Planned Parenthood issued a scathing retort on Wednesday (July 8) to what they called outrageous, false claims by Kanye West.
It started with an interview with Forbes magazine in which the rapper discussed his purported plans to run for president. In the piece, West said “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work,” while offering no evidence or facts to back up his claims.
“Black women are free to make our own decisions about our bodies and pregnancies, and want and deserve to have access to the best medical care available,” says Nia Martin-Robinson, director of Black Leadership and Engagement, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement shared with Billboard.
“Any insinuation that abortion is Black genocide is offensive and infantilizing,” Martin-Robinson adds. “The real threat to Black communities’ safety, health, and lives stems from lack of access to quality, affordable health care, police violence and the criminalization of reproductive health care by anti-abortion opposition. At Planned Parenthood, we trust and we stand with Black women who have, and continue to lead the charge when it comes to the health, rights, and bodily autonomy of those in their communities.”
To date, West has claimed he is running for president, but it does not appear he has filed any official paperwork with the Federal Election Commission; a spokesperson for West has not responded to multiple requests from Billboard seeking information about the alleged White House bid and at press time had not responded to the Planned Parenthood statement.
In a follow-up story on Forbes, the magazine noted that West’s unsubstantiated claims are similar to those anti-abortion activists have made for years attempting to link the organization’s work with founder Margaret Sanger’s support for eugenics; Forbes noted that in a letter from 1939 frequently cited by right-wing politicians and abortion foes, Sanger outlined a plan to reach out to black leaders “to help dispel community suspicions about the family planning clinics she was opening in the South.”
Politifact gave the claim that Sanger was a supporter of Black genocide its worst “Pants on Fire” rating, claiming that “supposed evidence that Sanger supported black genocide is a loose collection of her most objectionable statements, her ties to the disgraced eugenics movement, and her work on what was called the Negro Project. That effort, started in 1939, brought birth control services (but not abortion) to black communities in the South.”
Last year, West — whose wife, Kim Kardashian-West visited a PP center to talk to women and dispel the myth that they are “like this abortion clinic,” calling them an “amazing place that provides so much to so many!” — made what PP called a false equivalency between Plan B and abortion in an interview with radio host Big Boy. Additionally, in the Forbes interview the rapper explained, “I am pro-life because I’m following the word of the Bible.”
A 2014 study published by the Guttmacher Institute disputed the claim that most abortion clinics are located in predominantly Black or Hispanic neighborhoods, finding that fewer than 1 in 10 abortion clinics are located in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
West, who so far has not provided any proof that he’s taken concrete steps to launch his alleged campaign, has already missed a number of crucial deadlines to get on the ballot in key states. While he’s dumped his support for Pres. Trump, West has revealed a few facts about his long-shot, third-party campaign: his slogan is “YES!”, he’s running under the “Birthday Party” banner, he just registered to vote for the first time this week after never having voted in any election before, and he’s eager to reinstate prayer in schools, which has been prohibited by a Supreme Court ruling for nearly 60 years.