As one will read in the below article, I have no respect for Margaret Sanger. I also despise Planned Parenthood as a scum-of-the-earth organization for their illegally selling human body parts, valuing money above humanity, dignity and decency.
Yet, these sentiments do not mean I am against women’s rights to reproductive health. To be clear about my stances, I provide them here:
• I 100% affirm sex education should be taught as age-appropriate material, alongside the values of selfless love and keeping commitments, especially the relational kind. To be plain, don’t have sex, unless you can responsibly provide for all the potential results of it (positive or negative) and unless you have a demonstrably equally committed and selflessly loving partner, who is willing and able to do the same. No reasonable person views abortion as a matter of convenience! When abortion is treated as such, it is indeed murderous (a premeditated elimination of the natural course of life due to selfish motivation/intent).
• I 100% affirm the use of contraceptives. However, just as sex education should be taught at age-appropriate timing & alongside the value of selfless love and keeping commitment, contraceptives should not be abused as a means for “protection” or “safe sex,” in the cases of promiscuity, philandering and hookup culture. Contraceptives are most ideally used for family planning and for health within the context of fully committed relationship.
•I am “Graded Pro-life,” regarding abortion. According to a Christian approach of ethics, called graded absolutism or contextual absolutism, it is sometimes necessary to choose a greater good in the face of a dilemma of evils. In the case of abortion, one who is “graded pro-life” will affirm abortion, only when that abortion is performed in the context of the very rare case of endangerment of a mother’s life and/or prolonging the suffering of a fetus or mother in terminal diagnosis cases, which can occur from conception by crime (ex. incest, rape, child prostitution). In these situations, the choice to abort is a merciful one and best determined by the woman at the consultation of her doctor(s) and should be considered an event as natural as biological abortion. An abortion no later than 3 weeks from conception is highly preferred for its ease on the female and the state of fetus development.
• Aborted fetuses do not go to “Hell,” as erroneous theologies like ridiculous Calvinism, or broader Augustinian Original Sin, may assert.
• I reject and strongly denounce abortion in cases of fetal non-terminal, congenital disease or deformity (ex. Down’s Syndrome). However, I affirm the use of all kinds of medical treatment, surgery and the potential of gene therapy to remedy these maladies in individual persons and not on the germ line, embryonic level.
• I 100% affirm domestic (same country/culture) adoption, which is not a money racket or legalized human trafficking.
• I reject and denounce a death penalty for any crime, should abortion be considered a crime, in accordance to a consistently pro-life and non-violence ethics. I likewise denounce and reject political lobbying and the creation of religious super-pacts by “the Church,” in order to force disbelieving society into norms meant only for believers (those identifying as “in Christ”).
These stances having been declared for transparency, …
Evidence of Sanger’s Extreme Eugenics & Population Control
Organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease… — Sanger, Margaret (1922). The Pivot of Civilization.
I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world, that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically… Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin—that people can—can commit. — Interview with journalist Mike Wallace, 1957
Notice Sanger indicates she believed some are born and “just marked when they’re born” for delinquency and prison. Who does this predetermination at birth? The parents? Or Sanger and the justice system?
[aside: In the same interview (full version seen HERE, Sanger makes sure to mention intelligence twice as a qualification for parent choice (11:05 — 12:00). If a couple is intelligent, they may choose.]
By this, Sanger reveals her impetus for eugenics. She wants to eliminate babies born with diseases and disorders, yet (in her time) there was no way of predicting disease or deformation in an infant. The state of an infant’s health at birth could not be predicted in her day; and only recently geneticists have gained the ability to read an individual genome. Healthy parents produce ill and/or malformed babies all the time. Sanger leaves only one option open for herself regarding children born with maladies. She wishes they would not be born. This is contempt for life; and in this case, Sanger’s aim was not “birth control,” but “disease/disorder prevention”—a desire to eliminate the reality of congenital sickness/illness.
Segregate and Sterilize
Sanger openly admits she wishes to segregate and sterilize entire sectors of the population, based on her own standards of “objectionable” traits.
Apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.— Sanger, Margaret. “My Way to Peace,” Jan. 17, 1932. Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of Congress 130:198. https://www.nyu.edu/projects/s…
Imagine people being rounded up and labeled as “tainted” and “objectionable.” Then imagine them indefinitely being put into camps and forced to be sterilized. That is Sanger’s idea of eugenics…. Birth control was her means of sterilizing the part of the population she felt to be tainted and objectionable and unfit.
Eugenics without birth control seems to us a house builded [sic] upon the sands. It is at the mercy of the rising stream of the unfit.— Sanger, Margaret. (1919) Birth Control and Racial Betterment. The Birth Control Review.
Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives… If we are to make racial progress, this development of womanhood must precede motherhood in every individual woman. — “Woman and the New Race,” 1920
Sanger determines who is unfit or “defective” by what criteria? What constitutes a “defective human?” What is meant by “fit?” If she means “fit” in the evolutionary biology sense, i.e. “survival of the fittest,” then again, how does Sanger—or anyone—arrive at standards for the evolutionary biological fitness of humans, not just of a baby but (more importantly) of the parents? We know from other quotes that biological fitness is not all Sanger measured in her opinions. She also spoke often of intelligence (as opposed to “mentally defective” and/or “feeble-mindedness” and “qualification”) as a requisite for becoming—believe it or not—a permitted or “licensed” parent.
No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit for parenthood.— Margaret Sanger, “America Needs a Code for Babies,” Article 4, March 27, 1934.
Permits for parenthood shall be issued upon application by city, county, or state authorities to married couples, providing they are financially able to support the expected child, have the qualifications needed for proper rearing of the child, have no transmissible diseases, and, on the woman’s part, no medical indication that maternity is likely to result in death or permanent injury to health.
— Margaret Sanger, “America Needs a Code for Babies,” Article 5, March 27, 1934. (Underline mine)
No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth…— Margaret Sanger, “America Needs a Code for Babies,” Article 6, March 27, 1934.
The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.— Sanger, Margaret. (1921) The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda, Birth Control Review, p. 5 (bold mine) https://www.nyu.edu/projects/s…
Feeble-mindedness perpetuates itself from the ranks of those who are blandly indifferent to their racial responsibilities. And it is largely this type of humanity we are now drawing upon to populate our world for the generations to come. In this orgy of multiplying and replenishing the earth, this type is pari passu multiplying and perpetuating those direst evils in which we must, if civilization is to survive, extirpate by the very roots.
— Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization, 1922 https://www.scribd.com/documen…
Again, by what standards did Sanger use for determining who is “mentally defective?” The poor & uneducated?
Class Bias and “Intelligence” Prejudice
What we do know for certain, by her own admission, is Sanger had deep class bias against “the working class,” a.k.a. the poor and the lower middle class, which (at the time) would have been all but affluent whites!
All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class… Knowledge of birth control is essentially moral. Its general, though prudent, practice must lead to a higher individuality and ultimately to a cleaner race.
— Margaret Sanger, “Morality and Birth Control,” Feb-Mar 1918.
All of our problems, Margaret? All of them are from “overbreeding” among the working class? A “cleaner” race? Tell us, Margaret, what makes the human race or a specific race of humanity dirty?
And so, Margaret Sanger began the Negro Project to reduce “defective” or “unqualified” or “unfit” births among that specific population.
Arguments persist about whether or not the Negro Project was purely a racist endeavor (search for “Sanger” “Negro Project” and “racism” on the Internet and be prepared for the onslaught). Certainly the patriarchal racism of the time that guided many of the social policies in Washington and the practices of philanthropic and charitable organizations working to “lift up” African-Americans, dictated both the Federation’s and Sanger’s approach to blacks and birth control. The public rationale for the Project was rooted in economics, tax-payer burden, and the social threats posed by what was perceived to be an exploding black underclass, rather than the health and sexual liberation of black women (though it should be noted that the birth control movement largely ignored the issue of women’s —black or white— sexual autonomy in the interwar years). And there is no doubt that a good number of medical professionals involved in the birth control movement exhibited strong racist sentiments, some of them arguing for and even carrying out compulsory sterilization on black women considered to be of low intelligence and therefore not capable of choosing not to control their fertility, as well as on those deemed morally or behaviorally deviant. But there is no evidence that Sanger or even the Federation coerced or intended to coerce black women into using birth control. The fundamental belief, underscored at every meeting, mentioned in much of the behind-the-scenes correspondence, and evident in all the printed material put out by the Division of Negro Service, was that uncontrolled fertility presented the greatest burden to the poor, and Southern blacks were among the poorest Americans. In fact, the Negro Project did not differ very much from the earlier birth control campaigns in the rural South designed to test simpler methods on poor, uneducated and mostly white agricultural communities. Following these other efforts in the South, it would have been more racist, in Sanger’s mind, to ignore African-Americans in the South than to fail at trying to raise the health and economic standards of their communities. (https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/articles/bc_or_race_control.php; underline and bold mine)
Instead of “uncontrolled fertility,” education (academic and skilled trades), equal opportunity to work, and a fair wage were the answer in Sanger’s day, just as it is today… not race and class specific population control!
Was Sanger racist against the less educated African Americans and poor, immigrant races? It is hard to say, but (below) compare these two sets of quotes, one set blaming white supremacy, and the last set revealing her speaking to KKK women and relishing the opportunity “similar groups.” The two sets of quotes are—to me—revelation of Sanger’s contradiction in actions and words.
“What hangs over the South is that the Negro has been in servitude. The white southerner is slow to forget this. His attitude is the archaic in this age. Supremacist thinking belongs in the museum.”
“The big answer, as I see it, is the education of the white man. The white man is the problem. It is the same as with the Nazis. We must change the white attitudes. That is where it lies.”
[COMPARED TO THIS:]
I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan… I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak…In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.— Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography, published in 1938, p. 366