Did Adolf Hitler model his genocidal Holocaust plans after Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's alleged actions?
That's the inflammatory claim made by controversial evangelical leader Pat Robertson on Thursday's episode of Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club" program, which began with a discussion of President Barack Obama's appearance at a Planned Parenthood fundraising event.
Robertson told viewers to "look up" Sanger, the woman who founded women's health provider Planned Parenthood in the first half of the 20th century.
“She was the one who set the stage for Adolf Hitler," Robertson said. "She didn’t copy him, he copied her. Planned Parenthood -- it’s unbelievable how evil they were in the early days.”
Robertson went on to claim that Sanger advocated for eugenics.
“It was strictly genocide if you read what she had to say,” he said.
Sanger's legacy has been complicated by claims -- similar to Robertson's -- that she embraced eugenics and wished to target the black community for abortions.
However, PBS notes that while Sanger may have partially embraced the eugenics movement as a way to legitimize her own birth control efforts, there is no evidence to support the racism claims:
Many historians now believe that Sanger opposed eugenics along racial lines. Furthermore, Sanger opposed the belief of many eugenicists that poverty was hereditary, asserting instead that poverty, criminal behavior and other social problems were due to environmental factors and were not predetermined.
In 2011, PolitiFact looked into Herman Cain's assertion that Sanger's objective "was to put these centers in primarily black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world."
"We found no evidence that Sanger advocated - privately or publicly - for anything even resembling the 'genocide' of blacks, or that she thought blacks are genetically inferior," the site concluded.
FactCheck.org has also debunked the claim.
Robertson is a longtime critic of abortion and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. In 2011, he said Obama was supporting the abortion rights organization and its "culture of death" because he was trying to put straight women on a level playing field -- reproductively speaking -- with lesbian women.
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