This July, we will be celebrating the centennial anniversary of London’s First International Eugenics Conference of 1912. One century later, on July 11, 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the largest private foundation in the world) and the British government will co-host a new London conference on eugenics with global coalition partners such as American abortion chain Planned Parenthood, British abortion chain Marie Stopes International, and the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA). The only difference is that the July 2012 London conference will never acknowledge that eugenics is its driving idea. Melinda Gates has claimed that the conference, which is officially dedicated to “deliver[ing] more modern family planning tools to more women in the world’s poorest countries,” should involve “no controversy.”
Eugenicists differed on whether eugenics should be practiced in a soft manner, with taxpayer-underwritten incentives, or in a hard manner, using coercive and often deadly force. The movement claimed many adherents. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and her British counterpart Marie Stopes were both involved in their national eugenic societies. Margaret Sanger viewed her activism as a way to “assist the race towards the elimination of the unfit.” Marie Stopes lobbied for “the sterilization of those totally unfit for parenthood [to be] made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory.”
Unfortunately, the idea lives on. Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, said recently, “Government leaders . . . are now beginning to understand that providing access to contraceptives is a cost-effective way to foster economic growth . . . Governments should provide all women with access to family planning tools that are safe and effective and meet the needs of all women.” This is a succinct summary of soft negative eugenics: for economic reasons governments should use taxpayer dollars to underwrite the decisions of citizens to pursue recreational sexual activity. The underlying economic assumption is that the prospective children of the poor citizens likely to utilize such government-funded programs would be likely to hamper economic growth if they are born.
Hard eugenics is the ideology that dare not speak its name. But soft eugenics is based on the same disturbing belief—that government should spend its resources to prevent the propagation of those whom the government believes to be detrimental to society and economic growth.
And that should be deeply controversial.