Fifty years ago, the findings of “The Rockefeller Commission Report on Population Growth and the American Future” was published. One year later, it got what it wanted when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion. It is important to understand the role of the ruling class in making Roe v. Wade possible.
The process began on July 18, 1969 when President Richard Nixon established a body to examine the effects of population growth on America’s future. On March 27, 1972, John D. Rockefeller 3rd, chairman of the Commission, transmitted the Final Report to the president and the Congress.
The plea to legalize abortion was a foregone conclusion: the commission was stacked with pro-abortion members. In 1967, the chairman, John D. Rockefeller 3rd, was the recipient of Planned Parenthood’s highest honor when he accepted the Margaret Sanger Award; the award was named after the white supremacist founder of Planned Parenthood.
John D. Rockefeller 3rd followed in the footsteps of John D. Rockefeller Jr. “Junior,” as he was called, provided funding for eugenics, giving money to the Germans. Some of it was put to use by the Nazis.
The Commission staff was headed by Dr. Charles F. Westoff. He was a member of the American Eugenics Society and Planned Parenthood’s National Advisory Council. One of the Commission’s Special Consultants was Daniel Callahan, a pro-abortion eugenicist who tried desperately to convince Catholics of the merits of abortion and eugenics. When he failed he quit the Church.
In chapter 11, titled “Human Reproduction,” the Final Report did not hide the pro-abortion sentiments of the Commission. “A few of the members of the Commission are opposed to abortion.” It also said “the majority” are not.
The number-one population problem in the early 1970s, the Commission said, was “unwanted births.” It admitted that only “one percent of first births were never wanted.” So where’s the problem? It found that “nearly two-thirds of all sixth or higher order births” were unwanted. That sounds plausible but that hardly constitutes a crisis. How many women, even back then, had six or more kids?
It has been historically true that those who can least afford to have children tend to have the most, and vice versa. So it made sense that the Commission would find that “Unwanted fertility is highest among those whose levels of education and income are lowest.” This, they said, leads to psychological, economic and health problems. “The Commission believes that all Americans, regardless of age, marital status, or income, should be enabled to avoid unwanted births.”
The solution to this alleged problem was to (a) allow minors to receive contraception information and services (b) eliminate restrictions on sterilization and (c) liberalize abortion laws on the state level. Regarding the latter, much of its reasoning was based on faulty information.
The Commission maintained that there were between “200,000 and 1,200,000 illegal abortions per year in the United States.” In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 1972, “130,000 women obtained illegal or self-induced procedures, 39 of whom died.” In other words, the Commission’s estimates were way off base, and so were the horror stories about all the women who died in “back-alley” abortions.
The Commission was also wrong when it contended that “with the increasing availability of contraceptives and improvements in contraceptive technology, the need for abortion will diminish.” We now know that following Roe v. Wade both contraceptive use and abortion rates increased dramatically.
If there is one demographic segment of the population that the Rockefeller Commission believed was a problem, it was African Americans.
The Report said that “if blacks could have the number of children they want and no more, their fertility and that of the majority white population would be very similar.” The goal could not be more plain: get blacks to stop reproducing. What they need, the Report said, was greater access to “the various means of fertility control.”
Some of the Commission members cited Planned Parenthood’s efforts to meet this goal. Mission accomplished: It was reported in 2020 that Planned Parenthood locates 86% of its abortion clinics in or near minority neighborhoods. Though blacks are 13% of the population, they account for one-third of all abortions.
At one point in the Final Report it says, “We share with our fellow citizens an abiding concern for the sanctity of all human life,” and therefore “we appreciate the moral decisions involved in abortion.” It hastened to add that it shares “a deep commitment to individual freedom and social justice,” making clear that this issue was paramount.
The Commission obviously did not have “an abiding concern for the sanctity of all human life,” for if it did it would not argue for the legalization of abortion. It should be noted that in 1963, Planned Parenthood actually admitted that “An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun.”
Abortion has always been one of the ruling class’ preferred methods of solving “the urban problem.” The Rockefellers epitomized this WASP solution. It teed up Roe v. Wade 50 years ago, making it easier for Supreme Court Justices to rationalize its abortion-on-demand ruling.