(Reprinted from The Worker, bi-weekly newspaper of the Canadian Party of Labour)
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing about the article mentioning anti-working class bias in abortion. Undoubtedly your head is ringing from the denunciations you have received for this article and I just want to say firstly that I support it and secondly that I am going to give you some information that will back up your basic thesis.
Now to be perfectly honest with you, I am not a communist. But your basic thesis that government in the U.S. would just love to get abortion to the “niggers, Chicanos, wops etc.” is quite accurate as events and actions will show. Therefore, as you say, any delegation of the “right to choose” what the government desperately wants you to choose has to be looked at with the utmost suspicion by a good communist.
Item: First there is the question, generally speaking, of whether there is a design, conscious or otherwise, on the part of U.S. federal or state governments to reduce the population of the poor and the black. This would include sterilization, and contraception, along with abortion.
a) Except for the privilege of aborting herself, the black woman and her family must fight for every social and economic privilege. But how will the fundamental oppression under which blacks are forced to live be served by destroying black children? In whose interest would it be, however, to be rid of them?
b) In the same year that North Carolina allowed easy abortion it refused to legislate equal employment opportunities for blacks. Again, who benefits?
c) McGovern set the year 1976 as the target date for achieving zero population growth in the U.S. This is fine except that in 1972 when he set it, most white groups had achieved zero growth. Black groups, however, had not. Then who was the aim directed at?
d) While hunger programs and other anti-poverty programs in the U.S. languish for lack of funds, the “birth control” programs are still driving hard. Gee, isn’t that funny? You’d think that if Nixon cared about the poor so much, family planning would go hand in hand with equal employment and education drives. But we all know what is happening to that elementary form of desegregation, bussing. It’s being scrapped!
e) At the 1969 Conference on Hunger, a panel on “Pregnant and Nursing Women and Infants”, headed by Dr. Charles U. Lowe of HEW’s National Institutes of Health recommended 1) mandatory abortion for any unmarried girl found to be within the first three months of pregnancy. 2) mandatory sterilization of any such girl giving birth out of wedlock a second time. Dr. Alan Guttmacher, resident of Planned-Parenthood-World Population, and a member of the panel gave this resolution his strong support. Did it pass? No it didn’t. Here’s why not: A lady (black, no less) from Ruleville, Mississippi, named Fannie Lou Hamer got this inane proposal withdrawn through quick and decisive action. It was never explained to anyone what all this had to do with hunger, nursing, women or infants.
f) Who have been the promoters of “population control”? The workers? Look at the names: John D. Rockefeller III, Nelson A. Rockefeller, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Mott Trust, the Commonwealth and Community Funds, the World Bank, the Hugh Moore Fund, General Draper, the Kellogg Foundation, J. Patrick Moynihan, Agency for International Development. I could go on, but why bother? Conceivably one might argue that these people are “workers” (they must be if they can grab up so much money) but – working class?
g) Dr. Charles Greenlee, a respected black physician in Pittsburgh contends that intimidation to use abortion and sterilization takes the form of implicit as well as explicit threats that welfare payments will be cut off if the recipient has more children. (R.Z. Hallow, “The Blacks Cry Genocide,” The Nation, April 28, 1969 p.535). Meanwhile South Carolina has, as we all know, been busy sterilizing indigents after their second or third child. They have been ordered to stop explicitly insisting on this by HEW. But since, in point of fact, they are paying the subsidies, it is difficult to see how the implicit threats will cease.
h) I have heard that at Cook County Hospital in Chicago some physicians attempt to “make sterilization appeal” to women who are in the throes of labor. Now if that isn’t disgusting, what is?
i) The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Louisiana Senator Russell B. Long, recently rewrote the Administration’s Welfare Reform and Social Security Bill, now law. Those states which refuse to set up “adequate” birth control programs for the poor will lose up to two percent of total welfare subsidies for families with dependent children.
Now it is arguable that this will force reluctant states to get a move on and provide a needed service. What is not arguable, though, is that if the poor do not “take” to the idea, methods will become more and more coercive insofar as the state is in danger of losing money. That axe swings both ways, doesn’t it?
The question is, is society more afraid of black babies than the rats and filth in black ghettoes?
Population may have to be stabilized at some point; we all know that. But why is there such a rush to get black women the right to “choose” abortion when most blacks still can’t “choose” to walk into a decent restaurant in the South? Again, let’s apply the political question: Who gains?
Item: To come specifically to the question of abortion, during the first fifteen months’ experience of abortion in New York City, 43.4 percent of all abortions performed on New York City residents were performed on “non-whites” (90 percent of whom are black). Only 18.1 percent of New York City’s residents are black. In other words, blacks are apt to “benefit” most from the reduction of their population by this means. Black women are aborted at a rate 2.5 times that of white women.
It is immaterial to argue that they “chose” this. Dreadful and still unalleviated conditions may have driven them to choose it. In twenty years the results of “choosing” to go along with population limitation programs pushed on them by whites may result in the blacks having substantially reduced numbers and less political leverage. Is that a “good” thing?
Just in passing, the U.S. has still not ratified the U.N. Genocide Convention, which makes the crime of genocide one of international law. Russia, China and 73 other countries have done so. The U.S. Congress however has certain “reservations.” Wonder what they are?
HEW sterilizes about 100,000 poor people a year at the U.S. government’s expense. This means that in the next decade, one million poor people may be sterilized. It would be convenient, doubtless, if they all “choose” it. Governments do not trouble much to deprive people of liberties that they are only too willing to give up.
Lastly, re the U.S. Supreme Court abortion decision, all I can say is, get a copy of the decision and read it. It does not say that a woman has the unlimited right to control her body. It says that the state does not recognize a “compelling interest” in protecting the unborn child. Now the point is, if the state, in Justice Blackmun’s opinion, recognized a compelling interest, he would, and abortion would still be illegal. To give an example of the sort of “compelling state interest” that he is talking about, he cites Buck vs. Bell, a notorious case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the state had the right to sterilize a mentally defective (so ruled) woman without her consent. The court’s statement on the occasion said that they had as much right to tie her fallopian tubes as to vaccinate her. That’s state interest, man. Fortunately, the Nazi experience in Germany and saner decisions by the court tended to blur this a little. But it’s still there and it’s no accident that Justice Blackmun chose to resurrect this old horror to justify his abortion decision – because this is the line that his mind happened to be taking.
In other words, I get a kick out of listening to radical feminists tell each other that the decision was made to give women the right to control their bodies. Not so fast, girls. Only as long as you are controlling them in the interests of the state. And that might even change, sometime.
Perhaps this letter is long, but I thought you might use some moral support. I could dig up references for most of this material if you are interested in having them. Point is, I thought you might already have known or guessed a lot of this stuff. At any rate, keep blasting away at the American government. Don’t be taken in by a lot of baloney sausage about “rights”. If a Nixon court decided it, you better realize that they, at any rate, have something else in mind.