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Margaret Sanger

Abortion & Life by Jennifer Baumgardner Selected Quotes Photographs by Tara Todras-Whitehill

September 6, 2010 | By | No Comments

I had an abortion.


Abortion & Life

Jennifer Baumgardner, pregnant on Left

Gillian Aldrich, producer/creator of I Had an Abortion

“By creating a T-shirt so many would see as offensive, the pro-choice movement has intentionally sought to outrage the Christian Right.” p. 174.*

Front: I had an abortion.

Abortion & Life by Jennifer Baumgardner, a pro-abortion feminist, was written in 2008 and published by Akashic Books.

The book begins with a pull quote from Loretta Ross,

The defensiveness that the pro-choice movement has is well-earned. We’ve been shot at, picketed, fought every step. But I’m very glad that the conversation is changing.

Image and imaging are important. The coat hanger “doesn’t evoke memories of barriers that women faced.” P. 10

The book is presented as an even handed “conversation” but devolved by page 10 to ad hominem argument, of, “The fleshy pink faces of Senator Jesse Helms and Representative Henry Hyde…”

The “current symbol of reproductive freedom…?” Could be, “Angels’ wings, to indicate the thousands of women who have abortions and yet believe that a fetus has a soul and is watching over them?” p. 10. Baumgardner is suggesting that the unborn baby might be an eternal being ushered from this world into the next by the “choice” of the mother. This fits with Candace C. Crandall‘s assertion that “The Fetus, Beat Us,”* where pro-aborts had to deal with the pain and loss of the “baby.” This is, of course, merely a tactic to remove or deflect the ‘harm to women’ argument advanced by the pro-lifers.

The author lists “after-abortion counseling groups like Backline and Exhale…the zine Our Truths/Nuestra Verdades to the films Silent Choices and The Abortion Diaries?” p. 11. Baumgardner could have added Racheal’s Vineyard and Silent No More to pro-life counseling services of women who suffer from the trauma of abortion.

“I’ve visited abortion clinics around the country and observed what happens to the remains of eight-week, twelve-week, and fourteen-week aborted fetuses.” P. 12 Baumgardner is silent as to what was seen. Were the remains stuffed down a garbage disposal? Treated as medical waste? Or given a decent burial?

Baumgardner asks herself, “How do women experience abortion?…Why aren’t there more after-abortion resources? And: If you admit you are sad about your abortion, does that mean abortion is wrong?” p. 13. The author asks but does not fully answer the question: If a women feels remorse after an abortion, is it possible the woman now understands that there was a living baby involved? And that the mother regrets her abortion? Polling suggests that women are concerned. Rasmussen reports that 58 per cent of women feel abortion is immoral.

“The number [of abortions] has gone down slightly in recent years…possibly linked to the virginity-abstinence movement…Lack of access and affordability have also been factors.” p. 19. This is confirmed by academic research. Abortion has an elastic demand, where the demand for a product or service is directly tied to a variable: price, 24-hour waiting periods, proximity, viewing a sonogram. (See Michael New, 2010.)

“Although it’s shortsighted, when faced with a slim deadline to raise money and make this decision, some women simply miss the window in which they can have an abortion. P. Baumgardner’s wording is misleading. A woman in the USA can have an abortion at any time even when she goes into labor. She can have an abortion with her child’s feet out of her body with only her child’s head not visible; the child can still be “terminated.” P. 19.

“Abortion is the U.S. is safe. The death rate at all stages is 0.6 per 100,000 abortions…and [is] nearly ten times as safe as carrying a pregnancy to full term.” p. 20.

“Sherri Finkbine, a young mother and television star…host of Romper Room…wanted to warn other women about the dangers of thalidomide to their pregnancies…Finkbine [traveled] to Sweden for her [abortion] procedure. P. 23 Baumgardner is silent on whether the drug thalidomide was a greater danger to pregnancy [re: baby] than abortion.

“My friend got the abortionist to agree to (re)do the procedure–this time for an additional price above his regular price, which was agreeing to his f$cking my friend right after the abortion was performed on her sister.” P. 24. Bumgardner seems to settle the debate that abortion harms women: The mother gets rid of her baby by pimping out her sister-prostitute to the abortionist. All three are without honor and, as a result, there is one less baby in the world. Ramesh Ponnura first wrote of the ‘character’ of the type of person that does the actual abortion baby-removal, “What mother rejoices in proclaiming to the world, loudly, proudly announcing, “Meet my son, The Abortionist!”…?

“The Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act…except to save the life of the mother. This marked the first time any medical procedure was banned, as well as the first time an exception for a woman’s health had been overruled.” P. 34. Baumgardner fails to note that there is no medical justification for a Partial-Birth Abortion, as C. Everett Koop, MD, has written.

“Restrictions [cause] women [to] rarely change their minds about having procedures just because they are forced to jump through hoops.” P. 34. This has been superseded by peer reviewed studies demonstrating that commonsense abortion regulation such as waiting periods reduces the numbers of abortions, suggesting that women, in fact do change their minds. (Michael New, 2010.)

“There is not a link [between having an abortion and breast cancer] at least not according to the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, or major research universities.” P. 37

“Nada L. Stotland, MD, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association [writes] that “meticulous research shows that there is no causal relationship between abortion and mental illnesses.” P. 37.

“I started allowing myself to understand what is true for me: that I think of pregnancy as “life” but this doesn’t have to mean abortion is murder.” P. 47. This is a non sequitur and reveals the twisted backwards logic pro-abortion-choice advocates must fabricate to justify the taking of innocent human life. Indeed, the killing of a baby by the mother. Note Bumgardner’s odd use of ‘truth.’ Truth to her is not transcendent but dependent on her personal interpretation or perhaps her feelings at the moment…

“[A woman who had an abortion] realized that she…actually needed some help with the aftermath of what had turned out to be a profound experience. She began looking for after-abortion resources…All she could find to offer support were thinly disguised antiabortion groups. As a feminist, she says, “I didn’t see anything that reflected my experience” of having and sad feelings around her abortion, but not wanting to make abortion illegal.” P. 50. It is not disclosed if this woman contacted Rachel’s Vineyard or not. This group does non-judgmental post-abortion counseling.

“[A woman who had an abortion] interned at NARAL Pro-Choice California…But when she raised the issue of the lack of emotional resources for women, she was confronted with blank faces. It was, she says, as if admitting that she was struggling with her feelings meant that she wasn’t really pro-choice.” P. 50.

“Aspen Baker…in 2000…created Exhale, a nonjudgmental post-abortion talkline. In 2007, Exhale created a series of Hallmark-like e-cards that people could send to loved ones who’d had abortions–not to celebrate the abortion, but to acknowledge it and offer comfort.” P. 51.

“This shift in focus in the national conversation from “Keep your laws off my body!” to “Let’s talk about feelings and whether fetal life has value” has bee tough for the pro-choice movement…” p. 51

“Peg Johnston…operating Southern Tier Women’s Services, an independent abortion clinic [would] sit in a counseling session with a woman who’d say, “I feel like I’m killing my baby.” Johnston believes that women were genuinely struggling with the value of life and how to do the right thing and be a good person…using words like “loss” and “baby” and “killing”…” p. 53.

Baumgardner asks but does not answer, “What do you do if a patient wants to baptize the remains?” p. 54, emphasis in original.

Women who had abortions would write, “Don’t think of it as losing a baby, but as gaining a guardian angel. These were women who clearly felt relationships to their pregnancies as children, not as masses of cells.” p. 55 Italics in original.

“Emily Barklow [a college student] “struggled with feelings of deviance, selfishness, and loss [after her abortion]…Four years, lots of counseling [led her to] preparing a presentation about her experience [at a NARAL event]…I was disappointed with the lack of depth in the other presentations–all recycled coat hangers and We’ll never go back signs. I would cite this experience as my first real disconnect from the mainstream abortion rights movement.” p. 59.

“Perhaps younger women, in their own entitlement, will begin to make blasphemous statements even more loudly. The most profane is this: Why are feminists so obsessed with abortion? Some of this lingering fascination is [that] we focus on this right because it is fundamental; having the right to control our bodies is directly associated with the right to control our lives.” p. 59.

The author Baumgardner was five months pregnancy and giving a speech at Barnard College’s Students for Choice when she referred to the contents of her uterus as a “baby” instead of “fetus.” “If I said “baby” [referring to her unborn baby] that meant i wasn’t pro-choice, or with the program, or knowledgeable.” p. 60.

“Hillary Clinton…asserted her belief in [Roe v Wade] but also admitted that abortion can be “tragic” for some women…NARAL President Nancy Keenan confessed that “our community tends to run away every time somebody talks about the many emotions that come with this choice” and “we have not done enough to make people who are ‘pro-choice but struggling’ feel like they are part of this community.” p. 60.

“In March of 2007 Aspen Baker…wanted to celebrate the fact that Exhale was sending out 2,500 e-cards every month.” p. 61. Charmaine and Baker debated on CNN; pull quotes here.

“[Democrats for Life] executive director Kristen Day cites a December 2003 Zogby poll finding that forty-three percent of Democrats oppose abortion except in the case of rape or incest or to save the live of the mother…” p. 64.

“The need for abortion will never be totally eradicated, according to health activist Barbara Seaman, unless society commits to giving vasectomies to all boys after freezing their sperm, and only allowing procreation through in vitro fertilization after demonstrating sufficient income and maturity to support a child for eighteen years.” p. 65. The Alert Student would be tempted to dismiss Baumgardner for including this passage. But Seaman’s concept was advanced by Margaret Sanger who suggested, without humor, that licenses to marry and procreate be awarded to only those deemed “fit” by your local Planned Parenthood affiliate. The late Barbara Seaman is little known outside academic women’s studies programs and should remain so.

“Norma McCorvey [Roe in Roe v Wade] never actually had an abortion…” p. 70.

Baumgardner is concerned about forced adoptions, “I cried for the many women who were conned into relinquishing their children…

I cried remembering how intense it was to be pregnant and to give birth–how hormones and pain and extreme physical duress combined into what felt like a near-death experience [for her as mother-no mention of an aborted baby]. I recalled how I really understood–in my loosened pelvis, my stretched-out ribs, and the kicks to my cervix from tiny limbs–the sensitive factory that is our bodies, arduously creating another human. p. 70.

Baumgardner is lamenting the “choice” women endure when giving up a child for adoption but come precariously close to advancing a pro-life argument. This defines the schizophrenia of the abortion movement: The baby is human, the baby is a person-and the mother can terminate on a whim.

“So, can you be a feminist and pro-life? The answer is a resounding “yes.”” p. 71.

“With many of the women…giving birth seemed to preclude an investment in their own lives; it meant saying goodbye to a fellowship, to a career of their choosing, or being forced to stay in a relationship they didn’t want with the baby’s father.” P. 74. One could wonder that terminating a baby could indeed terminate a relationship: between mother and child(ren) and father(s).

“Gloria Steinem, born March 25, 1934, [could] not see any way that I could possibly give birth to someone else and also give birth to myself.” P. 79. In Steinem’s search for self, “someone else” — her baby — was sacrificed. To advance women.

Baumgardner quotes Barbara Ehrenreich, “Women do use abortion as backup nowadays, but they often don’t acknowledge it. I’m referring to women who get pregnant purposefully, for instance, but assume that legal abortion will be available as a backup should the child they’re carrying have Down’s syndrome or another abnormality they decide they can’t handle.” p. 87

Baumgardner quotes a Marion Banzhaf, a lesbian (Why do I need to know this? Why does she need to tell me?), “[After the abortion] I was thrilled…I was so happy to see the blood. I felt like my life was beginning over again…I saw a little baby in a carriage and a mom and I thought, Oh, I’m so glad that’s not me…I felt like I had control over what I was going to do with the rest of my life.” P. 90. Italics in original, bold emphasis mine.

Baumgardner quotes Giliian Aldrich, “I called my mom and said, “How could you have done that? I could have had this older brother or sister and you killed them…” p. 98. She later decided she was pro-abortion-choice.

At age 30 Gillian Aldrich was pregnant, “I had zero sentimentality, and didn’t want to even open that door [of keeping the baby]. I thought: If there is a baby in here, It’s not staying. I knew it would destroy our relationship [even though boyfriend wanted the child]. p. 99. Italics in original.

“We went to this…[abortion] clinic…The place was kind of a factory. The counseling session was a joke. I thought that there would be more of an emotional support system in the clinic itself, but there wasn’t.” p. 99.

“That Sylvia Ann Hewlett book came out [Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children]…There was something retrograde about her attitude, but her facts [demonstrating fertility declines precipitously throughout your thirties] were correct…” p. 100.

Baumgardner quotes Amy Richards, “I was…pregnant with triplets…and made the decision to have a selective reduction…a stand-alone fetus…would continue to term…[the] identical twins were aborted…instant death. After I went through the procedure, my boyfriend Peter was much more traumatized than I was, even though hospital policy didn’t allow him to witness the procedure.” p. 104 The Alert Reader might wonder, What’s to be traumatized about? It’s not a baby. It’s not human. It’s not a person. Or is it?

Richards continues, “I…speak at colleges…I meet so many girls who are trying to make sense of abortion. They really want to support abortion rights…but at the end of the day [they] just can’t say, “I’m pro-choice,” or, “I support abortion,” p. 105.

Men quoted in this book are as ambivalent about abortion as the women. A George is quoted, “For me, I think the abortion [with my girlfriend] will stand as a symbol that I thought of myself as this open, loving guy, but I wasn’t.” p. 110. Emphasis mind.

Baumgardner quotes Ani Difranco, “I want to tell women and men, “You are an animal and it is a beautiful thing.” p. 113. The pro-abortion-choice argument is revealing: human personhood is not transcendent from lower animals. Most religions hold that only humans are eternal beings with a soul. It appears that the human with the religion of feminism (where abortion is a sacrament) would have no soul.

Where do pro-abortion-choice women find these men: “He was an activist and a poet…he was having sex with me, and sometimes choking me. It was horrible.” p. 117. I am sure that the choking was terrible, I guess. But begs the question: How many times did the pro-abortion-choice poet choke you? Sometimes? Just a few times?

Baumgardner quotes a Robin Ringleka, “The doctor was very rushed and didn’t have much of a bedside manner. I was pretty terrified and I began to cry when he entered the room. This seemed to piss him off and he demanded to know why I was crying…[later] The one-year anniversary of my abortion was approaching and I was having bad dreams.” p. 125. Why do these pro-abortion-choice women have bad dreams? Why do they remember the dates of the abortion and “birthday” of the baby terminated? Can a clump of cells, a mere fetus cause so much anguish? Or is the death of a baby painful even to a woman in denial?

Ringleka continues, “I have come to believe that having an abortion can be a very motherly decision.” p. 125. Except for, maybe, her baby.

Baumgardner quotes, Jenny Egan, “I went with my boyfriend…to Planned Parenthood…I had assumed that I …would finally be able to tell someone or talk to someone about how freaked out I was, but I didn’t get to…My boyfriend started the breaking-up process the day after the abortion. He said he wanted to date other people.” p. 127.

Baumgardner wonders, “I recognize that is serious [an unborn baby might be a person], but my own life is too important to sacrifice for an unplanned pregnancy.” p. 133. This is understood to not be an act of selfishness to the pro-abortion-choice supporters.

“[A father] describes, bluntly, how a recent abortion felt “more like murder”…” p. 113.

“Inga Muscio, the author of the contempory feminist classic C@unt: A Declaration of Independence (1998) [available at bookstores everywhere]…said the surgical solution…”sucked.” After Muscio discovered herself pregnant a third time, she vowed not to go back to the clinic and “waltz with the abhorrent machine.”” p. 142.

“Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas…says: “Abortion is not a cerebral or a reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart…[U]ntil one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all.” p.143. Indeed, abortion follows the emotion of the woman’s heart. The logic of the brain, less so.

Baumgardner closes Abortion & Life with a profound and profane quote from,

popular musician and activist Ani DiFranco, who has a strong appreciation of the taboos surrounding abortion, wrote a song lyric that refers to the single cell that is an egg: “To split yourself in two is just the most radical thing you can do.” Life begins in that split–transformative energy is released into the aperture. The Ani adds: “So girl if that sh!t ain’t up to you, then you simply are not free. p. 144. So there.

“By creating a T-shirt so many would see as offensive, the pro-choice movement has intentionally sought to outrage the Christian Right.” p. 174.

One wag suggested a tag line on the reverse of the t-shirt to Baumgardner,

Front: I had an abortion.

Back: Roe v. Wade–Eliminating Future Democrats One Choice at a Time. p. 174.


Baumgardner is not happy about restrictions that help make abortion rare, “Planning a Pro-Choice Event…is…one way to fight the gloom…make the Roe anniversary powerful–a day of consciousness-raising and fundraising.” p. 148. She seems unaware that hundreds of thousands from the pro-life community march in Washington, DC on the Roe anniversary, January 22, each year.

Baumgardner wants the reader to celebrate and to mark your calendars that “the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers is March 10.” p. 149.

Baumgardner refers to the Reproductive Health Blog:


Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

Thank you (foot)notes,

*Baumgardner’s opening quote is from Rebecca Hyman’s essay Full Frontal Offense: Taking Abortion Rights To The Tees.

*”The fetus beat us” has been incorrectly attributed to Naomi Wolf. She writes us in an email, “I never said The fetus, beat us. I think it is an awful phrase, would never have said something so brutal and trivializing about this issue…Thank you! Take care, Naomi wolf.”

The book was funded by pro-abortion-choice individuals and groups, Amy Ray, Merle Hoffman and the Diana Foundation, Gloria Browning, Karen Burgum and the F-M Area Foundation Women’s Fund and Roberta Schneiderman…” preface page

Gillian Aldrich directed the documentary “I Had an Abortion”… preface page

Charmaine on CNN: Abortion Mourn or Celebrate?

See The Fetal Hand Grasp on Charmaine Debates Abortion on CNN.

Deeds of Terrible Virtue; Margaret SangerThe Movie (You Can’t Watch)

August 21, 2010 | By | No Comments

This review of the movie Margaret Sanger first appeared in Humanities, September/October 1998, and deserves a wide audience. The original movie review article was entitled, Margaret Sanger’s “Deeds of Terrible Virtue.” The PBS 90 minute film was funded in part with $750,000 of your taxes. The movie is not available on Netflix. This digital is all that remains from your 3/4 million.

Margaret Sanger’s “Deeds of Terrible Virtue”

By Rachel Galvin

“It is only rebel woman, when she gets out of the habits imposed on her by bourgeois convention, who can do some deed of terrible virtue.”

- The Woman Rebel

“I would strike out — I would scream from the housetops. I would tell the world what was going on in the lives of these poor women. I would be heard. No matter what it should cost. I would be heard,” wrote Margaret Sanger after one of her patients died of a self-induced abortion in 1913. Sanger did make the world listen to her, as she fought for half a century to legalize birth control and improve conditions for women.

Margaret Sanger, a new ninety-minute historical documentary, recreates the world of Margaret Sanger. The story of her life touches on the main social and scientific currents that sparked a sexual revolution and electrified American society out of its waning Victorian Age. Co-produced by independent filmmakers Bruce Alfred and Karen Thomas, the film delves into the complexities of Sanger’s personal life and explores her many shifts in social and political alliances as she strove to legitimize contraception. “Margaret Sanger lived in a time that was propelling people to make change,” says Alfred, who also directed the film. “She was one of those people who wanted to make her own change, and went about doing it in her own way.” The documentary combines original footage, photographs, period music, on-camera interviews, and dramatic readings by Blair Brown, Derek Jacobi, Matthew Broderick, and others, to present a vivid portrait of this determined woman.

Sanger emerges as a complex, contradictory human being with enormous drive and vision, rather than merely the single- dimensional “saint” or “heretic” she has been labeled. “Margaret Sanger remains a lightning rod for controversy,” says Alfred. “Some have made her the poster child for everything that’s wrong with birth control. This film, however, does not try to prove a point or a point of view. We’re looking at the woman as part of history, and the person she was in the times in which she lived — she didn’t work in a vacuum.”

Born Margaret Louise Higgins on September 14, 1879, in Corning, New York, Sanger was the sixth of eleven children. Her mother, a devout Irish Catholic, was pregnant eighteen times in twenty- two years. Her health was always fragile because of tuberculosis compounded by many pregnancies.

“Always say what you mean. And always think for yourself,” Sanger’s father, Michael Higgins, taught her. A political radical, Higgins gave Sanger books about strong women and told her stories of Helen of Troy, Ruth, Cleopatra, and Poppaea, supplying her with what she later called “ammunition about the historical background of the importance of women.”

Sanger wished to become a doctor, but because medical school was too expensive, she enrolled in a rigorous nursing training program. Her studies were interrupted twice — once temporarily, by the onset of tuberculosis, and the second time permanently, by her marriage in 1902 to William Sanger, a socialist and aspiring artist.

By 1910, the Sangers had three children and were living in New York City. Mrs. Sanger had fought against tuberculosis and twice survived doctors’ predictions of her imminent death.

“Deep in my soul, I couldn’t suppress my own dissatisfaction. After my long ordeal with disease it seemed to me this quiet withdrawal into tame domesticity was bordering on spiritual stagnation,” Sanger wrote. To ease the family financial situation, she became a midwife/nurse and worked with immigrants on the Lower East Side. There she witnessed the conditions that workers, reformers, and intellectuals were fighting to change: low wages, extreme poverty, homeless or abandoned children, and inaccessible health care.

Because of the scarcity of birth control and the strain each additional child placed on already desperate families, women often attempted home abortions by using sharp objects or homemade remedies. Alexander Sanger, Sanger’s grandson and a birth control activist, explains: “The most popular methods were folk remedies such as laxatives and quinine, douches, and cocoa butter solutions. Many douching solutions, such as Lysol, contained caustic chemicals that caused irritation or burns.”

“Pregnancy was a chronic condition among the women of this class,” Margaret Sanger said. “Suggestions as to what to do for a girl who was ‘in trouble’ or a married woman who was ‘caught’ passed from mouth to mouth — herb teas, turpentine, steaming, rolling downstairs, inserting slippery elm, knitting needles, shoe-hooks.” She frequently nursed women whose cheap abortions caused severe bleeding or death. “The menace of another pregnancy hung like a sword over nearly every woman I met,” she said.

Birth control was not an option for the women Sanger treated. The Comstock Law, mirrored by “little Comstock Laws” in many states, prohibited the mailing or advertisement of “any article or thing designed or intended for the prevention of conception.” Anthony Comstock, the law’s designer, was determined to outlaw “Satan’s Traps”: contraception and other “obscene” materials.

Before she focused her energies on advocating birth control, Sanger got a taste of political agitation through the labor movement. In 1912, she joined the International Workers of the World, which was leading textile mill workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to strike for higher wages. The next spring, Sanger testified before Congress about the strike and made national headlines. She applied her experiences with the labor movement and the media to her own concerns about reaching women in need of health and contraception information. Sanger began writing a column in The Call, a socialist newspaper. “What Every Girl Should Know” dealt openly with all manner of sexual issues and was quickly banned under the Comstock laws for discussing venereal disease — deemed obscene subject matter. Challenging Anthony Comstock attracted publicity and earned Sanger support from free speech advocates; eventually she was allowed to resume writing for The Call.

When one of her patients died of a self-induced abortion in 1913, Sanger left her nursing career. “It was like an illumination….There was only one thing to be done: call out, start the alarm, set the heather on fire! Awaken the womanhood of America to free the motherhood of the world!” Sanger wrote. “I resolved that women should have knowledge of contraception. They have every right to know about their own bodies.”

Sanger decided that a socialist revolution was not the most effective way to improve conditions for women. Esther Katz, director of the Margaret Sanger Papers Project at New York University, says in the film that Sanger was impressed by Emma Goldman’s theory that to “liberate women from repeated pregnancy was to liberate them from poverty.Women and children [carry] the heaviest burden of our ruthless economic system,” wrote Emma Goldman in 1900, “It [is] a mockery to expect them to wait until the social revolution in order to right justice.”

Inspired by Goldman’s Mother Earth, Sanger began her own newspaper, The Woman Rebel, in 1914. The Woman Rebel‘s motto read, “NO GODS. NO MASTERS,” and each issue proclaimed, “A Woman’s Duty: To look the whole world in the face with a go-to-hell look in the eyes; to have an ideal; to speak and act in defiance of convention.” Written for working-class women, the paper promised to delineate precisely how to avoid conception through “birth control,” a term Sanger and Otto Bobsein coined to avoid the fashionable circumlocutions of “family limitation” and “voluntary motherhood.”

After six monthly issues of The Woman Rebel, Sanger was indicted for obscenity.

Instead of facing trial and a potential thirty-year prison sentence, she fled the country. Without pausing to bid her children or her estranged husband goodbye, she took a train to Canada, assumed the alias of Bertha Watson, and obtained a visa for England, where she lived for a year.

In 1915, the attention of the American public refocused on Sanger and her cause. Within weeks of each other, Anthony Comstock died and Sanger’s husband was sentenced to a thirty-day prison sentence for handing out one of Margaret’s pamphlets. Realizing the opportunity for publicity, Margaret returned to the U.S. to stand trial.

As she prepared for her trial, Sanger was devastated by the death of her four-year-old daughter.

[Other accounts portray Margaret Sanger as a rather indifferent mother.]

When Sanger had a publicity photo taken of herself with her two sons, the demure portrait of a mother in mourning garnered public sympathy and provided an excuse for the government, which was already wary of bringing further publicity to sex theories and birth control, to drop its charges against Sanger.

Determined to continue disseminating birth control information, Sanger went on a speaking tour of the country. She shrewdly tailored her lectures to her audience: to working-class women she spoke about disparity in access to birth control; to middle- class women she argued for women’s rights; and to all she denounced the medical profession for holding back information about contraception and called for doctors to join her cause.

Wherever Sanger spoke, she provoked controversy and debate. “Anyone who talked about sex in public was breaking a taboo,” explains historian Nancy Cott in the film. “While reliable birth control was welcomed by some, others saw it as throwing a tremendous wrench into the social structure.”

Sanger opened the first American birth control clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn, on October 16, 1916. The clinic was staffed by Sanger, her sister Ethyl Byrne, a registered nurse, and two other women; no doctors would involve themselves in her enterprise. The clinic was in direct violation of laws prohibiting the distribution of contraception by anyone outside the medical profession and for any purpose other than disease prevention.

In the clinic’s ten days of operation, several hundred women received counseling, information on how to prevent pregnancy, and condoms and pessaries (as diaphragms were called). Women came from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and stood in lines that wound around the block. On October 26, the vice squad raided the clinic, arresting Sanger and the women working with her. The women were tried and sentenced to thirty days in prison. Following the example of the British Suffragists, Byrne went on a hunger strike. Her brutal force-feeding made front-page headlines even during the escalating hostilities of World War I.

From 1916 onward, the Catholic Church made a concerted effort to thwart Sanger’s campaign. Catholic groups shut down Sanger’s speeches, got her detained for handing out copies of Family Limitation, and in 1919 American bishops wrote a joint pastoral letter explicitly prohibiting contraception. In Washington, D.C., the Catholic Church set up an office to organize church members and lobby politicians.

Some of the opposition backfired. Sanger planned a meeting in the New York City Town Hall in November 1921 to address the question “Birth Control: Is It Moral?” Before the meeting began, New York City policemen closed down the building and arrested Sanger. The shutdown had been orchestrated by Archbishop Patrick Hayes, which outraged free speech activists, the media, and the American Civil Liberties Union. The New Republic wrote that the incident was “socially insane. . . . The last resort of authoritarianism.”

The commotion over the Town Hall meeting provided optimal advertising for Sanger. When the rescheduled meeting finally took place, three thousand people had to be turned away at the door because of limited space.

Sanger frequently reinvented her image, aligning herself with socialists, sex theorists, lobbyists, eugenicists, international birth control advocates, feminists, and suffragists, harnessing the momentum of these movements to drive her fight for contraception forward.

Although the women’s movement seemed a natural partner for Sanger’s cause, her approach differed radically from that of her feminist and suffragist contemporaries. The women’s movement maintained that sex needed to be subjugated and that equality was dependent upon the diminishing of the importance of sex, so that women could escape the role of “sex slave.” Birth control was anathema even to conflicting factions within the movement: some thinkers denounced marriage and sex entirely, in favor of pursuing a career; others regarded motherhood as the highest vocation and concluded that birth control insulted their femininity.

Once women won the right to vote in August 1920, the movement lost its cohesion, and the legalization of birth control did not provide an appealing cause to rally around. Carrie Chapman Catt, a Suffragist leader, sounded a Victorian note when she told Sanger, “Your reform is too narrow to appeal to me and too sordid.”

“The American woman, in my estimation, is sound asleep,” Sanger wrote in a fury. “Suffrage was won too easily and too early in this country.”

Unable to sway the women’s movement to her cause, Sanger turned to the most powerful advocacy group of her time: the eugenicists. The documentary deals with this shift in strategy objectively, neither justifying nor condemning it. “Sanger was always looking for a vehicle to propel her cause forward,” Alfred says. “Sanger had what we call the ‘PR know-how’ to get her cause linked with bigger issues that would keep it in the public view.”

Eugenic theory posited that the human race would be improved “by encouraging high reproductive rates in classes deemed socially desirable…and by discouraging reproduction amongst the undesirables.” Racists exploited these quasi-scientific theories for several decades, culminating in the eugenic rationale of the German fascist movement in the early 1930s. But even as early as the 1920s, the United States had passed forced sterilization laws in twenty states, eugenics was taught in universities, and many leading reformers and thinkers were advocates of eugenics.

Margaret Sanger promoted access to birth control for all women, regardless of class, arguing that women should be able to restrict their family size voluntarily. Eager to make use of the popularity of eugenics, she wrote The Pivot of Civilization in 1922, in which she espoused decreasing the birth rate of “mentally and physically defective” people. Linking birth control to eugenics shifted Sanger’s movement from what David Kennedy, author of Birth Control in America, calls a “radical program of social disruption” to a “conservative program of social control.”

After having lived apart for six years, Margaret and William Sanger finally divorced in 1921. In 1922, Sanger made an advantageous marriage to James Henry Noah Slee, the millionaire manufacturer of Three-in-One Oil. With his help, she smuggled diaphragms into the United States, and for a time Slee used one of his factories to produce spermicidal jelly.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932, Sanger intensified her lobbying in Washington, convinced that she would succeed if she concentrated on integrating birth control into New Deal programs. She argued that birth control would reduce the relief rolls and alleviate the economic devastation of the Depression by allowing married women to work.

Sanger and her lobbyists worked for six legislative sessions without results. “Men are men and senators are cowards,” Sanger declared.

Her lawyer, Morris Ernst, counseled Sanger to direct her efforts not toward changing the law, but rather toward reinterpreting the ban on the importation of contraception. In 1932, she began a test case. Four years later, Judge Augustus Hand ruled that doctors could prescribe birth control not only to prevent disease, but for the “general well-being” of their patients.

The test case succeeded primarily because Sanger managed to disassociate birth control from obscenity and ally it with science and medicine.

The two groups Sanger had created, the American Birth Control League and the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, were fused into the Birth Control Federation of America in 1942, with Sanger as honorary chairman. Sanger was appalled when the organization chose to discard “birth control,” the term she had popularized, and renamed itself Planned Parenthood, judging “birth control” too controversial.

Sanger saw birth control reform as an international movement. In her first trip to Japan in 1922, she had met birth control activist Shidzue Kato. The two remained lifelong friends and colleagues, and together they established the first birth control clinic outside the West. Sanger was hailed as a savior by Japan, a country ridden with poverty, unemployment, and overpopulation. She became the first foreign woman to address the Japanese national legislature in 1954.

Sanger traveled to India in 1935 and met with Mahatma Gandhi. Although Gandhi was not swayed by Sanger’s views and maintained that his followers must “transcend carnal lust,” Sanger’s lecture tour inspired the opening of birth control clinics throughout India. When Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared in 1959 that $10 million would go to family planning in India, Sanger was at his side.

Sanger was convinced that an oral contraceptive could be developed “that could be taken like aspirin.” With money supplied by Suffragist leader and longtime friend Katharine McCormick, Sanger funded the research of Gregory Goodwin Pincus, a geneticist at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology. When Pincus unveiled the Pill in 1959, he called it the “product of [Sanger's] pioneering resolution.”

“Modern woman is at last free as a man is free,” author and Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce proclaimed upon the release of the Pill, “to dispose of her own body, to earn her living, to pursue the improvement of her mind, to try a successful career.”

Having survived several heart attacks by 1965, Sanger was in very weak health and dependent on painkillers, sleeping pills, and alcohol when she received the news that her lifelong mission was achieved: The Supreme Court had ruled in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut that “the use of contraception is a constitutional right.” Friends propped [Margaret] Sanger up in her bed, and she celebrated by drinking champagne through a straw.

Margaret Sanger died on September 6, 1966, and was buried in Fishkill, NY, beside Noah Slee. Upon her death, H.G. Wells declared, “When the history of our civilization is written, it will be a biological history and Margaret Sanger will be its heroine.”

Rachel Galvin is a writer in Austin, Texas.

Cobblestone Films received $750,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to produce Margaret Sanger, which will air on PBS on October 12.

Humanities, September-October 1998, Volume 19/Number 5


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Blessed Are The Barren, by Robert Marshall & Charles Donovan; Selected Quotes

July 31, 2010 | By | No Comments

Blessed Are The Barren: The Social Policy of Planned Parenthood, by Bob Marshall and Chuck Donovan represents one of the best scholarly works on Planned Parenthood. Forewards by Dr. Benard Nathanson and John Cardinal O’Connor; published by Ignatius Press in 1991.

Robert_Marshall.jpg Robert “Bob” Marshall

Chapter One, Margaret Sanger: The Founding Mother, the founder of Planned Parenthood frames the book. “Her magazine the Woman Rebel [has] “No Gods, No Masters,” below the masthead…[and] claimed the right to ‘be lazy…an unmarried mother …to create…to destroy…to love.’” p. 7.

“Sanger published such articles as “Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” (June 1920)…” p. 9. The purpose appeared, as Sanger writes, to be “To Create a Race of Thoroughbreds…” p. 9.

“Human sexuality would increasingly fall under the sphere of medicine rather than morals, although it would soon be clear that the criterion of health was often little more than a convenient cover for hedonism.” p. 12.

Margaret Sanger wrote Gamble, a eugenics activist and an heir to the Proctor & Gamble fortune, on December 10, 1939,

While the “Colored Negroes” do respect white doctors, more trust would ensue with black physicians. She wrote that: “We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten that idea out if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” p. 18.

All that is needed to succeed is “a clever bit of machination to persuade them to commit race suicide..” Marshall quotes Dorothy B. Ferebee addressing Planned Parenthood’s minority outreach efforts. p. 19.

“Abortion and sterilization on request should be certainly be introduced before family size by coercion is attempted.” [emphasis added] by Marshall quoting Alan Guttmacher. p 39.

Chuck_Donovan.png Chuck Donovan

Marshall and Donovan quote the founder of Planned Parenthood, “Sex was a natural part of life,” Sanger wrote, “I had always known where babies came from. My mother never discussed sex with us,” p. 58.

The “theme of Sanger’s thought is pervasive in Planned Parenthood’s history: liberality in all things sexual save procreation.” p. 59.

Planned Parenthood was relentless in the “aggressive merchandising of…abortion to children.” p. 65.

“Margaret Sanger believed in the inutility of a state-by-state strategy for legal change…” p. 113. Sanger did not hold for an incremental approach for changing American values.

“The collaboration between the sex industry’s most polished marketeers and the leadership of the sex-education movement occurred first on the level of principle: If to some feminists the objectification of women is offensive, to the harbingers of sexual freedom it is not.” p. 124.

“Margaret Sanger, the sixth child in a family of eleven…was baptized a Catholic. Her father was an apostate Catholic…described as “free-thinking.” Biographer Madeline Gray has written that Sanger sought “poise and surcease for her recurrent depression through astrology, numerology, sex, religious cults…” attended seances; and was a member of the Rosicrucian Society…Sanger believed she had undergone numerous reincarnations usually as a member of the social elite. One such nether-world inquiry placed Sanger…as the daughter of an emperor of Atlantis…” p. 131

“For Sanger the proper attitude toward her critics was difficult to distinguish from personal vilification, character assassination, and old-fashioned bigotry. Sanger, a constant fellow-traveler with anti-Catholics…” p. 133.

“Sam Saloman…who worked at the U.S. Government Printing Office, pointed out…

Appearing before congressional committees…its propagandists [for sexual freedom] appear as the benign, motherly type of women…

Before sex radicals, they appear as sophisticated women, demanding sex equality for women and men…demanding also that society safeguard sex from the inevitable consequences of indulgence…

Mrs. Sanger…was asked to join a group of 30 sex radicals in a symposium on sex…This is her conception of the new morality…”what they consider ‘morality’ we consider ‘moral imbecility’…our morality is an ‘ethics of the dust’…It is not a morality concerned with…absolute rights and wrongs, with unhealthy lingering interests in virginity and chastity…but…solve these problems with instruments of intelligence, insight, and honesty.” emphasis added p. 141.

The Catholic Church was on to Margaret Sanger early, “Archbishop Murray, sensing that Sanger’s real goal included abortion…likening [Planned Parenthood] to the Dillinger mob. Both groups, he said, were “organizing to commit murder.”” p. 143.

“[M]any nonclerical Protestants and Catholics could see through to the real goal of Planned Parenthood, namely abortion on demand and all that entailed.” p. 145.

Not only was Margaret Sanger better at marketing than the Catholic Church, but also better at organizing, “The string of Catholic successes in isolating Planned Parenthood from community support was stopped, largely due to Planned Parenthood’s persistent efforts at coalition building.” p. 157. “Aided by careful Planned Parenthood affiliate intelligence work in identifying sympathetic or friendly Catholics.” p. 162.

“Justice Felix Frankfurter, neither Catholic nor conservative…” rejected the health exception needed for contraceptives. P. 167.

“[Justice William O.] Douglas reached for the novel insight the Court would use repeatedly of the next few decades to strike down state statues affecting family life: “Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees, that help give them life and substance…various guarantees create zones of privacy.” p. 168. (There is no evidence Justice William O. Douglas was drunk when he wrote this decision.)

“Justice Potter Stewart dissented [from Douglas on 'penumbras formed by emanations'] noting, “With all deference, I can find no such general right of privacy in the Bill of Rights, in any other part of the Constitution or in any case ever before decided by this Court.”” p. 168.

“The Oath of Hippocrates…embodied a “Natural Law” ethic compatible with orthodox Jewish and Christian thought and practice.” P. 175.

“Alan Guttmacher himself said in 1971 that it was a decided advantage for Planned Parenthood not to be tied down by a venerated document like the U.S. Constitution or the constraints of the outdated Hippocratic Oath which forbade doctors from performing abortions or assisting suicide.” p. 175.

“In 1866 the American Medical Association decided to issue a brief but comprehensive statement on abortion…Horatio R. Stone, obstetrics and medical jurisprudence and a leading antiabortionist of his day [wrote] “The Criminality and Physical Evils of Forced Abortions,”…quoted Percivil’s Medical Ethics to the effect that “to extinguish the first spark of life is a crime of the same nature both against our Maker and society, as to destroy an infant, a child, or a man.”‘p. 175.

“In addition, Storer cited a statement from 1653 that decried the putting to death of a being “in the shop of nature,” i.e., the womb, as “a thing deserving all hate and detestation.” With the full support of his colleagues, Storer declared that all “physicians have now arrived at the unanimous opinion that the foetus in utero is alive from the very moment of conception…” p. 176.

“The Academy of Pediatrics also opposed the Reagan administration’s efforts to mandate nondiscriminatory treatment of handicapped newborn infants.” p. 177.

“Dr. Leo Alexander, an official medical expert at the Nuremberg Trials of German physician-executioners of Nazi atrocities, has stated: “Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. It started with the acceptance of the attitude…that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived.” p. 178.

“To retain the logical symmetry a physician is disposed to apply to his trade, it follows that the unwanted child must become the medical equivalent of a disease process…Mary Calderone…in the 1960′s… lamented that: “…we are still unable to put babies in the class of dangerous epidemics, even though this is the exact truth.”” p. 182.

“Planned Parent’s own journal has stated that pregnancy “may be defined as a disease…[and]…treated by evacuation of the uterine contents.” p. 182.

“Medical relativism…[is an]…acceptable goal of “health care”…Dr. J. Robert Willson of Temple University…stated: “We have to stop thinking in terms of individual patients and change our direction…the individual patient is expendable in the general scheme of things, particularly if the infection [that the patient] acquires is sterilizing but not lethal.”…Medical Director of [Planned Parenthood] Mary Calderone…said, “It thrilled me to hear a clinician like Dr. Willson talk in terms of public health applications as I, a public health person, would not have dared talk, particularly in this assembly.” p.183.

Marshall and Donovan quote Shakespeare,

King Lear: Hear, Nature, hear…Suspend thy purpose…To make the creature fruitful! Into her womb convey sterility! Dry up her organs of increase. (Shakespeare, King Lear, act 1, scene 4) p. 221.

“And research has shown that adolescents who believe themselves less responsible to parents, society, or God are more likely to indulge in premarital intercourse.” p. 231.

“It becomes easy to see why Planned Parenthood’s president [at that time] Faye Wattelton believes “it is a mistake to enter into debates on questions of morality.” Minimizing the guilt that accompanies the departure from the moral order is also a convenient way to dull one’s conscience.” p. 231.

“In 1971, Dr. George Langmyhr, Planned Parenthood medical director at the time acknowledged that, “…Planned Parenthood [has] accepted …the necessity of abortion as an integral part of any complete …family planning program.” p 239.

“When the topic of abortion came up, Sanger’s flair for the dramatic helped her draw a line just where her particular audience wanted it. This line was different for each new audience, a testimony to her ability to adapt her …crusade to the needs of the moment.” p. 239.

“[Margaret Sanger] had a long record of support for hygienic abortion performed by “competent” personnel. In March 1914 in a publication call The Woman Rebel, Sanger hinted at approval of abortion. She suggested that feminists would “claim the right to be lazy…an unmarried mother…to create…to destroy…”” p. 240.

So how does Planned Parenthood understand public law? In 1921 in a “conference in New York City sponsored by Sanger’s nascent Planned Parenthood group…Dr. Andre Tridon said, “…breaking the law is not a crime, but a public duty.” p. 241.

“A model abortion law was proposed at a May 1959 meeting of the American Law Institute (ALI). The model law allowed abortion until the twenty-sixth week of pregnancy if the doctor believed that the mother’s physical or mental health would be gravely impaired; if the child would be born with grave mental physical handicap…Judge Learned Hand [was a member of ALI and] Hand’s wife was a member of Sanger’s Birth Control League, and his daughter Mrs. Robert Ferguson, later became president of [Planned Parenthood] from 1953 to 1956. Judge Hand complained to Guttmacher that the ALI proposal was “too d@mned conservative.””p. 247.

“This Planned Parenthood-spawned ALI proposal added some interesting nuances to the meaning of “health.” First was the provision that if the child was not healthy, he could be put to death. Second, the child–and this was not explained–was held capable of causing the mother’s mental health to deteriorate, and therefore he could be killed.” p. 247.

Marshall and Donovan quote “Dr. Bernard Nathanson, former abortion provider and now an ardent pro-lifer…”How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal?…5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year…I confess that i knew the figures were totally false…The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated…”” p. 250.

“One…”benefit,” according to Guttmacher, was that “24 [percent] of the abortions in New York City were done on black women, who form 18 [percent] of the total population.” p. 257.

In the Restated Certificate of Incorporation of [Planned Parenthood] in New York, March 3, 1972, “changed its charter to “provide leadership in making effective means of voluntary fertility including…abortion and sterilization, available and accessible to all…This…should lay to rest any notion that [Planned Parenthood] was merely pro-choice and not pro-abortion” p. 259.

“Abortion as a “Medical Matter” Adolph Hitler wrote in his infamous tract Mein Kampf, “The great masses of the people…will more easily fall victims to a great lie than a small one.”…Because the physician is called upon to use techniques and instruments as tools to implement the abortion decision, abortion has been mistakenly thought by some to be simply a medical matter…But to conclude that abortion is purely a “medical matter” is like saying war is purely a military matter and that therefore only generals should decide…or that capital punishment is simply a concern of electrical engineers.” p.272.

“A doctor who preforms elective abortions is not acting as a healer. In short, he is not practicing medicine; he is merely a biological technician who seeks to bring about the death of the human fetus (a Latin term for “offspring”). p. 273.

As far back as 1859 the AMA understood the marketing of abortion where the baby is ignored, “A law which has maternal health as its sole or main concern is not likely to be worded in such a way that the human status of the foetus be given human rights protected by law.” p. 273.

“A 1970 editorial form California Medicine presaged the now partially completed slide away from the traditional sanctity of life ethic:

Since the old ethic has not been fully displaced it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death…this schizophrenic sort of subterfuge is necessary…” p. 274.

“Margaret Sanger…had as one of [her] major goals the elimination of live births of those, and among those deemed inferior. [T]he cure for these evils is “proper breeding on a scientific basis.” p. 275.

The eugenicist Laughlin cited Justice Holmes’ words:

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime…society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccinations is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes…Three generations of imbeciles are enough. p. 277.

“Mrs. Alva Myrdal…said that Sweden only wanted those children who were wanted by their parents.” p. 279.

Planned Parenthood has always been expert in marketing. “Borrowing sales techniques of striking while the iron is hot, social workers who identified women with possibly inferior offspring were told that “if the patient is in her 14th week or more, while you have the patient there, call in the referral immediately…Presumably delaying the testing too much longer would make the abortion of a possibly less than perfect child a bit messier than usual.” p. 287.

Planned Parenthood emphasizes the mother at the expense of the unborn baby and the humanity of the baby is ignored. “James Hoffman, a public health nutritionist employed by South Carolina [in]… 1983 observ[ed] that the more able the educator is at personifying the fetus, the better the mother will eat. “It seems very inconsistent to me to treat the fetus like a baby when one is interested in feeding him/her, bu to depersonify the fetus when the baby is ‘unwanted’ or has a genetic defect.”” p. 288.

“This policy of semantic gymnastics, successfully carried out over a period of decades, included efforts to redefine nearly every term in the lexicon of human reproduction: pregnancy, conception, abortion, and human being or person.” p.291.

At a Planned Parenthood symposium, “Bent Boving, a Swedish fertility researcher…said…”to destroy an established pregnancy could depend on something so simple as a prudent habit of speech.” p. 292.

“…Planned Parenthood’s redefinition …[of] the claim that no one really knows when human life begins. Yet…in 1933…Dr. Alan Guttmacher [said] “We of today know that man…starts life as an embryo within the body of the female; and that the embryo is formed from the fusion of two single cells,,,This all seems so simple…” p. 295.

“However, after [Guttmacher] conversion to the “pro-choice” view [his] past knowledge seemed to vanish…And …in 1973 [he wrote] Does human life begin before or with the union of the gametes…? I, for one, confess I do not know.” p. 295.

“This view had its origins more in attitudes than knowledge…” p. 295.

“Dr. Sally Faith Dorfman …has noted that during an abortion, “a compassionate and sensitive sonographer should remember to turn the screen away from the plane of view. Staff too may find themselves increasing disturbed by the repeated visual impact of an aspect of their work that they need to partially deny in order to continue…” p. 297.

“Gaining public acceptance for the French abortion pill, RU-486, is in part a matter of contriving and using acceptable euphemisms.” p. 301.

“Notice that when Planned Parenthood uses the “wanted baby” phrase, that such babies have rights. Unwanted babies have no rights and are morally equivalent to disposable property. But under the wanted baby scheme, where do rights come from? From being wanted, of course. But who is it that does the “wanting” that results in the conferring of rights? Not the father, nor a couple seeking to adopt. No, it is the pregnant woman alone who gets to confer rights.

Planned Parenthood could never use the phrase, “Every child a valuable child,” because that would implicitly recognize the intrinsic worth of the child irrespective of whether the father, mother, etc., “wanted” the baby.” p. 310

“As a nation we were once respected and admired for our ideals; now, after the…sexual revolt, we are merely envied for our machines.” p. 316.

“Planned Parenthood sees certain children as a social disease or an epidemic. Barrenness is considered an affliction in Scripture…Planned Parenthood opposes even a twenty-four-hour abortion waiting period…” p. 317.

“Professor Harold J. Laski hinted hinted at some of the ultimate goals his ideological [pro-abortion] kindred had in mind. Laski wrote to Justice Holmes, after the Supreme Court decision upholding Virginia’s law sterilizing Carrie Buck against her will, advocating “steriliz[ing] all the unfit, among whom I include all fundamentalists.” p. 320.

“Those so at war with the order of creation eventually come to propound contradictions without the slightest awareness of doing so. Luke Lee, in a publication funded by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)…and the U.S. State Department would write:

But if a state can justify restrictions on the number of spouses on human rights grounds, it can similarly justify restrictions of the number of children each couple can have…[and] can it not be argued that “in allowing children that are born to live a higher quality of life,” compulsory sterilization may be considered as “reaffirming an individual’s right to procreate”?

Mandatory sterilization means freedom to reproduce. Up is down, good is evil, hatred is love. Big Brother, in George Orwell’s totalitarian novel, 1984, longed for this state of affairs. We have it now. What is to be done?” p. 320.

“French philosopher Etienne Gilson once said that “philosophy always buries its undertakers.” Applying this adage to the present situation, we might say that the Planned Parenthood movement in all its social manifestations is its own best funeral director. It believes in death, it inflicts death; let this movement have what it has given others.” p. 321.


Roe v. Wade, January 22, 1973, A pregnant single woman (“Roe”) challenged the constitutionality of a Texas statue forbidding abortion….Norma McCorvey, an astrology devotee…had already given birth…claimed that she had been raped, but much later acknowledged she had not been raped.” p. 328.

In Roe, “The Court need not “resolve the difficult question of when life begins” because “those trained in medicine, philosophy, and theology” were “unable to arrive at any consensus.” p. 329.


In “1981…[the courts decided that a twenty-four-hour waiting period and…a…parental consent provision were both constitutional.” p. 333.


Harris v. McRae, June 30, 1980, A lower court judge, “Dooling had asserted that, with respect to abortion, the courts, not Congress, had the power over the treasury because “poverty is a medical condition.” As it is known, “The Hyde Amendment was upheld.” This case was argued at the Supreme Court by legal counsel of Americans United for Life.


“The Roe v. Wade decision did not state that a woman had a right to an abortion per se…The “fundamental” right to privacy, which the Court ostensibly found in the Constitution, is surely one of the more curious constitutional rights. For example, it is the only constitutional right that must be secured by a licensed physician in good standing (Connecticut v. Menillo [1975]). p. 339.

“The Court in Roe and Menillo did not rule on the alleged privacy right of a woman to abort herself. So it can be said that, in fact, what the Court did create through its own-conferred legislative powers was not a privacy right of abortion for the pregnant woman, but a right immunizing licensed physicians against state prosecution for aborting women.” p. 339.


“Planned Parenthood Abortion Workshop–Business Principles inside the Killing Center; A “health clinic” that kills 50 percent of its patients at the request of the other 50 percent reduces to absurdity the profession and practice of medicine. But in a permissive, hedonist, neglectful society, the fondness–indeed, the need for euphemisms designates these killing centers as “family planning” clinics.” p.345.

“Potential [abortionist] entrepreneurs were told that if they had a large clientele they would “…be taking in a large, large volume of cold, hard cash” — and that the money would have to be dealt with sensibly.” p. 345. A cash business is the easiest on which to evade taxes.

“Costs could be kept down in several ways [in an abortion center]…”clean” [surgical] techniques were [substituted for] “sterile” ones in order to satisfy Planned Parenthood’s standards.” Planned Parenthood abortion workshop, 1973, p. 346

Marshall and Donovan close their outstanding book with direction from Planned Parenthood on abortion and money, “Though it hardly needed to be mentioned [during the abortion business seminar] it was dutifully pointed out that “[t]he cashier’s desk is the last stop for the patient before she leaves the center.” Patients are urged, management suggested, to bring a certified check, traveler’s check, or money order. Medicaid patients were served if they presented their Medicaid cards.” p. 347


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Full Disclosure: Charmaine Yoest used to work for Chuck Donovan. The Honorable Robert Marshall is a state delegate in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy, The Control of Female Fertility, by Angela Franks, Selected Quotes

April 14, 2010 | By | No Comments

Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy by Angela Franks published in 2005 is one of the very best scholarly works on The Control of Female Fertility. Feminists who hold Margaret Sanger as the patroness saint of the modern woman will not be pleased with this exhaustive study of Sanger’s “Genuine commitment to the eugenic ideology.” p. 1.

This book benefits from the rigorous academic accountability of Franks’ dissertation committee (on her non-dissertation topic) at Boston College.

The book is a must read for both the Planned Parenthood historian and the pro-life anti-abortionist.

On page five Franks begins with a quote from Margaret Sanger in 1955,

I see no wider meaning of family planning than control…[T]here…are some families…where restriction should be an order for the betterment of the…race.

Sanger was able to implement her ideal of Utopian control because she was, “A most capable administrator and detail-person…and held her own in a male-dominated world.” p. 5-6.

[H]er organizational genius effectively [determined] the contours of the…population control [movement]. This ideology of Sanger’s I call “the ideology of control.” p. 8

Franks frames the debate asking, “[C]an the liberation of women be built on the control of their bodies? Emphasis in original, p. 6. She continues,

How could a feminist advocate forced sterilization? Why did Sanger participate so extensively in the eugenics movement?

Sanger of course assumed her views to be rational, evening claiming their scientific necessity.

[Sanger must be taken] seriously precisely because she has been so influential and, I believe, dangerous. p. 7.

Sanger was-and her philosophy is- “dangerous” because “Sanger believed that…[controlling] reproduction…was a matter of power. [And] certain classes of people should not be parents.” p. 7.

Franks makes a compelling argument that Margaret Sanger is an ideologue, “I use the term “ideology” to indicate a worldview that obfuscates reality to such a degree that the person holding these beliefs is simply unable to recognize what is really the case.” p. 8-9.

Ideology obscures reality…of control…[woman as] an “at-risk reproducer…” p.9.


Heiress of Margaret Sanger,

Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood,

in Vogue tells of her aborted child

[not pictured]

not included in Frank’s work Franks presents a diplomatic analysis of research of Sanger’s life because there seems to be conflicting documentation on the motives of the founder of Planned Parenthood. But Franks has solved this contradiction in the Margaret Sanger historical record.

Franks notes, “Sanger [would be] saying one thing in public while confiding quite a different belief in private letters to her friends.” p.11.

Franks calls this “equivocation.” p. 11. Perhaps the more accurate description of Margaret Sanger and her Planned Parenthood offspring would be “duplicitous.”


Sanger “equates abortion with… birth control” p. 11.

Sanger “promoted a sexuality on the phallocentric model: pleasure without commitment.” p. 14.

“Race” for Sanger meant the “human race.” p. 15.

Franks depicts Sanger’s reasoning, “A large family is the sign of being unfit. In Sanger’s worldview, the poor are poor because the are unfit, and they have large families because they are unfit.” p. 16.

Franks quotes Sanger where she insisted,

[T]hat eugenics must target whole classes: I am frank to say that I do not see how it is possible to ‘sort out individual values within each class’ and make an ‘individual selection’ of those fit to reproduce, nor am I at all sure that such selection would be really eugenic. p. 17, footnoted, Margaret Sanger to Frederick Osborn, 12/29/39.

“The organizations that Sanger founded echo her fundamental aim: “To contribute directly and effectively to the raising the quality of our people in every walk of life…”…”Quality, not Quantity.” p. 22

“Mabel Dodge, in a famous story, reminisced that Sanger was “the first person I ever knew who was openly an ardent propagandist for the joys of the flesh.”” p.23. footnoted, Quoted in Chesler, 96.

Sanger’s vision was-is-to “control female fertility instead of male desire.” p. 25

“Eugenics is advocated by members of a self-anointed elite…who know better than the rest and who ought to have the power to control society.” p. 26

“Neo-Malthusianism insisted on the eugenic and economic necessity of getting the poor to limit their fertility…” p. 28

“Sanger clearly supported the assassination of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who, ironically would become her greatest financial supporter…A criminal charge of inciting assassination was brought against her…” p. 29. A reverse Stockholm Syndrome?

“Brooklyn [was]…inhabited by immigrant Jews and Italians…in 1916. Planned Parenthood dates its founding from from the establishment of this clinic [in Brooklyn].” p. 33.

Franks cites a recurring theme of Sanger and Planned Parenthood complaining of, “those who should never have been born.” p 33-34. footnoted, American Birth Control League, “What We Stand For.”

Sanger, “[N]ever worked well with others in the birth-control movement unless it was understood that she was in charge.” p. 35. Margaret Sanger had to be in control of, well, everything.

Sanger organized lobbying efforts to persuade legislators, but “[U]ltimately her goal was achieved not through the legislature but through the courts.” p. 35. Culminating in Roe v Wade.

“Sanger shared…the belief that male leadership was important for the birth-control movement’s fund-raising and general success.” p. 36 (!)

“Sanger’s eugenic ideas were…attractive to the rich, who often perceived their wealth as a demonstration of their innate genetic superiority.” p. 37.

John D. Rockefller, Jr. donated to the American Eugenics Society — he agreed with the philosophy and mission of AES that, “moral people are born, not made; the criminal is a defective…” p.38. This should not be confused with the Calvinistic tenet of the Total Depravity of the human condition.

The upper-class ladies of Manhattan wrote, “Margaret was rather like a lion tamer. She kept us each on our boxes until she needed us–and then we jumped and jumped fast.” p. 39.

Margaret Sanger and the Eugenics movement defined “unfit” as “poor, disabled, sickly, alcoholics, impaired mental capacity, feeble-minded [whatever that is] idiots, imbeciles, morons…she was a committed negative eugenicist.” p. 40-41. Meaning that negative human qualities-as she defined them-were to be breeded out or eliminated. Positive eugenics was the encouraging of the “good” qualities to be expanded in the human gene pool. Usually seen in rich white people, like Margaret Sanger. “A self-anointed elite…” p. 41.

“Sanger does not seem to have been an overt racist.” p. 43. She merely enjoyed the company and patronage and donations of people who were racists. And the occasional speech to the KKK. Sanger is never pictured wearing a white hood. Sanger simply divided mankind into the “fit” and unfit using, “Such eugenic criteria as poverty, intelligence and disability…” p. 43. The “Negro” was grouped with the “unfit.”

Some might consider Margaret Sanger a racist because of her “Negro Project.” This was her Planned Parenthood program “to promote contraceptive use among Southern blacks, arguing that there is a need to recruit African-American doctors and ministers to carry out the [Birth Control Federation of America's] plan.” Here is her letter to Clarence Gamble whose fortune came from the Proctor and Gamble soap company,

It seems to me from my experience where I have been in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas, that while the colored Negroes have great respect for white doctors they can get closer to their own members and more or less lay their cards on the table which means their ignorance, superstitions and doubts…The ministers [sic] work is also important and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. p. 43.

Here is the quote of most concern to the Margaret Sanger defender,

We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” writes Sanger, “[A]nd the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” p. 43. Margaret Sanger does not use the phrase, “Uppity Negros.” Not quite.


Margaret Sanger has become a parody

of feminism and Planned Parenthood,

as seen in this mock photo,

“I accepted an invitation to talk

to the women’s branch

of the Ku Klux Klan” from her Autobiography

not included in Frank’s work


To create a race of thoroughbreds

“Banner on the cover of the November 1921 issue of the Birth Control Review…” p. 49.

So how does Margaret Sanger sell her utopia? Angela Franks tells us, “The whole process would require a huge propaganda system mobilizing the hegemonic forces of ideological dissemination, from academia to Madison Avenue: “But to motivate people, mass education…you need psychologists, you need people who’ve been in the advertising business, you need all types of businessmen, all kinds of people putting this puzzle together to make it effective.” ” p. 48.

Sanger was a master of “[T]he new public-relation situation,” selling “Quality, not quantity…” p. 51.

“To the end of her life, Sanger persisted in a eugenically compromised conception of freedom, which could not rid itself of the impulse to manipulate the marginalized.” And, “In the last years of her life…her growing loneliness led to greater dependence on Demerol and alcohol…At…her last public appearance, the toll that her addictions had taken was reportedly evident.” p. 54.

So how did Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger get funded? “[W]ealthly businessmen were becoming interested in the supposed connection between population and economic stability.” p. 55.

William Vogt served as national director in 1951 and made famous with the best seller, Road to Survival (1948) liked to shock physicians. Franks quotes Vogt, “Why are you trying to save the lives of children, when you’ll doom them to starvation?” p. 55.

“[Alan Guttmacher] was a longtime advocate of eugenic sterilization for the mentally disabled.” p.56.

Franks quotes Guttmacher, “The fecundity suddenly bestowed upon the diabetic in 1922 by the boon of insulin is not a pure blessing, certainly not a genetic blessing.” p. 56.

Guttmacher “[B]elieved in aborting a disabled fetus for “eugenic reasons.”” p. 58.

It is the contention of this book that the lens through which Planned Parenthood views female fertility is largely eugenic… p. 60.

Planned Parenthood wants, “the option of aborting fetuses with disabilities…reducing human persons to a utilitarian calculus…” p. 63.


“Sanger solved [selling eugenics] by proposing propaganda for the many and coercion for the resisting few.” p. 71.

“Planned Parenthood frequently egage[d] in million-dollar ad campaigns to sway public opinion.” p. 87.

“Guttmacher was never a friend of the eugenic targets, the disabled and the poor.” p. 88.

“[Planned Parenthood views the] disabled people as diseases, first and foremost, reducing their humanity and personhood to an afterthought.” p.89.

Not cited but reflecting the movie Minority Report and echoing C. Everett Koop, MD, Franks writes of “”search and destroy” abortions…”genetic discrimination.”” p. 90.

“The basic eugenic attitude could thus confuse the prevention of a disability with the elimination of the disabled.” p. 92.

“Walter Glannon has recently argued that “genetically defective” fetuses should be aborted…eerily echoing the Nazi condemnation of “life unworthy of life.”” p.92.

“Sir Douglas Black, past president of the Royal College of Physicians in Great Britain, said, “[I]t would be ethical to put a rejected child upon a course of management that would end in its death…I say that it is ethical that a child suffering from Down’s syndrome…should not survive.” p. 93.

“As we saw in Sanger’s groundbreaking account of the relation of “woman” to “the new race” (and as in Nazi Germany), the burden of eugenic responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of women, and thus they become the target of both propaganda and direct coercion.” p. 93.

“A 1991 study reported that 85 percent of genetic counselors in training were willing to participate in fetal sex-selection tests upon requests.” p.94.

“The eugenics movement has used arguments based on cost-effectiveness with great success…” p. 94.

“On the January 15, 2001, episode of Politically Incorrect, Host Bill Maher equated his two dogs with mentally disabled children. “I’ve often said if I had two retarded children, I’d be a hero, and yet the dogs, which are pretty much the same thing–what?” quipped Maher. Children with disabilities are “sweet,” “loving,” and “kind, but they don’t mentally advance at all…Dogs are like retarded children.” p. 94.

“Persons with disabilities threaten to disrupt a…social economy [of consumerist values]” p. 97.

“Mary Steichen Calderone, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s medical director from 1953 to 1964, recalled that… “Sanger…disliked physicians.”” p. 109.

“Clarence James Gamble (1894-1966)…heir to some of the Procter and Gamble fortune…did not need to work for a living and was able to dedicate…full-time…[to] eugenics work.” p. 112.

“Sanger was so supportive of Gamble’s efforts that she hoped he would take over her position as president of IPPF in 1953.” p. 119.

“Research promoted by the population-control lobby…openly acknowledged…[surveys were] a tool that could be used in a way “similar to any market research project: to demonstrate the existence of a demand for goods and services”…[where] demographers …were…salespeople…” p. 154.

“Eugenicist Frederick Osborn [held] the chief administrative position in the Population Council. …Perhaps…chosen because his experience in propaganda as the head of the U.S. Army and Air Force Information and Education Division during World War II…” p. 159.

Eugenicists and Planned Parenthood wanted to destroy the family unit to advance their ideology, “Germaine Greer quotes demographer Kingsley Davis’s testimony before the House Select Committee on Population in 1978: “If you want to adopt very extreme means of controlling fertility I can immediately think of some, such as breaking down the family system, for example, by not giving children the family name of the parents; in fact not letting them know who the parents are and vice versa. Soon the motivation for having children would be seriously reduced.”” p. 176.

Franks quotes Margaret Sanger, 1926, “[A]sk the government to first take off the burdens of the insane and feebleminded from your backs. Sterilization for these is the remedy.” p. 179

When one group is designated inferior and stripped of its rights, all marginalized persons–and always women and girls–are thereby endangered; this is the vital lesson that the history of eugenics can teach feminism.” p. 183.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes pre-judges as in the theme of the movie Minority Report, and Franks quotes, “It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crimes or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…Three generations of imbeciles is enough.” p. 183.

“Margaret Sanger demonstrated the depth of her allegiance to the eugenic party line by advocating the sterilization of all “defectives.” p. 187.

Planned Parenthood’s “Guttmacher believed being poor was a sufficient indication for the permanent removal of fertility.” p. 190.

In chapter seven Franks begins Selling Out the Sisterhood, with a quote from Linda Beglio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, “Screw the patients, spend your money on politics.” Cited by Alfred F. Moran, PPFA Annual Meeting, October 31, 1981. p. 203.

“Poor women have come to be looked upon simply as “at-risk reproducers”…a flattening of female identify…” p. 204

Children reduce discretionary spending, “Which will you choose, progeny or purchasing power?” p. 236.

To Margaret Sanger, “Human beings (and, therefore, women) do not have an innate dignity. They are like a commodity that loses its value when the market is flooded. These worthless people in turn became the ignorant, idle, impoverished class. Thus, “woman has, through her reproductive ability, founded and perpetuated the tyrannies of the Earth.” p. 241.

Margaret Sanger writes,

By all means there should be no children when mother (or father) suffers from such diseases as tuberculosis, gonorrhea…cancer…or mental disorders…no more children should be born when the parents, though healthy themselves, find that their children are physically or mentally defective. No matter how much they desire children, no man and woman have a right to bring into the world those who are sure to suffer from mental or physical affliction. It condemns the child to a life of misery and places upon the community the burden of caring for them, probably of their defective descendants for many generations. p. 242.

Angela Franks quotes Germaine Greer,

All the time women have been agitating for freedom and self-determination they have been coming more and more under a kind of control that they cannot even protest against. Feminists used to demand the right to to control by others.; what we got was the duty to submit our bodies to control by others. Much of what is done to women in the name of health has no rationale beyond control.” p. 249

In the Chapter Notes Angela Franks writes about herself, “My perspective is that of a feminist (that is, one with a special commitment to furthering justice for women)…” p.259.

In addition to abandoning her children, Margaret Sanger may not have been much of a mother nor much of a cook, “she always burned the cocoa.” p. 261.

“Sanger honestly states her distaste for the poor, a standard component of basic eugenic attitude: “I hated the wretchedness and hopelessness of the poor, and never experienced the satisfaction in working among them that so many noble women have found.”” p. 263.

“It should be noted that Sanger never worked as a professional social worker.” p. 273.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

Margaret Sanger and KKK salute.jpg

09 Dec


Margaret Sanger, Quotes from The Pivot of Civilization

December 9, 2009 | By |


Margaret Sanger has become a parody

of feminism and Planned Parenthood,

“I accepted an invitation to talk

to the women’s branch

of the Ku Klux Klan” from her Autobiography

Authenticity of photo not verified

We prefer the policy of immediate sterilization… p 35

“[O]rganized…charity…reveals…a defect. [Where] organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease.” p. 38.

The theme of The Pivot of Civilization is summed in Margaret Sanger’s fifth chapter, “The Cruelty of Charity.” p.37. A “debauch of sentimentalism…” p.38.

“[S]chools for the blind, deaf and mute…our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost …of this dead weight of human waste.” p. 39.


The Pivot of Civilization by Margaret Sanger was published by Brentano’s, New York, in 1922. The introduction was graciously provided by H. G. Wells, one of Sanger’s numerous sex partners.

The Dedication is written by another lover, Havelock Ellis.

“This book['s]…central challenge is that civilization is based upon the control…of Sex.” Sex is capitalized in the original. p. 1.

Later Sanger expands the challenge to “Hunger and Sex.” Capitalizations in original. p.1.

Sanger gushes of “…women fired with the glorious vision of a new world…emancipated…a Utopian world,– it glowed in romantic colors…” p. 2.

Margaret Sanger “was driven to ask whether this urging power of sex [not capitalized this time]…was not…responsible…for the widespread misery of our world.” p. 3.

“…Civilization could not solve the problem of Hunger until it recognized the titanic strength of the sexual instinct.” p. 3.

Sanger quotes Lecky, “The greatest of all evils in politics is power without control.” p. 5.

Sanger enjoyed the endorsement of “The neo-Malthusian movement in Great Britain [who] came to our support.” p. 5.

Sanger tells us that “Official moralists” are responsible for the presence of “the moron and the imbecile…” p. 6.

“The lack of balance between the birth-rate of the “unfit” and the “fit,”…the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. The… inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken, [present the need] to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.” p. 9.

This menace demands action, “Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon American society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupid, cruel sentimentalism.” p. 9.

This is Sanger’s religion and gives us her book title-theme, “To effect the salvation of the generations of the future…[for] the formation of a code of sexual ethics…[where] we shall best be serving the pivotal interests of civilization.” p. 9.

“We must temper our emotion and enthusiasm with the impersonal determination of science.” p. 9. Except, perhaps, if science contradicts abortion as Cecile Richards, current president of Planned Parenthood, demands.

Margaret Sanger has an odd definition of Motherhood. It is not a calling. It is not fulfillment of womanhood. It is not joy. “Motherhood, which is not only the oldest but the most important profession…has received few of the benefits of civilization.” p. 10. Indeed Sanger believes that Motherhood is little different from the other “oldest profession” as commonly understood. (See “[P]rostitution legalized by the marriage ceremony.” Woman and the New Race p.112)

Sanger seemingly longs for an ancient, simpler age where, “[P]rimative tribes were rude enough and severe enough to prevent the unhealthy growth of sentimentality, and to discourage the irresponsible production of defective children…[the] results of uncontrolled breeding” p. 10-11.

Much like her modern liberal sisters, Margaret Sanger has a dark interpretation of woman and child. “One searches in vain for some picture of sacred motherhood…[where] chance parenthood [causes] the great social problems of feeble-mindedness, crime and syphilis…[birthed by] slaved-mothers ” p. 12-13.

Sanger was an active supporter of the junk-science of eugenics in the early 1900′s. “[T]he Galton Laboratory for Great Britain, show[ed that] an abnormally high rate of fertility is usually associated with poverty, filth, disease, feeblemindedness and a high infant mortality rate.” p. 16.

Margaret Sanger does not want the government nor philanthropies nor charities to “[A]ssume the responsibility of keeping your [unplanned] babies alive….They tacitly assume that all parenthood is desirable, that all children should be born, and that infant mortality can be controlled by external aid.” p.17.

Sanger sets the stage for the abortion and infanticide debate in our time, “In truth, unfortunate babies who depart [die] during their first twelve months are more fortunate in many respects than those who survive to undergo punishment for their parents’ cruel ignorance and complacent fecundity [the ability to reproduce].” p. 18.

Margaret Sanger, working with the unions, wanted fewer children to keep labor wages high and to keep children out of the labor market. “[C]heap childhood is the inevitable result of chance parenthood. Child labor is organically bound up with the problem of uncontrolled breeding and the large family.” p. 19.

Sanger writes of the “[P]ure American stock” uninfected by immigrant genes. p. 23.

Parents are the epitome of, “[S]inister selfishness…who bring babies into the world to become child-slaves.” p. 23.

The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, quotes approvingly of the National Child Labor Committee, that writes, “It is not only through the lowered power, the stunting and the moral degeneration of its individual members, but in actual expense, through the necessary provision for the human junk, created by…charitable organizations.” p. 24 [Emphasis mine. Quote is attributed to the National Child Labor Committee by Sanger.]

Sanger knew that family size limitation needed the authority figures of physicians and African-American clergy to implement an incremental strategy to stop the “imbeciles” and “Negros” from having children. Here Sanger seems to advocate abortion, not merely contraception,

There is but one practical and feasible program in handling the great problem of the feeble-minded. That is, as the best authorities are agreed [medical doctors], to prevent the birth of those who would transmit imbecility to their descendants…Modern conditions of civilization…furnish the most favorable breeding-ground for the mental defective, the moron, the imbecile. p. 28

“[T]he progress of civilization and of human expression has been hindered and held back by this burden of the imbecile and the moron.” p. 32.

“[T]he menace of the moron…” is harmful also because, “[T]here is a point at which philanthropy may become positively dysgenic [or cacogenics -- the study of factors producing the...perpetuation of defective... genes and traits in offspring], when charity is converted into injustice to the self-supporting citizen, into positive injury to the future of the race.” p. 34

Here sums the Margaret Sanger world view and her course of action,

The emergency problem of segregation and sterilization must be face immediately. Every feeble-minded girl or woman of the hereditary type, especially of the moron class, should be segregated during the reproductive period. Otherwise, she is almost certain to bear imbecile children, who in turn are just as certain to breed other defectives…p. 35

The Sanger final solution,

[W]hen we realize that each feeble-minded person is a potential source of an endless progeny, we prefer the policy of immediate sterilization, of making sure that parenthood [planned or not] is absolutely prohibited to the feeble-minded. p. 35

“Eugenics seems to me to be valuable in its…diagnostic aspects…seeking to re-establish the dominance of the healthy strain over the unhealthy…over the unfit [retarded]” p. 36

Chapter V is entitled, “The Cruelty of Charity,” p.37. Margaret Sanger begins the chapter with an approving quote from Herbert Spencer,

Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good is extreme cruelty. It is a deliberate storing up of miseries for future generations. There is no greater curse to prosperity than that of bequeathing them an increasing population of imbeciles.

“[O]rganized…charity…reveals…a defect. [Where] organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease.” Margaret Sanger continues,

Those vast, complex, interrelated organizations aiming to control and to diminish the spread of misery and destitution and all the menacing evils that spring out of this sinisterly fertile soil, are the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and is perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents. My criticism, therefore, is not directed at the “failure” of philanthropy, but rather at its success. p. 38.

“These dangers…in…humanitarianism…produce their full harvest of human waste…[by] the Salvation Army [and its] debauch of sentimentalism…” p.38.

This debauchery includes, “[S]chools for the blind, deaf and mute…our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost …of this dead weight of human waste.” p. 39.

“Such “benevolence”… conceals a stupid cruelty…” p. 40.

And “The most serious charge that can be brought against modern “benevolence” is that it encourages the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents and dependents.” p. 43.

“[T]oday’s disorder and danger…is fundamentally a sexual problem.” p. 45.

“[S]entimental charities, which sprang up like mushrooms, only tended to increase the evils of discriminant breeding.” p. 46.

“Eugenic thus aims to seek out the root of our trouble…cleaning itself of inherent defects…hereditable taints…feeble-minded…breeding an ever-increasing army of under-sized, stuntedand dehumanized slaves…” p. 61.

Margaret Sanger believes that eugenics is necessary to stop, “Insanity, criminality and tuberculosis…” p. 63.

So how does Margaret Sanger want society stop this? “The…feeble-minded…should be…prevented from propagating their kind.” p. 63.

Sanger tells us, “We want, most of all, genius.” p. 64.

But, “Eugenics is chiefly valuable in its negative aspects.” p. 65.

“Eugenics…[with] clear thinking [will provide] the means to racial health.” p. 66.

“[R]ational selection must take the place of natural selection…” p. 71.

Margaret Sanger demands to stop “[T]he hypocrisy of the well-to-do, who are willing to contribute generously to charities and philosophies, who spend thousands annually in the upkeep and sustenance of the delinquent, the defective and the dependent…” p.73.

Margaret Sanger gives voice to the modern pro-abortion feminist, “Woman’s power can only be expressed …when she refuses the task of bringing unwanted children into the world…” p. 73.

Margaret Sanger provides marriage counseling, “More marriages fail from inadequate and clumsy sex love than from too much sex love.” p. 75.

New Age religion is not new. Margaret Sanger is a foremother to Shirley MacLaine. We need not look to “the illusion of some extra-terrestrial Heaven.” No, “The Kingdom of Heaven is in a very definite sense within us.”

Sanger opens Chapter X: Science the Ally begins by quoting Robert G. Ingersoll,

“Science must make woman the owner, the mistress of herself. Science [is] the only possible savior of mankind.” p. 78.

Margaret Sanger wants to, “Remove the moral taboos…[and] free the individual from the slavery of tradition.” p. 82.

“Our approach opens to us a fresh scale of values… [that] frees the mind of sexual prejudice and taboo.” p. 86.

Margaret Sanger says that people should all, “[A]wakened to the realization that the source of life, of happiness, is to be found not outside themselves, but within…” p. 94.

“Our great problem is… to remodel the race…” p. 95.

Margaret Sanger displays little empathy,

Every single case of inherited defect, every malformed child, every congenitally tainted human being brought into this world is of infinite importance to that poor individual; but it is of scarcely less importance to the rest of us and to all of our children who must pay in one way or another for these biological and racial mistakes. p.96.

Sanger has a spiritual mission and concludes in the same God-less, New Age religion reference as in her book Woman and the New Race, “[H]ere close at hand is our paradise…our Heavenly and our eternity…we must seek the secret of eternal life.” p. 97


Thank you (foot)notes:

[Update] The “progressive” philosophy of Margaret Sanger continues to this day. Alert (liberal) Reader milo9 writes, “I’m delightfully surprised that you’re wearing your greed on your sleeves [of requesting a donation to a non-profit]. Such honesty is rarely seen on the Right.” The Sanger premise that donations to charity are a misplaced greed is a tenet of the liberal mind-set.

Link photo credit to Jill Stanek and The Truth About Margaret Sanger.

Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

This work of Margaret Sanger does not have a copyright. The page numbering is from The Echo Library 2006 edition, Complete text at the jump.

Jack Cashill has an outstanding review of The Pivot of Civilization in World Net Daily.

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