Here’s a bit of a history lesson. Planned Parenthood’s initial goal, at least publicly and politically, was to promote birth control. They expressed opposition to abortion until the 1970s, even handing out pamphlets that warned against women attempting to have abortions.
“Is birth control abortion? Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it. Birth control merely post-pones the beginning of life.” (Is Birth Control Abortion, Planned Parenthood pamphlet, Aug. 1963, p.1)
This is extremely important to understand because there’s a perennial disinformation campaign that happens on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day that highlights the fact that Dr. King accepted the Margaret Sanger Award in 1966 from Planned Parenthood. They use this as “evidence” that Dr. King supported their mission, and technically he did. But what they never mention is that the mission he supported was for birth control and not for abortion. In fact, at the time he accepted his award, Planned Parenthood had not performed a single abortion, at least none acknowledged to the public.
Historians believe based on public and private engagements with Dr. King that he was adamantly pro-life but very supportive of birth control. He condemned abortion as genocide against his people in multiple public speeches; African-Americans have always held the lion’s share of abortions even before it was legalized by Roe v. Wade. He felt that birth control was a better solution, preventing the murder of abortion by reducing its predication of conception.
Does this mean Planned Parenthood was pro-life at any point? No. It is widely believed that their objections to abortion were used as political ploys to help them promote their birth control agenda. The very foundation of the organization by Sanger and her cohorts was to legalize birth control in an effort to reduce population growth by African-American. As LifeNews noted in 2011:
Planned Parenthood used Dr. King in order to promote birth-control; a practice he would have vehemently agreed with. But today, pro-Choice advocates use the memory of Dr. King to promote abortion; a practice which he vehemently disagreed with.
“The mass of Negroes, particularly in the South, still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes, even more than among Whites, is from that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.
“The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the Minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” (Black Pro-Lifers March, Protest Racist Nature of Planned Parenthood and Abortion, p.1 online)
Do not let Planned Parenthood tarnish the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by association. He was pro-life and when he accepted their award, they were not committing abortions. He and they promoted birth control at the time, nothing more.