Pro-life group points out inconvenient history of abortion pill

Pro-life group points out inconvenient history of abortion pill (SHVETS production/Pexels)

Liberty Counsel calls mifepristone a ‘tool of modern-day eugenics’ in Supreme Court brief

(WORLD) The fate of a popular abortion drug hangs in the balance this spring as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a lawsuit brought against the Food and Drug Administration.

To make the case against the abortifacient pill mifepristone, pro-life attorneys are digging deep, down to old Supreme Court opinions and the roots of abortion—which they say are grounded in eugenics.

On Feb. 29, Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit pro-life legal organization, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of The U.S. Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. The case challenges the FDA approval of mifepristone, commonly referred to as RU-486. The brief called mifepristone a “tool of modern-day eugenics” and accused those behind it of trying to eliminate minorities and people with disabilities through chemical abortions. It was filed on behalf of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the Frederick Douglass Foundation, two organizations representing more than 70,000 Hispanic and African American churches.

“Our focus is on the history of this abortion pill, mifepristone, its origins, and its racist and its eugenic history and purpose,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver, one of the authors of the brief. “And it’s still being used this way.”

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Dangerous logic

Eugenics is a belief system that states humans can improve their gene pool by eliminating individuals with certain “undesirable” intellectual, racial, or physical traits. It became popular among scientific and healthcare societies in the early 20th century. The National Human Genome Research Institute defines eugenics as “an inaccurate theory linked to historical and present-day forms of discrimination, racism, ableism, and colonialism.”

Staver says the dangerous logic behind the movement became apparent in the infamous 1926 U.S. Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell. In it, the court had to decide whether the state of Virginia had the right to forcibly sterilize Carrie Bell, an institutionalized young woman with an intellectual disability, according to representatives of the state.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who delivered the opinion of the court, described her as a “feeble-minded white woman” who was the “daughter of a feeble-minded mother in the same institution,” and the mother of “an illegitimate feeble-minded child.”

The court ultimately sided with Virginia, which said that any children Buck could have would be deemed “socially inadequate.”

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote that Buck should be sterilized, arguing that, “it is better for all the world if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”

He added: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Staver said that line of reasoning—that those deemed “socially unfit” should be weeded out—has devastating consequences, with a trail leading straight to the Holocaust. Documents show that, during the Nuremberg trials, Nazi defendants referred to the Buck v. Bell decision to justify their crimes against the Jews.

While the Supreme Court ruling precedes the development of mifepristone by several decades, Liberty Counsel argues that the same reasoning underlies the FDA’s decision to green-light the drug.

Tweet This: Mifepristone is a “tool of modern-day eugenics” according to a brief filed in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine

The Population Council

According to Planned Parenthood, the French pharmaceutical firm Roussell-Uclaf developed mifepristone in 1988, but in 1994, the company donated the U.S. rights to the drug to The Population Council, a New York–based nonprofit that still owns those rights.

On its website, The Population Council’s stated purpose is to promote “an equitable and sustainable future for everyone, everywhere.” It was founded by John D. Rockefeller III in 1952. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the philanthropy fund created in 1940 by the Rockefeller family, says on its website that the organization was created to promote “global population growth, family planning, and the health of developing nations.”

It also says the council was created to address, “the more controversial fields of human fertility and contraceptive research,” through “basic medical research, effective and affordable contraceptives, educational outreach, technical assistance, professional training, and long-term planning studies.”

But Staver argues that in the beginning, The Population Council was not about “global population growth,” but instead wanted to “reduce the human population.”

“These were people who were implementing Charles Darwin’s ideology that there were certain categories of people that were more valuable than others, and there were certain categories of people that were considered ‘human weeds,’” Staver said. “These would be ‘weeds’ of people in the human garden that were polluting the gene pool. Consequently, they wanted to erase them.”

Staver said those The Population Council considered undesirable included black people and other minorities, as well as people with disabilities or low mental acuity. Liberty Counsel also cites ties between Frederick Osborn and Frank Notestein, early presidents of The Population Council, and the American Eugenics Society.

WORLD reached out to The Population Council by phone and email, but to date has not received a response. The organization’s website does not include a “history” page.

Unfit for school, unfit for life?

The Liberty Counsel’s brief argues that The Population Council is still using the logic of eugenics to justify chemical abortions through mifepristone, adding that, “abortion is largely a minority epidemic—and purposefully so.”

The latest data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracking abortion indicates that an outsized portion of abortion recipients are minorities. According to the center’s Abortion Surveillance Report for the year 2021, the rate of abortions among black women was four times that of white women. The rate of abortion among Hispanics was almost double that of whites.

In its amicus brief, Liberty Counsel points to the sworn testimony of Jason Lindo, a Texas A&M University economics professor, which was filed on behalf of the FDA. Lindo argued in favor of the wide availability of mifepristone, saying that children of parents who sought – but were unable to obtain – abortions will face “extensive effects.”

“As a result of the impacts on their parents, these children are expected to do worse in school (lower test scores and increased grade repetition), to have more behavioral and social issues, and ultimately to attain lower levels of completed education,” he stated. “They are also expected to have lower earnings as adults, poorer health, and an increased likelihood of criminal involvement.”

Liberty Counsel posits that Lindo’s argument has echoes of the Buck v. Bell case and is heavily influenced by the ideas of eugenics.

“Lindo strongly suggests that, based on these expectations, abortion is preferable to allowing the child to live,” the brief states. “Put simply, the FDA—a federal agency—submitted a supporting declaration that claims that children should be aborted because they are more likely to be unfit for school, for adulthood, and for society.”

Looking ahead

The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on U.S. Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine no later than the end of June. Its decision could decide whether mifepristone is legal in the U.S.

In a statement issued last year, The Population Council argued against any effort to ban mifepristone as an abortifacient, pointing out that, if successful, it would be the first time any medication was removed from the market over the scientific objections of the FDA.

“The real agenda of the plaintiffs of this lawsuit is to oppose the right to decide whether or not to have an abortion,” the organization wrote in its statement. “The Population Council firmly asserts that safe abortion care is a part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health. Restricting access to safe abortion threatens people’s autonomy, agency, and health.”

But Staver believes it’s a dangerous drug. Not only is it deadly for unborn children, but it also hurts some groups more than others, which he believes was the original intent of the drug’s patent holders.

“The impact it has on children that are of minority or racial status—black or brown, or other, different categories with disabilities like Down syndrome—is devastating.”

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in the March 12, 2024, issue of WORLD Magazine. Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2024 WORLD News Group. All rights reserved. To read more Biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires, call (828) 435-2981 or visit Heartbeat International, which manages Pregnancy Help News, also filed a brief in the case.

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