One birth many deaths

Today is the sad and tragic anniversary of the birth of the famed feminist, eugenicist, baby killer, and founder of planned parenthood, Margaret Sanger.  Today as a tribute to this terrible person I will be copying an essay that I wrote  for my college writing class.  As you are reading this say a prayer for the  millions of babies that have been slaughtered thanks to her influence.

Ever since its inception in 1973 Roe vs. Wade has brought the abortion issue into the periphery of our country’s national consciousness.   Many legislative, political, and religious battles have been fought by both sides, those supporting a women’s right to choose and those supporting the “rights of the unborn” Throughout the years in the court of popular opinion both sides have claimed compelling victories. Politicians and leaders have staked their careers on this issue.  In short abortion has become the central human rights issue in our society today.  From the beginning of Roe vs. Wade, Planned Parenthood has been at the forefront of this abortion debate. Margaret Sanger its founder was a pioneer in seeking effective, cheap, and accessible contraceptives to women.  But hidden from the eye of the public is the dark past that surrounds Sanger and Planned Parenthood.  Margaret Sanger was a fervent advocate of the Eugenics theories of the 1920’s which included programs for the forced sterilizations of certain races and peoples. Despite these inherent contradictions Sanger is still honored by our society (Smithsonian exhibit, Planned Parenthood, and our school library) and his regarded as a pioneer for women’s rights. Planned Parenthood and our society need to cease honoring this controversial figure because of her support of Eugenics.
                According to Sanger biographer Emily Taft Douglas, Sanger’s initial motives for birth control were shaped mostly through the traumatic ordeal of her mother’s death. Sanger blamed her mother’s death on her multiple pregnancies.  Sanger decided through this pivotal event that she wanted to pursue a career in nursing.    This decision would have serious consequences in her relentless pursuit for birth control.  Later in her training as a nurse she was moved by the experiences of the poor women who frequented the clinic where she worked located in the lower east side of New York.  She vigorously opposed the Comstock Laws of 1873 which prohibited the public speaking of contraceptives.  Under this law a doctor or anyone in support of contraceptives could lose their licenses or even go to jail.  In 1921 in order to further her birth control agenda Margaret Sanger created the American Birth Control League as a way of fighting the restrictions of birth control that were enforced through the Comstock Laws.  The American Birth Control League would eventually become Planned Parenthood.
                However the history of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood is laden with deep and profound contradictions; Sanger through her support of birth control and eugenics was concealing her hidden agenda of forced sterilization and eventual elimination of certain, weaker races. The Eugenics movement was a population control movement that reached its apex in the 1920’s. Eugenics was based mainly on the scientific theories of Sir Francis Galton. Believers of this theory sought to implement Galton’s philosophies through the quarantining and forced sterilizations of so called, “weaker races”.  (Columbia University) The theory was so widespread in the 1920’s that Nazi Germany began implementing these theories which would eventually be catastrophically implemented on a grand scale during the holocaust.  Margaret Sanger was also a passionate supporter of these theories as she unabashedly states in an article titled, A Plan for Peace from the Birth Control Review in 1932,
                “…to apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.” (Sanger 107)
                In other words Sanger is stating that certain races should be quarantined or sterilized in order to protect the hereditary health of the general population. The greater question here what if our country would adopt Sanger’s philosophy on population control would this have solved all of the physical weaknesses of our entire population?  In our current existence there is no logical explanation for the nature of disease.  Scientific history has proven instead that each time a cure or solution is found for an existing disease another disease seems to take its place.  The nature of the life cycle and disease is a mysterious one that can never totally be understood .  Eliminating certain races is never a viable solution.
                Besides Margaret Sanger’s support of eugenics Sanger makes clear her racist intentions in numerous publications of her magazine titled, The Birth Control Review.  For instance in an article from the magazine in 1932 Sanger speaks about the problem of Negro overpopulation as she states,
                “The negro problem is one of the most complicated and important confronting America…The present submerged condition of the Negro is due in large part to the high fertility of the race under disastrously adverse circumstances.”  (Sanger 6)
                In other words Sanger was blaming the blacks for the problem of overpopulation and because of this problem she wanted to find a way to control their population.  Why would Sanger then open up numerous clinics in poorer areas under the auspices of helping poorer women gain access to affordable birth control?  If one takes her words and eugenics support seriously then one can logically deduce than that Sanger’s aim was not to help African American women through the opening of these clinics; her aim instead was for the successful implementation of eugenics.  
                Furthermore in one of Margaret Sanger’s most controversial moves she allowed the developer of the Nazi racial hygienic program Dr. Ernst Rudin the opportunity to contribute an article to her magazine.  In the article Dr. Rudin speaks about specific strategies about eugenics implementation as he states,
                “My experience has led me to the conclusion that systematic and careful propaganda should be undertaken where sterilization is advisable. Such propaganda should, of course, be gradual and should be directed in the first instance at the medical directors in institutions and schools, medical officers of health, and finally at private practitioners.”  (Rudin 102-103)
                Here  Dr. Rudin is outlining a specific strategy of the forced implementation of Eugenics in the public.  What makes these comments so malevolent is the fact that Dr. Rudin was well regarded by the Nazis and he even received numerous awards for his “racial hygiene” programs.  The Nazi’s also used Dr. Rudin’s theories on concentration camp victims in experiments in sterilization.  The larger issue here is how Planned Parenthood can allow such an avowed racist to contribute to her paper.  This forces one to conclude that at best Sanger was misguided, or at worst indirectly complicit or supportive of the Nazi sterilization programs.
                If someone today were to state that they  want to sterilize a population we would accurately label that person as a racist. So why in today’s age is Margaret Sanger so vigorously defended and lauded in our campuses? (there is a poster of her located in the periodical room in the library and the Smithsonian)  There seems to be a double standard in our society of ignoring the totality of a person’s life. If we apply this selective tendency then why don’t we honor Adolf Hitler for greatly improving the German economy?  Or perhaps honor Joseph Stalin for his contributions for ending World War II?  These figures are correctly villianized in the courts of history for their whole sale slaughter of millions.  But what about Margaret Sanger?  It is true that she did not directly slaughter or kill individuals.  However the greater question here lies not in the scope of her work, but rather in her intentions. If one is to take her words seriously the world would be a much more different place. What if Sanger had the same power and platform as a Hitler or Stalin? What would happen to all of the people that she deemed  “not fit”?   Our society has a dangerous tendency in selectively compartmentalizing the separate factions of an individual at the expense of the integration of the total person.
 If the desire to sterilize or eradicate a race of people is a laudable endeavor, then Margaret Sanger deserves every place of honor in our libraries, textbooks, or even in our coveted museums. But if the attempt to wipe out a race of people is a despicable notion, then Margaret Sanger’s ubiquitous presence in these honored places is a disgrace.


  1. There is a powerful film which researched Margaret Sanger, her associates, and Planned Parenthood called- Maafa21. The documentary, Maafa21 is shocking and worthy of your time. It is 2.5 hours of gut wrenching soundbites of racist rants from these so-called purveyors of "freedom and choice". I urge you to get a copy of this powerful DVD- watch the trailer here


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