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Planned attacks on Planned Parenthood

By George E. Curry/NNPA Columnist
On September 7, 2015

Ben Carson, other candidates for GOP nomination mislead public on Planned Parenthood.
Credit: ABC News

Conservatives are attacking Planned Parenthood so viciously that you would be forgiven if you thought that the organization was running for president as a Democrat. It is often said, “The first casualty when war comes is truth.” Actually, the first casualty of politics is truth.

That’s particularly true when it comes to the orchestrated attacks on Planned Parenthood. The anti-choice Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has released seven videos that seek to discredit Planned Parenthood. Media Matters said, “The latest video again relies on footage already debunked as highly edited, features conversations with third-party providers who acted as the middlemen between researchers and clinics, and relies heavily on the account of a technician who did not work for Planned Parenthood …”

Retired neurosurgeon and presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, has also launched a major attack against Planned Parenthood and he should know better.

In an interview with Fox News on Aug. 12, Carson said that Planned Parenthood erects most of its clinics in Black neighborhoods as a “way to control that population.”

However, ABC’s Martha Raddatz reported, “Planned Parenthood estimates that fewer than five percent of its health centers are located in areas where more than one-third of the population is African American.”

In a detailed rebuttal, the Washington Post awarded Carson “Four Pinocchios,” indicating a “whopper” of a lie, the highest level of falsehoods.

“A 2011 report by Life Dynamics, which opposes abortion, used Census data to determine the African-American and Hispanic population of each zipcode where Planned Parenthood has an office,” the newspaper recalled. “The report was intended to show that the abortion clinics are placed mostly in areas where Black residents exceed the average Black population of the state.

“But when you look closely at the data, it turns out that there are only about 110 locations (out of about 800) where the Black population exceeds 25 percent of the overall population. That certainly does not support the claim that ‘most’ clinics are in ‘Black neighborhoods.’

“Separately, in 2011, the Guttmacher Institute surveyed all abortion providers (about 1,700), including Planned Parenthood, and found that 60 percent are in majority-White neighborhoods – and that fewer than one in 10 abortion providers are located in neighborhoods where more than half of the residents are Black. The statistics did not change when the numbers were adjusted for nearly 600 providers that conduct more than 400 abortions a year.”

Referring to the founder of Planned Parenthood, Carson said: “I know who Margaret Sanger is and I know that she believed in eugenics and that she was not particularly enamored with Black people.”

He is correct in saying that Sanger believed in eugenics, the idea that the human race can be improved by encouraging or discouraging reproduction based on genetic traits. Even so, Carson tells only half of the story – the half favorable to his point of view.

“ … I think people should go back and read about Margaret Sanger, who founded this place – a woman, who Hillary Clinton by the way, says she admires,” said Carson in the Fox interview. “Look and see what many people in Nazi Germany thought about her.”

The Washington Post did just that. “Starting in 1916, Sanger’s clinics, at first, were aimed mainly at poor immigrant women. The first clinic was in a neighborhood ‘populated largely by Italians and Eastern European Jews,’ according to the 2010 book “Birth Control on Main Street,” by Cathy Moran Hajo. Sanger did not open a Harlem clinic until the 1930s, even though infant mortality rates there were similar.

It would be great if we could get these orchestrated lies about abortion out of circulation.

George E. Curry is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA) and Follow him on Twitter at @currygeorge.

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