Cain: Planned Parenthood’s mission is 'planned genocide' of black babies
March 15th, 2011
05:24 PM ET
12 years ago

Cain: Planned Parenthood’s mission is 'planned genocide' of black babies

Washington (CNN) - Using unusually harsh words, a potential presidential candidate echoed some previous comments: claiming that Planned Parenthood’s original mission was to “help kill black babies before they came into the world.”

Herman Cain went on to say that the sexual and reproductive health care provider is carrying out its mission of “planned genocide.”

In response, the group said that Cain is using "inflammatory and divisive language based on race to achieve extreme political goals" of ending legal abortion.

Cain, an African-American and the first Republican to launch a presidential exploratory committee, made the comments Tuesday during a question-and-answer session at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington.

The purpose of the session was for Cain to talk about national policy.  He covered lots of ground: outlining his views on monetary policy, “fixing” the Federal Reserve, and overturning “Obamacare.”

His comments about Planned Parenthood come amid a debate in Congress over federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  Attached to the spending bill recently passed by the House is an amendment from Republican Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana that denies the group funds.

Speaking to reporters and bloggers at the Heritage Foundation, Cain echoed a position expressed by many other Republicans.

“I support de-funding Planned Parenthood,” Cain said.  “Tactically how they [Congress] does it…I can’t tell you.”

Cain then explained the reason behind his stance.

“You probably don’t hear a lot of people talking about this,” Cain said.  “When Margaret Sanger – check my history – started Planned Parenthood, the objective was to put these centers in primarily black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world.”

“It's planned genocide,” Cain claimed.

“It’s carrying out its original mission,” he continued.  “I’ve talked to young girls who go in there, and they [Planned Parenthood] don’t talk about how you plan parenthood.  They don’t talk about adoption as an option.  They don’t say, ‘Well, bring your parents in so we can sit down and talk with you, and counsel with you before you make this decision.’”

Planned Parenthood responded to Cain’s comments in a statement to CNN.

“Herman Cain is clearly out of the mainstream by supporting an extreme proposal that would bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funds for any purpose, including for preventive health care, lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, HIV testing and STD testing and treatment,” said Veronica Byrd, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s director of African-American Media. “The care that Planned Parenthood provides benefits all women, especially African-American women who experience higher rates of illness.”

Byrd continued: “Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provide affordable, health care to every woman who comes through the doors of one of our 800 health centers, regardless of where she lives, her race or ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, or income level. We are committed to providing every woman with a full range of high quality health care.”

As for the claim regarding African-American babies, Byrd cited a study that “found that fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.”

Byrd did not respond directly to Cain’s words about its founder, Margaret Sanger.

But Planned Parenthood’s website heaps praise on her as a hero in the “fight for women’s health, rights and equality.”

It describes her as helping to open the nation’s first birth control clinic in New York, in 1916, at a time when women had far fewer societal rights and often bore multiple children because of widespread public opinion against birth control.

Sanger’s “mother had 18 pregnancies, bore 11 children, and died in 1899 at the age of 40,” the site states.  “Working as a nurse with immigrant families on New York's Lower East Side, Sanger witnesses the sickness, misery, and death that result from unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion. The clinic she opens provides contraceptive advice to poor, immigrant women, some of whom line up hours before the doors open.”

Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: Herman Cain • Planned Parenthood
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. bouki

    Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was also a eugenicist.

    Does this mean the Republican Party should lose popular and monetary support?

    March 15, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. DJ in TX

    The argument against Planned Parenthood using federal funds for abortions, in my opinion is wrong, but at least it is an argument. But to bring race into it. The right always talk about the left being "race baitors". What do you say now. This sounds like one of Beck's conspiracy theories. And this is a favorite of the tea party???? The is a guy clearyly on the right espousing some planned organization started by a white woman, of trying to get rid of black people. I'd like to see the right defend this position................................

    March 15, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    Has anyone noticed that all the people out in front of the media talking about making abortion illegal and getting rid of Planed Parenthood and other programs that help women ARE MEN? Insted of making it so the government controls the babies women can or cannot have, why not castrate men so women can't get pregnant. What a woman does with her body should be between her and her doctor. It should NOT be between her, the men in government and her doctor.

    March 15, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. RobA

    The Republicans are obviously having a contest of who can put forth the most wacky, fanatically extremist right-wing agenda and still get the votes. Nowadays, conservatives will put up with a lot from anyone that isn't Obama.

    March 15, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  5. Steve, New York City

    How do right-wing extremists reconcile being pro-life, yet supporting the death penalty? Overall, I think that decent people can disagree on abortion – but once again, it is the extremists that scare me (on both sides)!
    Using abortion as a method of birth control is INCREDIBLY disturbing. On the other hand, I am equally disturbed by extremists who want to ban ALL abortions, even in cases of rape and incest? WHAT ON EARTH is wrong with these people? A rapist is nothing but "human filth" that deserves to be thrown into the incinerator (as we'd do with other garbage) – we should do all we can to "stomp them out" of the human gene pool. Therefore, why do stupid extremists want to help these people propagate, when such conception occurred through sickening, "criminal" actions?

    Finally, what is wrong with this man? Because he is a person of color, that does not give him the perrogative to make STUPID comments about color.

    March 15, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Ever notice how Republican minorities take a particular set of Marching Orders from the Kochs and the Roves?

    Ever notice how those orders are to make racist fools of themselves in order to convince people that NO minority should have power?

    I bet you notice now!

    March 15, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. Nurse Lisa

    so a Repug doesn't like abortions or sex education or free condoms – big surprise. But masking the GOPs desire to defund programs that help the poor by trying to accuse this health care organization that does so much good of a despicable and erroneous desire to kill black babies is morally reprehensible – and for the GOP's latest potential candidate... we've come full circle. Blame the other guys with outright lies and hope your base blindly believes and some of the crap sticks.

    March 15, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. OH YEAH?

    Just another man who wants to keep women barefoot, pregnant, and at home "where they belong", while he parties.

    March 15, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. Shinea

    I guess the playing the race card against the usual suspects wasn't working as well these days. Time to get on another bandwagon and get a two for one ticket. Racism and anti-choice at once. How good is that?

    March 15, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. Nurse Lisa

    I'm sure he doesn't want to fund programs that help teen parents care for their children out of wedlock either. What is he proposing or doing to help younsters prevent diseases and unwanted preganacies or to care for their kids when they have them – do all his employees get healthcare?

    March 15, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. lgny

    This is such silly hyperbole.

    No one is forcing people to go to Planned Parenthood, and PP only provides services that the patient requests. Those who want contraception receive it. Those who want abortion get it. Those who want pre-natal counseling get it.

    To call this genocide against anyone is absolute propaganda.

    March 15, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. Marquise

    Mr.Cain is a Republican that in itself should tell you something. It is funny that so many men have a problem with Birth control and Abortion considering many of them refuse to use condoms and will never have the procedure. These self-righteous hypocrits are morally against abortions but not against fornication. You don't see this Saints picketing the "Strip clubs" like you see them in front of Planned parenthood. Mr Cain pretends to care for Black children but why doesn't he address the high rate of abandoment of these children but their Black fathers, that in itself is genocide. When "Taliban Cain" can give birth then he can speak on the matter.

    March 15, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. Baby Boomer

    Herman Cain, Alan Keyes, Clarence Thomas. All the same man... An idiot!!!

    March 15, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. bouki

    Republican President Calvin Coolidge supported eugenics law as well.

    Should the contemporary Republican Party lose support over it?

    Perhaps it would help to consider that Sanger, like any number of her political, educational and social peers adhered to racial thinking of the moment. This does not excuse racist ideologies (we need to be honest about them then and now) it does underscore how the attacks against Sanger are ideologically selective for political purposes.

    People who don't like Planned Parenthood (and generally have not done much else to support African American communities or have been outright antagonistic) want to use that community's legitimate anger against racism to achieve their political ends.

    Despite the widespread damage to healthcare accessibility in African American communities that defunding Planned Parenthood would mean.

    March 15, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. kelsey's grammar

    I wondered who the Repubs were gonna find to take Steele's spot. What a shame the new guy is so clueless and disparages a great organization over comments made by its' founder over nearly a hundred years ago. Comments which are not in their entirety and taken out of context. Yup, he's a Republican

    March 15, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  16. Bill Graham in Jacksonville, FL

    Aside from some obvious implications about this man's position, there is one argument that I find hard to overcome. Conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, do not view it as their responsibility to feed anyone else's baby. I well remember in seminary asking for some financial aid. What was the reply that came back to me? You made the decision to have children. Not me. Why should I help you? That being the case, if these people aren't willing to adopt, they're being pretty hypocritical. On the one hand, they want to prevent women from getting contraceptives, so they'll most likely get pregnant. Then, when they're pregnant, they've had sex, they want to tell them they can't take a morning-after pill. Then, when they find out they're pregnant, they want to tell women they don't have any control over their body and they can't have an abortion under any circumstance. Then, when they have the baby, they want to tell the women they decided to bring their children into the world, so they best learn how to fend for themselves. Then, when the children are old enough to enter the school system, they want to tell them that their education is their own responsibility and that taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for their education. Then, when the child is grown, they complain that he or she isn't prepared to do anything. The look at the adult and say, "We threw all this money at them for their education, and they know nothing." Then, when the adult is desperate, and commits a crime, they throw him or her in a human warehouse we call the penal system.

    March 15, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. welches, oregon

    More GOP propaganda and lies. Planned Parenthood is there to help woman choose. Help woman get birth control, Help woman receive exams. They don't target anyone. What a bunch of cr@p. Just more GOP lies. Aren't we tired of these ridiculous lies yet people?

    March 15, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  18. Tony Coltello

    Maragaret Sanger said the following:

    "Keep the doors of immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race, such as feebleminded, idiots, morons, insane, syphilitic, epileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes, and others in this class barred by the immigration laws of 1924."

    –Sanger, "A Plan For Peace", Birth Control Review, April 1932, p. 106

    "The undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind"

    –quoted in Charles Valenza: "Was Margaret Sanger a Racist?" Family Planning Perspectives, January–February 1985, page 44.

    March 15, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I don't support Cain and I'm not a Republican but this subject matter has been around for years but whether it's true or not I personally still don't know, but I have a feeling.

    March 15, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. Rick in AZ

    Another insane Republican running for President.

    March 15, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. Jill

    . . . And Tea party poopers of your ilk plan on letting them die when they come into the world. You're the first to yell "Not
    with my tax dollars" to take care of them. And the first to be against PLANNED parenthood.
    What Hypocrites.

    March 15, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. T'sah from Virginia

    WTF?? Wow, I thought PLANNED meant PREVENT? And who does this "brotha' think he's going to impress by saying that. Maybe he's trying to get the Black vote!

    [" that “found that fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.”] ?? Fewer than ONE out of TEN are found in African-American neighborhoods??? So who really LEADS in abortions?

    [Cain echoed a position expressed by many other Republicans.] But they put the Black man out there to say it!! Watch out STEELE – your fame is about to END!! Dang, the REPUBS will say anything to TRY and get elected!!

    March 15, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. steve

    it's true. just research the founder of PP and where she wanted the clinics placed.

    March 15, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  24. jerry polon

    He's just like the rest of the GOPigs, only crazier, if that's possible. They make up any nutty story and push it as if there was even a shred of truth in it. Then FOX News gets behind it, and bam- it's a news item. They're sick, the whole bunch of them.

    March 15, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  25. Kelvin

    My problem with pro-abortion folks is that they are so vehemently opposed to any legislation that would require these women/girls be given counseling before they make a decision about aborting their baby. I can't even get a cough syrup without being told that I might get diarrhea in the process but you pro-abortion folks don't think it's necessary for girls to be told the potential psychological effects of aborting their babies.

    March 15, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
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