12 Disturbing Quotes from Margaret Sanger: Planned Parenthood’s Foundress
Margaret Sanger began in 1923 the American Birth Control League. It would go on to become Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Back in March 2014, Nancy Pelosi, a self-professed Catholic, and current Minority Leader in the US House of Representatives, was given the dubious “Margaret Sanger Award.”
So, what did Sanger stand for? To give you an idea, here are 12 quotes:
1) “[Our objective is] unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children… [Women must have the right] to live … to love… to be lazy … to be an unmarried mother … to create… to destroy… The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order… The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
– Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922 (emphasis mine).
2) “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. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976 (emphasis mine).
3) “Today eugenics is suggested by the most diverse minds as the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.
“I think you must agree… that the campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics… Birth control propaganda is thus the entering wedge for the eugenic educator.
“As an advocate of birth control I wish… to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit,’ admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation.
“On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”
– Margaret Sanger. “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda.” Birth Control Review, October 1921, page 5 (emphasis mine).
4) “Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying… demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism…
“[Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste.
“Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant…
“We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”
– Margaret Sanger. The Pivot of Civilization, 1922, pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library edition (emphasis mine).
5) “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
– Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922, page 12 (emphasis mine).
6) “One fundamental fact alone, however, indicates the necessity of Birth Control if eugenics is to accomplish its purpose…
“Before eugenists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for Birth Control. Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods.”
– Margaret Sanger. “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” Feb 1919 (emphasis mine).
7) The government ought to “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.”
And the government should “give certain dysgenic groups (those with ‘bad genes’) in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.”
– Margaret Sanger, “A Plan for Peace.” Birth Control Review, April 1932, pages 107-108 (emphasis mine).
8) “The third group [of society] are those irresponsible and reckless ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers. Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”
– Margaret Sanger. Speech quoted in Birth Control: What It Is, How It Works, What It Will Do. The Proceedings of the First American Birth Control Conference. Held at the Hotel Plaza, New York City, November 11-12, 1921. Published by the Birth Control Review, pages 172 and 174 (emphasis mine).
9) “There is only one reply to a request for a higher birthrate among the intelligent, and that is to ask the government to first take the burden of the insane and feeble-minded from your back. [Mandatory] sterilization for these is the answer.”
– Margaret Sanger, “The Function of Sterilization.” Birth Control Review, October 1926 (emphasis mine).
10) “In passing, we should here recognize the difficulties presented by the idea of ‘fit’ and ‘unfit.’ Who is to decide this question? The grosser, the more obvious, the undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind. But among the writings of the representative Eugenists [sic], one cannot ignore the distinct middle-class bias that prevails.”
– Margaret Sanger, quoted in Charles Valenza. “Was Margaret Sanger a Racist?” Family Planning Perspectives, January-February 1985, page 44 (emphasis mine).
11) Birth control: “To create a race of thoroughbreds.”
– Margaret Sanger, “Unity.” The Birth Control Review, Nov 1921 (emphasis mine).
12) “Birth Control is not merely an individual problem; it is not merely a national question, it concerns the whole wide world, the ultimate destiny of the human race.
“Hordes of people [are] born, who live, yet who have done absolutely nothing to advance the race one iota. Their lives are hopeless repetitions… Such human weeds clog up the path, drain up the energies and the resources of this little earth. We must clear the way for a better world; we must cultivate our garden.”
– Margaret Sanger. Birth Control: Facts and Responsibilities, 1925 (emphasis mine).
Again, Margaret Sanger is the woman Planned Parenthood proudly affiliates with, and calls a “great hero.” In fact, although not mentioning Sanger’s obvious efforts to promote eugenics, Planned Parenthood goes on to state “Sanger’s early efforts remain the hallmark of Planned Parenthood’s mission.”
What comes to mind when you read these quotes?
How do you feel about this woman serving as an inspiration to many?