Appearing throughout the anti-abortion documentary Maafa 21 as an authority on Margaret Sanger and the history of Planned Parenthood is a bald, pink head belonging to one Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics, the company that produced the film. And that's how he is identified in the film—"Mark Crutcher, President of Life Dynamics"—suggesting that being president of the company that produces a documentary is qualification enough to appear as a source in it.
According to Lisa Morris, spokeswoman for the Pro-Life Coalition of East Tennessee, Crutcher's credentials are sound. "He's very solid, very well-respected in the pro-life community and beyond," she says. Asked what she means by "and beyond," Morris says "I mean, he's nationally known." Morris says the information contained in the documentary Crutcher produced is legitimate, too. "There's almost two to three minutes of credits," Morris says. "And [Crutcher] said that it was over a three-year period that all of that was researched. So he's done the research." Yet according to Esther Katz, professor of history at New York University and editor of the Margaret Sanger Papers Project, Crutcher is unknown in academic circles.
"We have control of every document, in the sense that we know what's in it, where it is, how many copies there are and what the context was that Sanger ever wrote," Katz says. "He's never been in touch with me that I know of. So I don't know what research he might have done that would have given him these qualifications. I mean, every other major scholar that has written about Sanger has been in touch with me or one of her biographers or one of the archives, so I know what's out there and who's working on it."
Crutcher's reputation in anti-abortion circles fares far better than his reputation among academics. In 1992, he authored Firestorm: A Guerilla Strategy for Pro-Life America, a guide to setting up barriers to obtaining abortions without actually overturning Roe V. Wade. One method gained national media attention in 1996, when the New York Times and Time ran stories on Crutcher's creation of a network of over 600 lawyers to sue abortion providers for malpractice, the ultimate goal being to drive insurance premiums so high that doctors would be forced out of business.
In more recent years, Crutcher has detailed his thoughts in a blog called "Mark's Blog: Unique Perspectives on the Battle for Life." In a November 2008 entry, just after the election victory of Barack Obama, Crutcher wrote, "Besides being a Marxist, Barak Obama [sic] is the most rabidly pro-abortion, morally defective and completely unqualified person to ever be given the keys to the Oval Office. This man is thoroughly evil and I have little doubt that we are likely entering into the most dangerous period in the history of our country."
His criticism isn't limited to Obama. After the murder of abortion-provider George Tiller by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder, who is now serving a life sentence, Crutcher attacked the media for what he saw as consistent "hyperventilation" and unnecessary coverage of these crimes in the mid-90s: "Compared to the thousands of taxi drivers, convenience store employees, police officers, firefighters, and other workers who were killed during that time, it is obvious that all of this wailing and hand-wringing about violence against abortion providers is complete nonsense."
Crutcher and Life Dynamics are also behind a number of "black genocide"-themed websites, including blackgenocide.com and klannedparenthood.com, which features a cartoon doctor wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood while holding a blood-soaked uterine currette, an instrument an abortion doctor would use. Under the website's heading, it says, "Abortion! Because lynching is for amateurs."
It's difficult to find out more about Crutcher. Asked to comment for this article, he demanded a statement guaranteeing everything he said would be printed in its entirety, "with no editing"—a condition no print journalist can grant an interview subject. When told this wasn't possible, he blamed the reporter for his being unable to participate, and said he would do what he needed to do to protect himself from the "dishonesty, the bias, and the incompetence that dominates the American media today."