The Corner

Smith and Clinton

From the Foreign Relations hearing earlier today, here is Smith’s statement/question to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

In receiving Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s award in Houston on March 27th, you said that you were in “awe” of Margaret Sanger; you said that Sanger’s “life and leadership” was “one of the most transformational in the entire history of the human race” and that Sanger’s work both here and abroad was “not done.”

With all due respect, Madam Secretary, transformational yes; but not for the better if one happens to be poor, disenfranchised, weak, disabled, a person of color, an unborn child, or among the many so-called undesirables Sanger would exclude and exterminate from the human race.  Sanger’s prolific writings drip with contempt for those she considers to be unfit to live.

I’ve actually read many of Sanger’s articles and books.  Sanger was an unapologetic eugenicist and racist who said “the most merciful thing a family does for one of its infant members is to kill it.”  And said on another occasion, “eugenics is the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.”

In her book, Pivot of Civilization, Sanger devoted an entire chapter, which she entitled the “Cruelty of Charity”, to explaining a shockingly inhumane case for systematic denial of prenatal and maternal health care for poor, pregnant women.

“Such benevolence is not merely superficial and near-sighted” Sanger wrote “it conceals a stupid cruelty” and leads to a “deterioration in the human stock” and “the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents and dependents.”

So it is extraordinarily difficult how anyone especially a Secretary of State could be in “awe” of Margaret Sanger, a person who made no secret whatsoever of views that were antithetical to protecting human rights and that suggest that “her work” remains undone here and around the world.

In 2007 alone Planned Parenthood killed over 305,000 children by abortion in the United States and millions more worldwide.

As part of “Sanger’s work” that remains undone, is the Obama Administration seeking to weaken or overturn pro-life laws and policies in African and Latin America countries either directly or through multilateral organizations including and especially the UN, African Union, or the OAS, or by way of funding NGOs like Planned Parenthood?

And so we have total transparency, does the United States’ definition of the term 1) “reproductive health” or 2) “reproductive services” or 3) “reproductive rights” include abortion?

Secretary Clinton’s Response focused on their disagreement over abortion, avoiding the Sanger issue:

“Congressman, I deeply respect your passionate concerns and views, which you have championed and advocated for over the course of your public career. We obviously have a profound disagreement. When I think about the suffering that I have seen of women around the world—I’ve been in hospitals in Brazil where half the women were enthusiastically and joyfully greeting new babies and the other half were fighting for their lives against botched abortions. I’ve been in African countries where 12 and 13 year old girls are bearing children. I have been in Asian countries where the denial of family planning consigns women to lives of oppression and hardship. So we have a very fundamental disagreement. And it is my strongly held view that you are entitled to advocate and everyone who agrees with you should be free to do so anywhere in the world, and so are we.

“We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health. And reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal, and rare. I spent a lot of my time trying to bring down the rate of abortions and it has been my experience that good family planning and good medical care brings down the rate of abortion. Keeping women and men in ignorance and denied access to services actually increases the rate of abortion.

“During my time as First Lady I helped to create the Campaign Against Teenage Pregnancy, and while we were working to provide good information, access to contraception, and decision-making that would enable young women to protect themselves and say no, the rate of teen pregnancy went down. I’m sad to report that after an administration of 8 years that undid so much of the good work, the rate of teenage pregnancy is going up.

“So, we disagree. And we are now an Administration that will protect the rights of women, including their rights to reproductive health care.”

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