinics didn’t welcome black women with open arms, Hajo writes: “In the 1920s and early 1930s, African Americans had far more limited access to birth control than did white women. Not only did many clinics discriminate against black women, but the regions with the largest black populations had fewer clinics.”

Sanger opened a clinic in Harlem in 1930, and, as mentioned, the “Negro Project” began in the late 1930s.

That doesn’t support Cain’s implication that Sanger’s “objective was to put these centers in primarily black communities,” or that “75 percent” of clinics were in such neighborhoods. It should also be noted that these early clinics were focused on providing birth control, and Sanger herself warned of the dangers of abortion. “While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization,” she wrote in her 1920 book “Woman and the New Race.”

Cain’s claim also isn’t true today. Tait Sye, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, told us in an email that “73% of Planned Parenthood health centers are located in rural or medically underserved areas.” Not all of those would be predominately black communities.

Also, the Guttmacher Institute reported this year that 9 percent of abortion clinics in the U.S. are in neighborhoods in which 50 percent or more of the residents are black. That’s according to the group’s “census of all known abortion providers.”

Carson likes to claim that as a Christian he is interested in the truth. Given how easy it is to debunk his lies, I’m not sure what version of the word ‘truth’ he’s using, but it’s not in any standard dictionary. Hell, it’s probably not even in the Urban Dictionary (turns out I’m wrong about that last part).

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Ben Carson lies again, film at 11
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