Let's Digress

Let’s Digress about Following the Science

Since the Covid craze began, a new catchphrase of “follow the science” has emerged from the smartest of all experts.

It’s a pretty simple formula: We commoners should all follow the science. Don’t question things; just do what the experts instruct and follow the science they have laid out for us because they have already asked and answered the pertinent questions, so we don’t need to. And if you want to be a smart person, too, then you should also blindly follow the science.

I started reading a book a few months ago, and from what I’ve read, this idea of experts being so benevolent—without any ulterior motives—and doing all of the hard thinking and questioning so everyone else can just follow the science isn’t actually new at all. It’s been around for at least the past 100 years. It’s been around so heavily that I bet even you, dear fellow commoner reading this article, have heard of an organization that always follows the science: Planned Parenthood. 


The book I’ve been reading is titled Blessed are the Barren by Robert Marshall and Charles Donovan. It was published in 1991, in simpler times when Planned Parenthood wasn’t steeped in so much controversy or polarizing politics. …or was it?  

All quotes and excerpts unless otherwise noted are from this book. Pages referenced: 1-3, 7-19, 48, 52-54, and 218-220.


Some quick background: Margaret Sanger was a vehement racist. She hated minorities. However, she didn’t only dislike black people; she also hated religious folks and people with physical and mental disabilities as well. She often just referred to the entire group collectively as the “unfit” and repeatedly referred to sterilizing them as the “salvation of American civilization.” Interestingly, she never mentioned if it would be voluntary sterilization or not. Some of this history is even mentioned and denounced on Planned Parenthood’s own website, though it is somewhat glossed over. 

Dr. Harry Laughlin was one of her board members. This guy described Slavic and Italian immigrants as “even inferior to our native Negro population not long released from slavery.” He repeatedly spoke of desiring to purify America’s human “breeding stock” and purging America’s “bad strains.” Who all are included? The “shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of antisocial whites of the South,” in addition to minorities, the physically and mentally challenged, and religious folk. 

Dr. Alan Guttmacher held the position of president of Planned Parenthood. He had many problematic ideas—compulsory birth control among them—and advocated that birth control would cure poverty, welfare, and family instability by reducing “welfare rolls and taxes,” i.e., not being born in the first place. His idea of compulsory birth control, compelled by the government, would result in “minority groups who constantly outbreed the majority will no longer persist in doing so…” This sounds vaguely similar to the Netherlands “curing” Down syndrome by aborting all of the babies who were prenatally diagnosed with it. 

Another one of her colleagues was Lothrop Stoddard. He wrote a book titled The Rising Tide of Colored against White Supremacy and described Nazi eugenic policies as “scientific” and “humanitarian.” 

This is quite the checkered, science-following founding of the upstanding organization which they claim to be today. Even with their website denouncing Sanger’s racism, they still have a page listing the Margaret Sanger Award winners from 1966-2015, which is when the organization quietly stopped awarding it for unknown reasons. They describe the award as, “Our highest honor, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Margaret Sanger Award, is presented annually to recognize leadership, excellence, and outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and rights movement.”

If they really opposed Sanger and all of her evil ideologies, why not remove it wholesale? And why still describe the award as a high honor? But I digress. 

It has been long documented that Planned Parenthood intentionally places its clinics in low-income and minority communities. For an interactive map, click here. Sanger and her associates routinely spoke about it in speeches, in company letters, and during the Negro Project. 

In 1939, the organization started an initiative crafted by Dr. Clarence Gamble titled the “Negro Project.” In addition to placing clinics in impoverished, minority, and low-income communities, this initiative would be a traveling roadshow of sorts. Dr. Gamble wrote to Sanger acknowledging that the black community might think it was some sort of “extermination plot,” he suggested that black leaders be placed in positions where it would appear that they were in charge, which had previously been done at birth control conferences in Atlanta. 

The Negro Project, as a traveling birth control roadshow, had a black minister to kick off a revival with “contributions” to come from other local cooperative ministers. Then a black nurse would follow, who would be supported by a black doctor, paid for by the organization. Dr. Gamble also proposed that music would be useful to lure the black community to the meetings. 

Sanger affirmed Dr. Gamble’s proposition, writing that while “colored Negroes” do respect white doctors, more trust would build if they had black physicians. She also wrote that “We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten that idea out if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” 

Fast-forward from 1939 to the 1960s: Over twenty years for the organization to build their brand recognition, legitimacy, governmental credibility, and number of clinics, which are still primarily in low-income and minority communities to this day. 

Between 1965 to 1972, the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau, a scientific organization, had been studying Depo-Provera on some of its clinic patients. The Food and Drug Administration notified the providers that women receiving the contraception should sign an informed consent form because beagle dogs that were given the injection had developed tumors in their breasts, some of which developed into cancer, in addition to the other, more “normal” side effects of the medication. 

Dr. Aquilies J. Sobrero, director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau, objected to having the women sign the informed consent, contending that, 1) The women wouldn’t sign, 2) The women would hate their doctor for wanting to inject them with such a substance in the first place, and 3) If the doctors weren’t able to give those women that contraception, then population growth among that demographic of people wouldn’t be slowed as they had wanted.

There is a long transcript from a Senate Select Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Monopoly meeting from 1970 listed below. It’s an exchange between Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democrat, and Dr. Alan Guttmacher. 

It’s essentially Dr. Guttmacher telling the Senator that American women, particularly the demographic of women Planned Parenthood had been most concerned about (the ones deemed “unfit” and “bad strains”), were too unintelligent to understand how contraception impacts their bodies. Since they were of such lowly of intellect, it was up to the experts, the science-followers, to withhold important information from these women for their own good to prevent them from being intellectually burdened; the women merely needed to follow the science laid out for them by the experts…The same science that was linked to cancer, sterilization, diminished birth numbers, and a largely successful attempt at preventing babies of all stripes from being born throughout the years.


“Following the science” and blindly believing the experts isn’t a new phenomenon at all. It’s packaged differently now, but it isn’t unique to this generation. Generally, if something sounds marginally credible and means less work for us to do and if everyone else is following suit, then most of us will get right in line and go along.

I do wonder what might’ve happened if all of this information we have now would’ve been as widely available back then. 

It could’ve likely been the same outcome. Sanger and her cohorts put out a lot of credible-looking literature, television and magazine ads, scientific studies, and low-cost medical services.

But then again, maybe not. It’s also hard to regain trust in institutions that have participated in and perpetuated significant moral and ethical evils.

Perhaps we should consider what the experts and others have to say, ask them hard questions, then think critically and make the best decisions we can for ourselves and for our families.


Questions, comments, concerns, opinions? Comment below or shoot an email to Adam@LetsDigress.com. And please, be kind and grammatically decent


Transcript from pages 218-220:

The furor surrounding the Pill culminated in a series of congressional hearings held in 1970 by the Senate Select Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Monopoly, chaired by Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democrat. In testimony before the subcommittee, Planned Parenthood president Dr. Alan Guttmacher stated that “the Pill, in my opinion, and that of my colleagues, is an important prophylaxis, perhaps the most important, against one of the gravest socio-medical illnesses extant. That, of course, is unwanted pregnancy.” 

The absurd and nihilistic notion that pregnancy and children are “illnesses” is a central theme of Planned Parenthood. Another is that, from the youngest age, people should be given full “knowledge about their bodies” as well as extensive information about birth control. Planned Parenthood has always charged its opponents with being obscurantist enemies of such information. These themes should be kept in mind during reading of the following excerpts of Guttmacher’s testimony in the Nelson Pill hearings: 

DR. GUTTMCHER: I do not think that you are going to be able to educate the American woman as to what she should or should not do with regard to the Pill. I think you can educate the American doctor. He is educable. …My feeling is that when you attempt to instruct American womanhood in this, which is a pure medical matter which I am afraid she has not the background to understand, you are creating in her simply a panic reaction without much intellectual background. And this is what I think has been unfortunate…

Now you asked me whether special things should be done in, I suppose, packaging and labeling. I have the feeling that most patients do not read what is put into their Pill packages or medicines, and if they do, they have some difficulty with understanding it. 

SENATOR NELSON: What is the possibility of the government which does the studies, licenses the Pills, approves the package insert which goes to the druggist and most of the time does not get to the physician because he does not get the package? The literature that is going out is inaccurate. It is misleading 8,500,000 women in this country, and is has been doing it for ten years.

DR. GUTTMACHER: I think that you probably have no right to impose what should be written in such a pamphlet. But if there were some way of clearing all medical throwaway data with the FDA before publication for their criticism, it might be a very salutary thing. 

SENATOR JAVITS: Would you give us your recommendation as to whether the approval [for the Pill] should be withdrawn?

DR. GUTTMACHER: I am 100 percent certain that approval should not be withdrawn. That requires no thought on my part, sir…. 

Guttmacher later detoured into warnings about the growing populations of places such as Latin America and Pakistan, the prospect that had so terrified Planned Parenthood’s founders. The hearings, Guttmacher said, had created “panic” in such places [not, of course, among the genera populace but in the select, small ranks of “population control” experts, who readily transformed medical science into a platform for social engineering]. Guttmacher reminded Nelson that the senator was himself “among the great protagonists of world population control”. The attempt at flattery missed its mark. 

SENATOR NELSON: There is no use going back to that. It is just a question of whether you believe the people of the United States should have all the facts or whether they should not. In my view, I think they should…. Would you agree with the letter sent out by Dr. Edwards, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, sent about the 18th of January, in which he states, “In most cases a full disclosure of the potential effects of these products would seem advisable, thus permitting the participation of the patient in the assessment of the risk associated with this method”. This letter was sent to 324,000 doctors….Do you agree or disagree?

SENATOR JAVITS: Do you not think the witness ought to see the letter?

DR. GUTTMACHER: I can evaluate that. I have not seen it, but we have discussed it before. I think it places a great burden on the patient. I think it is impractical, sir. I think the physician has to make the decision…

SENATOR NELSON: What do your clinics tell the user of the Pill?

DR. GUTTMACHER: I think I have said in my testimony that I cannot say, because I do not visit the clinics and see them operate….

SENATOR NELSON: I thought you referred, when the literature was handed out….

DR. GUTTMACHER: …this is covered by the literature. I am certain that if a doctor is terribly busy and the patient does not ask questions, he does not pause too long to tell her about the potential dangers….

SENATORY NELSON: You are aware, I assume, that in the surgery done for Newsweek, two-thirds of the women in that survey stated that they were told nothing about side-effects by their doctors?

DR. GUTTMACHER: No. I do not remember that. 

Guttmacher’s view of American women seemed to be that they were generally stupid beings unable to understand what are really quite simple facts about their own bodies. Such was their benighted state, according to Guttmacher, that vital information should be withheld from them, and doctors—primarily men—should continue to make important decisions for them, even though it might be the woman and her offspring who suffered. 

Blessed Are the Barren: The Social Policy of Planned Parenthood by Robert Marshall and Charles Donovan, pages 218-220

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