For several weeks now I have been puzzling over a Christian woman who not long ago told me, in no uncertain terms, that Margaret Sanger is a “hero” of hers.
The standard, whitewashed story of Margaret Sanger is that she devoted most of her adult life to promoting the legalization of birth control for women.
Okay, so fine and dandy, that is true. Women are now free to use contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
The problem is that the motivations behind Sanger’s obsession with birth control were not quite as straightforward as they seem to appear.
In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League (ABCL). (Eventually, in 1942, this is the organization that became known as Planned Parenthood.)
In her book, “The Pivot of Civilization,” Margaret Sanger herself listed the goals of the ABCL:
(1) “Research: To collect the findings of scientists, concerning the relation of reckless breeding to the evils of delinquency, defect and dependence;
(2) “Investigation: To derive from these scientifically ascertained facts and figures, conclusions which may aid all public health and social agencies in the study of problems of maternal and infant mortality, child-labor, mental and physical defects and delinquence in relation to the practice of reckless parentage.
(3) “Hygienic and Physiological: Instruction by the Medical profession to mothers and potential mothers in harmless and reliable methods of Birth Control in answer to their requests for such knowledge.
(4) “Sterilization of the insane and mentally retarded and the encouragement of this operation upon those afflicted with inherited or transmissible diseases, with the understanding that sterilization does not deprive the individual of his or her sex expression, but merely renders him incapable of producing children.
(5) “Education: The program of education includes: The enlightenment of the public at large, mainly through the education of leaders of thought and opinion–teachers, ministers, editors and writers to the moral and scientific soundness of the principles of Birth Control and the imperative necessity of its adoption as the basis of national and racial progress.
(6) “Political and Legislative: To enlist the support and cooperation of legal advisers, statesmen and legislators in effecting the removal of state and federal statutes which encourage dysgenic breeding, increase the sum total of disease, misery and poverty and prevent the establishment of a policy of national health and strength.
(7) “Organization: To send into the various States of the Union field workers to enlist the support and arouse the interest of the masses, to the importance of Birth Control so that laws may be changed and the establishment of clinics made possible in every State.
(8) “International: This department aims to cooperate with similar organizations in other countries to study Birth Control in its relations to the world population problem, food supplies, national and racial conflicts, and to urge all international bodies organized to promote world peace, the consideration of these aspects of international amity.”
Most of the above probably seems rather dull reading…kind of like looking over a business plan or some other such boring document.
But a read-between-the-lines of some of the stated goals reveals a darker side to Sanger’s beliefs.
First of all, Margaret Sanger was very much a believer in and a supporter of the field of eugenics.
The dictionary definition of eugenics is:
“Science concerned with improving the genetic traits of the human race.”
The word itself derives from the Greek word “eu” meaning good or well and from the suffix “genes” meaning born.
Put ’em together and you have “born well or good.” And, according to eugenics, to be “born well” would mean that a baby is free from all genetic, racial, psychological, physical and mental “imperfections.”
Of course, who gets to decide who is “perfect” or “fit to be born” is rather an explosive minefield of unethical determination.
So if we take another peek at Sanger’s goals for the ABCL, we can see that the Research, Investigation and Instruction (1, 2 and 3) that she encouraged was in part meant to result in (4) the “sterilization of the insane and mentally retarded and the encouragement of this operation upon those afflicted with inherited or transmissible diseases, with the understanding that sterilization does not deprive the individual of his or her sex expression, but merely renders him incapable of producing children.”
And this was to be accomplished by goals (5), (6), (7) and (8).
Eugenics was extremely popular in the United States during the first half of the 20th century. Yep, believe it or not, between 1907 and 1963, more than 64,000 individuals (many of them deemed “imbeciles” or of inferior race and/or intelligence) were FORCIBLY sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States.
President Theodore Roosevelt was a supporter of eugenics, as was the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council and…Margaret Sanger.
(Think about it…”Planned” Parenthood….)
Nazi Germany, of course, takes first prize for organized eugenics. In the hopes of creating a pure German race using what was known as “racial hygiene,” the Nazis forcibly sterilized hundreds of thousands of “mentally and physically unfit” individuals during the 1930s and 1940s.
And…forced sterilization did not end in the United States until 1981.
[By the way, another method of supporting eugenics in the US was the creation of state laws that prohibited inter-racial marriage. But that’s a whole other story….]
Okay, so what does all of this history have to do with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America today?
There are some who would say that Margaret Sanger’s support for eugenic perfection in the human race is still being advanced, albeit in a stealthier way.
“Genetic Engineering” is one example.
Another is ultrasound scans for pregnant women.
Of course, ultrasounds are used to confirm pregnancies, but they are also employed to test for “fetal malformation.”
In America, more than 80% (80 PERCENT) of babies who are prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted.
And that is for just ONE category of “fetal malformation.”
According to the American Association of People with Disabilities, “disability is a natural part of the human experience.”
But “Eugenics By Abortion” denies life to children who have a right to live just as much as any so-called “normal” child.
And where do women get these often unethical abortions (and the counseling that helps them decide to abort)?
Nearly 300,000 abortions per year are performed at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
In 2007, then Governor Sarah Palin chose to carry and give birth to her baby Trig who has Down Syndrome. “Progressives” tastelessly ridiculed her and made fun of her child.
Personally, I don’t understand how anyone could be so cruel as to demean a mother and child in such a way. But these are probably the same folks who consider Margaret Sanger to be a “hero.”
And Margaret Sanger herself would probably not have approved of the birth of a genetically “imperfect” child.
©July 2011 by Phyllis J. Hanniver