Around New England

Abortion Supporter Leaves Pro-Abortion Organization Because It Won’t Reveal Full Extent of Pro-Eugenics Past

October 10, 2021


An 87-year-old abortion supporter in Maine who is an heir to the Proctor & Gamble fortune has resigned from a pro-abortion organization partly because of its unwillingness to acknowledge the pro-eugenics origins of the organization.


Judy Kahrl, of Arrowsic, Maine, resigned from the board of Pathfinder International, which supports abortion and contraception in the United States and around the world, on September 27, as did her brother, Walter Gamble, according to The Portland Press Herald.


The organization, which in 2019 had a budget of $121 million, was founded in 1957 by physician Clarence Gamble (1894-1966), Karhl’s father, who was an admirer of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Dr. Gamble, like Sanger, was also an admirer of eugenics.


Dr. Gamble was a member of the Human Betterment League of North Carolina, which sought to improve the gene pool by forcibly sterilizing poor people with low intelligence quotients, many of them black, as reported by The New York Times in December 2011.


Pathfinder International has acknowledged Clarence Gamble’s interest in eugenics, but according to critics has not made public documents in its archives that describe his activities more fully.


The Portland Press Herald news story, published Sunday, October 10, includes the following two paragraphs concerning the resignations of Kahrl and her brother:


Pathfinder has contested their description of events as “wholly inaccurate and unfounded,” and board chair Roslyn Watson issued a statement Sept. 28 insinuating that Kahrl and Gamble had left because they were opposed to exposing their father’s eugenicist legacy. When pressed in an interview, however, she conceded that the two had wanted greater exposure than the board believed prudent for the organization, whose reproductive rights work faces aggressive opponents at home and in many of the 20 countries it has permanent programs in.

“We do highly controversial work in countries that have strife, our abortion work was targeted by the Trump administration, and this kind of data (from our archives) could be used against our organization in ways that we cannot even imagine if it were freely available to anybody who would want it,” Watson told the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.



Kahrl remains a supporter of abortion, but feels the organization should allow researchers full access to the race-improving ideas that influenced her father to found the organization.


She also has questioned six-figure severance packages issued to employees who have not served the organization for a long time, according to the Portland Press Herald story.


Most of Pathfinder International’s funding comes from the United States Agency for International Development, a federal government agency.


Dr. Clarence Gamble


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