A special irony in this misappropriation of Dr. King's legacy is that the founder of what has become Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a staunch advocate of enforced sterilization and abortion for blacks and minorities. As she said, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population ... if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." (Read this florilegium by Diane S. Dew for more juicy quotations by Sanger.) Also, this essay by Tanya Green aptly situates Sanger's misanthropic elitism in the larger ideological background of eugenics. Not that the saga has ended, for abortion is still a disproportionate (sadly self-inflicted) scourge on black communities, as Fr. Mark Tardiff notes in his letter to the editor (Asia News, 8 Nov. 2008):
Afro Americans are disproportionately targeted in abortion. Blacks make up 12% of the U.S. population, but 35% of all abortions are performed on black women. Afro Americans are the only minority in the U.S. which is declining in population. Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the U.S. has 78% of all their clinics in minority neighborhoods. This distribution is consistent with the thinking of its founder Margaret Sander, an enthusiastic eugenicist, who wrote that "colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated." ... It is beyond tragic that the first Afro American elected as President of the United States is a man that Margaret Sanger would have approved of, rather than one that Martin Luther King would have approved of.