Margaret Sanger has been lauded by some as a woman of valor, but a closer look reveals that Planned Parenthood’s audacious founder had some unsavory things to say about matters of race, birth control, and abortion. An outspoken eugenicist herself, Sanger consistently promoted racist ideals with a contemptuous attitude. Read on to learn why Planned Parenthood hides behind a false memory of Sanger, and why, despite her extraordinarily prolific writing career, one rarely sees her quoted by Planned Parenthood leaders and apologists.
The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.
Woman and the New Race, ch. 6: “The Wickedness of Creating Large Families.” Here, Sanger argues that, because the conditions of large families tend to involve poverty and illness, it is better for everyone involved if a child’s life is snuffed out before he or she has a chance to pose difficulties to its family.
[We should] 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.
“Plan for Peace” from Birth Control Review (April 1932, pp. 107-108)
Article 1. The purpose of the American Baby Code shall be to provide for a better distribution of babies… and to protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.
Article 4. 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…
Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.
Give dysgenic groups [people with “bad genes”] in our population their choice of segregation or [compulsory] sterilization.
April 1932 Birth Control Review, pg. 108
Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.
We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the 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’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’sWoman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.
A woman’s duty: To look the whole world in the face with a go-to-hell look in the eyes… to speak and act in defiance of convention.
[The most penetrating thinkers] are coming to see that a qualitative factor as opposed to a quantitative one is of primary importance in dealing with the great masses of humanity.
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Pivot of Civilization, 1922. Here, Margaret Sanger speaks on her eugenic philosophy – that only the types of “quality” people she and her peers viewed as worthy of life should be allowed to live.
Such parents swell the pathetic ranks of the unemployed. 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.
The Need for Birth Control in America (quoted by Angela Franks.)
Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most. The average working man can support no more and and the average working woman can take care of no more in decent fashion.