Planned Parenthood is fighting back against a claim by Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain that abortion clinics are put in African American communities as part of a "planned genocide" to kill black babies before they are born.
Cain stood by his statement when questioned about it on Sunday, saying he would direct people to the words of Margaret Sanger, the late founder of Planned Parenthood and a supporter of eugenics.
"Seventy-five percent of those facilities were built in the black community. In Margaret Sanger's own words, she didn't use the word 'genocide,' but she did talk about preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born," Cain told CBS' "Face the Nation."
"It is simply unacceptable for those who oppose legal abortion to use inflammatory and divisive language based on race to push an ideological agenda," Veronica Byrd, director of African American media for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in a statement responding to Cain's remarks.
"Hermain Cain is wrong on the facts and clearly out of the mainstream in his attack on Planned Parenthood," Byrd said.
Byrd also pointed to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization dedicated to sexual and reproductive health, that shows fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.
The Guttmacher Institute said that according to 2008 figures, the most recent data available, 63 percent of abortion clinics -- defined as providers of 400 or more abortions annually -- are located in predominantly white neighborhoods while 12 percent are located in neighborhoods where one-half or more of the residents are Hispanic. Only 9 percent are located in predominantly black neighborhoods while 15 percent are located in mixed racial and communities.
At the same time, however, the institute notes that the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women and for Hispanics, it is double the rate of whites.
Cain, who has propelled to the top of the GOP presidential primary contest, has had to backtrack on recent statements suggesting that he would support abortions for women who are victims of incest and rape.
Speaking to CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Cain said he is "pro-life from conception, period" and does not support abortion for any reason.
He added that many groups besides Planned Parenthood "offer sincere counseling" whereas Planned Parenthood would rather "facilitate" young black women getting abortions.
"What I'm saying is Planned Parenthood isn't sincere about wanting to try to counsel them not to have abortions," he said..
Known as the mother of the birth control movement, Sanger, who died in 1966, founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, long before abortion was legal. It was the predecessor to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Sanger, who is often an object of scorn in the pro-life movement, worked in many black communities and opened the first family planning clinic in Harlem in the 1930s. While having written many articles on the superiority of the white race and eliminating the "unfit," Sanger insisted that her work in the black community was not motivated by a desire to rid society of blacks.
Byrd said today's Planned Parenthood "opposes discrimination in any form" and is "committed to providing every woman who comes through its doors with the full range of high quality health care, regardless of where she lives, her race or ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, or income level," Byrd said.