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Recent articles have reported on an unearthed video from 1947 of Margaret Sanger demanding “no more babies” for 10 years in developing countries. A couple of years ago, Margaret Sanger was named one of Time magazine’s “20 Most Influential Americans of All Time.” Given her enduring influence, it’s worth considering what the woman who founded Planned Parenthood contributed to the eugenics movement.
Sanger shaped the eugenics movement in America and beyond in the 1930s and 1940s. Her views and those of her peers in the movement contributed to compulsory sterilization laws in 30 U.S. states that resulted in more than 60,000 sterilizations of vulnerable people, including people she considered “feeble-minded,” “idiots” and “morons.”
She even presented at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1926 in Silver Lake, N.J. She recounted this event in her autobiography: “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … 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,” Page 366). That she generated enthusiasm among some of America’s leading racists says something about the content and tone of her remarks.
In a letter to Clarence Gable in 1939, Sanger wrote: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members” (Margaret Sanger commenting on the ‘Negro Project’ in a letter to Gamble, Dec. 10, 1939).
Her own words and television appearances leave no room for parsing. For example, she wrote many articles about eugenics in the journal she founded in 1917, the Birth Control Review. Her articles included “Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” (June 1920), “The Eugenic Conscience” (February 1921), “The Purpose of Eugenics” (December 1924), “Birth Control and Positive Eugenics” (July 1925) and “Birth Control: The True Eugenics” (August 1928), to name a few.
Much of the controversy stems from a 1939 letter in which Sanger outlined her plan to reach out to black leaders — specifically ministers — to help dispel community suspicions about the family planning clinics she was opening in the South.
“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members,” she wrote. It was, as the Washington Post called it, an “inartfully written” sentence, but one that, in context, describes the sort of preposterous allegations she feared — not her actual mission. The irony is that it has been used to propagate those very allegations. Cruz’s letter to the director of the National Portrait Gallery, for example, quotes only the first half of the sentence.
Sanger’s stated mission was to empower women to make their own reproductive choices. She did focus her efforts on minority communities, because that was where, due to poverty and limited access to health care, women were especially vulnerable to the effects of unplanned pregnancy. As she framed it, birth control was the fundamental women’s rights issue. “Enforced motherhood,” she wrote in 1914, “is the most complete denial of a woman’s right to life and liberty.”
That’s not to say that Sanger didn’t also make some deeply disturbing statements in support of eugenics, the now-discredited movement to improve the overall health and fitness of humankind through selective breeding. She did, and very publicly. In a 1921 article, she wrote that, “the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”
She was, of course, not alone in this viewpoint: In the 1920s and 1930s, eugenics enjoyed widespread support from mainstream doctors, scientists and the general public. Planned Parenthood officials are quick to note that, despite her thoughts on the idea in general, Sanger “uniformly repudiated the racist exploitation of eugenics principles.”
originally posted by: BlueAjah
originally posted by: PrairieShepherd
Honest question here: This may be sheer ignorance, and if so I'll own that, but I'm curious how the federal government ended up funding PP in the first place. Was this some kind of subsidy or something? If a subsidy, was it viewed as somehow necessary for the nation's well-being?
That was the original intention of the founder of Planned Parenthood.
But people keep ignoring that.
originally posted by: intrptr
I remember that women also sought abortions anyway and since doctors who swear a Hippocratic oath refused the 'service', women sought alternative means, sometimes resulting in horror stories about abortions provided by back alley practitioners with coat hangers, resulting in sometimes death from infection, etc.
What I remember anyway. Probably also manufactured for sentimental reasons, in order to start the Eugenics Program.
originally posted by: dantanna
good. i use condoms, it works brilliantly. no stds (zippo, get checked for everything) and no kids. my money is spent on my adventures lol, not some kids. condoms are great, if only women would use condoms instead of abortions for birth control.
originally posted by: Deplorable
I'm looking right now and not finding this story coursing through MSM coverage. I don't get it.