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Abstract

According to Students for Life of America, the reproductive health non-profit known as Planned Parenthood was founded upon the principles of the Eugenics movement. They also argue that Planned Parenthood is still working toward the goals of that movement today. While Planned Parenthood’s ties to the Eugenics movement are clear, it is not necessarily true that the organization’s workers, volunteers, and officers are toiling to achieve century-old eugenic goals in contemporary society. In fact, this hypothesis ignores a piece of the puzzle that is integral to our understanding of why Planned Parenthood facilities are located where they are: the link between race and poverty, and the underlying causes of that link, including institutional racism. Women of color face unique challenges in the United States. Both pro-life and pro-choice advocates need to look at the broader context of abortion and acknowledge that a woman’s racial and economic identities play a role in the decisions that she makes for herself and for her family. In all areas of society, we must recognize these and other manifestations of institutional racism and actively work to expunge institutional racism from the record of America’s present and future.

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