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They Know Who Their Friends Are

May 22nd, 2019 | 1 min read

By Susannah Black Roberts

In the last couple of weeks, one of the more interesting hypotheses to rear its head on Twitter is that the Alabama and Georgia abortion bans were engineered by white nationalists. Let’s check in:

“The pro-lifers aren’t exactly wrong when they talk about this liberal white nationalism that was at the very origins of Planned Parenthood, with Margaret Sanger… Margaret Sanger was, if you read her writings, clearly motivated not simply by ‘a woman’s choice’ or something like this, the consumerism by which we define abortion now, but she was motivated by social and racial reasons…Margaret Sanger was motivated by eugenic reasoning. She reached out to Madison Grant and company… they were on the same wavelength, and that has been a motivation for family planning, you could say— for the promotion of contraception and ultimately abortion.

“That is at the origins of Planned Parenthood. The religious right is not exactly wrong. So the idea that these ‘white supremacists’ were behind the bill is absurd. The pro-life movement has always struck me as this bizarre left-wing… movement…The major memes among pro-lifers are #blackgenocide, because blacks are really overwhelmingly represented, and whites are underrepresented, among people seeking abortion… Abortions are being done on lower-class women, on black women… Banning abortion in Alabama is not going to increase the white demographic in Alabama— let’s just put it that way… The pro-life movement is not the answer. I’ve seen enough of these people.”

Richard Spencer, explaining why he opposes the Alabama and Georgia bills. May 19, 2019.

Susannah Black Roberts

Susannah Black Roberts is senior editor at Plough. She is a native Manhattanite. She and her husband, the theologian Alastair Roberts, split their time between Manhattan and the West Midlands of the UK.