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  • Norman Young

Racism and Abortion Go Hand in Hand


This was not a good week for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Just yesterday, a yearbook photo emerged of the governor dressed in full KKK regalia posing with his friend who was dressed in blackface. This revelation came out while the governor was already the center controversy for remarks he made in defense of Virginia House Bill 2491, which threatens to legalize abortion up until the moment of delivery. In his comments, Northam seemed to advocate keeping a delivered infant alive and "comfortable" while doctors and mother considered whether to commit infanticide.

These two scandals are not unrelated. Abortion and racism have always been twin branches from the same eugenic root.

The logic of abortion is eugenic. In Northam's own comments, he attempted to justify the stance of Virginia Democrats by pointing out that some unwanted babies might be "severely deformed." Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, made a similar case for the sterilization of the genetically unfit—a position she argued in front of the Ku Klux Klan. Other modern versions of this eugenic logic are used to argue that abortion improves society either by reducing crime or by increasing average intelligence, both of which are not-so-subtle ways of implying that poor people are genetically deficient and shouldn't breed.

The logic of racism is also eugenic. If you scratch the surface of the alt-Right in America or the far-Right in Europe, you will find that these groups are unanimously in favor of eugenics. In fact, ideological racism depends on the view that the genetics of one's own race are superior, or at the very least preferable, to the genes of other races. Thus, it should be no surprise that the regimes in history which focused on their own racial superiority were also known to exterminate their own kind, provided they were disabled, feeble-minded, or otherwise genetically "undesirable."