Margaret Sanger (1879-1966, though her birth year is sometimes listed as 1883) has gone down in history as a worker for women’s health rights. Her mother birthed 11 children suffering with the birth of each new child. Margaret became a nurse and worked with the poor on the Lower East Side of New York City. There she saw first hand the results of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. These were Margaret’s motivating factors for her activism concerning the importance of women’s lives, health and birth control. Margaret is even credited with inventing the term “birth control.” She is well known as the founder of Planned Parenthood, a major provider of women’s health care, including abortion.
The Comstock Act of 1873 had outlawed the dispersal of information and materials to promote birth control across the country. Because she saw women suffering not only through childbirth, but living in poverty due to large families, she began distributing birth control information and devices in 1912. This is when she gave up nursing to devote herself to the struggle of informing women about choices in procreation. She also started to write articles in a Socialist newspaper, The Call. She collected articles and information for this newspaper concerning women’s health issues.
In 1913 she went to Europe. Upon her return, she established a newspaper, Woman Rebel. At this time, she was indicted for distributing obscenities through the mail under the Comstock Act and she left America for Europe. The court dropped the charges and she returned to America to create The National Birth Control League in 1914. When she returned to Europe, she turned the workings of this foundation over to Mary Ware Dennett and other prominent women in the birth control movement. Ms. Dennett and Sanger later became opponents in the birth control movement, Sanger being the more ruthless and controlling personality while Dennett was civil and worked through legal channels to bring about change within the United States concerning birth control.
In 1916, the first birth control clinic in the United States was set up by Sanger. For her many protests and resulting arrests against the established philosophy and laws concerning birth control, she spent time in “workhouses.” Her activities led to the laws being changed and doctors being able to not only talk to their patients about birth control, but to be able to pass out devices to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
When Sanger published Birth Control Review in 1917, she wrote an editorial, “How Shall We Change the Law?” pointing out the law in New York State that outlawed doctors and other health providers from distributing contraceptives and items that prevented pregnancy except in those cases that the medicine would cure a disease. In this editorial, she proposed a bill to the Assembly of New York State that would free doctors to enlighten women and distribute contraceptive devices to them. The proposed bill would include Doctors, nurses and midwives. The bill was not adopted.
Ms. Sanger continued to be energetic in the area of informing people about Women’s Health and in 1927 she helped to launch the first World Population Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. This organization went through many growing pains including the American Birth Control League which emerged as the Planned Parenthood Federation in 1942.
The Birth of Eugenics
Eugenics as a stated theory was based in evolution. In fact, in 1883 Darwin’s cousin, the English scientist Sir Francis Galton, first coined the phrase from the Greek words for “good birth.” His belief was that “undesirables” of the human race should be stopped from procreation due to their hereditary impact on natural selection. Genetics was not fully understood at this time and Darwin’s theory of Evolution introduced not only natural selection, but survival of the fittest. Galton created a science from these theories.
Galton established a research chair in eugenics at the University of London in 1904. In 1905, Dr. Alfred Ploetz and Dr. Ernst Rudin founded the Gesellschaft f½r Rassenhygiene or Society of Race-Hygiene in Germany. The First International Eugenics Congress was held was held at London University in 1912. Representatives came from a number of nations, and this congress demonstrated the growing strength of the movement especially in England, Germany and the United States.
Eugenics has all but been eradicated from our history books and is just now being revived as worthy of historic studies. But in the early 1900’s, it was a very popular idea which was embraced by educators as well as intellectuals. Eugenics as a science was pervasive in our society at that time. It has left its vestigial footprint on our society and our philosophy. At the time eugenics was making its way through our educational system and our philosophical system, laws were made in several States that mandated forced sterilization. Eugenics was also used to point out “inferior” races and call for their elimination. The Negro was a prime target.
I believe that Margaret Sanger learned the principles of eugenics while in nursing school as well as from the educated people she associated with in Europe of the early 1900’s.
Margaret Sanger and Eugenics
Margaret Sanger wrote the following: “Birth control is thus the entering wedge for the Eugenic educator … the unbalance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit’ is admittedly the greatest present menace to civilisation … The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.” Sanger, Margaret, Birth Control Review, October 1921 p.5
The driving force of the science of eugenics was social prejudice and often attributed social differences to genetics rather than as a product of race and class. In 1907, Indiana passed the first law mandating sterilization for “mental defectives.” In 1909, California passed laws mandating sterilization of people deemed unfit by the courts and social services. The result? Over 1600 “hereditarily diseased offspring” sterilized. And the number increased as the years went on.
Sanger was not only a proponent of birth control, but was also an advocate of abortion. She was a speaker at a women’s branch of the KKK meeting in Silver Lake, New Jersey in 1929. There she extolled the proposal of limiting Black reproduction. A great deal of the fear of the KKK was a result of the freeing of slaves after the War Between the States. The KKK was an organization that purported the superiority of the white race. Also proposed by Sanger was the limiting of births to recent immigrants from Europe. These immigrants were mostly poor and illiterate.
The following are some of her quotes concerning Blacks and immigrants:
On Blacks, immigrants and indigents:
“…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.” Margaret Sanger, Pivot of Civilization, referring to immigrants and poor people.
On sterilization & racial purification:
Sanger believed that, for the purpose of racial “purification,” couples should be rewarded who chose sterilization. Birth Control in America, The Career of Margaret Sanger.
On the right of married couples to bear children:
Couples should be required to submit applications to have a child, she wrote in her “Plan for Peace.” Birth Control Review, April 1932
On the purpose of birth control:
The purpose in promoting birth control was “to create a race of thoroughbreds,” she wrote in the Birth Control Review, Nov. 1921 (p. 2)
On the rights of the handicapped and mentally ill, and racial minorities:
“More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.” Birth Control Review, May 1919, p. 12
On the extermination of Blacks:
“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she said, “if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon
“Criminal’ abortions arise from a perverted sex relationship under the stress of economic necessity, and their greatest frequency is among married women.” The Woman Rebel – No Gods, No Masters, May 1914, Vol. 1, No. 3.
“I cannot refrain from saying that women must come to recognize there is some function of womanhood other than being a child-bearing machine.” What Every Girl Should Know, by Margaret Sanger (Max Maisel, Publisher, 1915)
“The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” Margaret Sanger, Women and the New Race (Eugenics Publ. Co., 1920, 1923)
On mandatory sterilization of the poor:
One of Sanger’s greatest influences, sexologist/eugenicist Dr. Havelock Ellis (with whom she had an affair, leading to her divorce from her first husband), urged mandatory sterilization of the poor as a prerequisite to receiving any public aid. The Problem of Race Regeneration, by Havelock Ellis, p. 65, in Margaret Sanger: Father of Modern Society, p. 18.
She not only advocated birth control and abortion, but wanted it mandated for particular categories of people.
Sanger’s appearance at the KKK meeting (I can only find reference to one meeting that she spoke at) resulted in invitations to speak at other KKK meetings. In her autobiography, she talks about her speech in Silver Lake, New Jersey. She describes how she received the invitation, the instructions she got on how to get to the site of the meeting, her surreptitous meeting with the driver of the car that transported her stealthily to the meeting place and how she waited for several hours before being invited into the room where the meeting was being held. She got along well with the women at this meeting. Though she did not develop her “Negro Program” until 1939, she was already framing it. No doubt, the women at the KKK assembly received her proposals with enthusiasm.
In December of 1910, she wrote a letter Dr. Clarence Gamble and she referred to her scheme for the elimination of the Black race:
“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.” (See Blessed Are The Barren The Social Policy of Planned Parenthood by Robert Marshall and Charles Donovan, Ignatius Press, 1991, pages 17-18.)
Her reference to “minister” referred to her plan to reach out to pastors of different Christian denominations in order to convince them to adopt her agenda and to lead their flocks to the killing fields.
In 1939 when the organization “American Birth Control League” changed its name to the “Birth Control Federation of America,” Sanger created the “Negro Project” in its entirety. Margaret wanted to restrict the birth rate of the Black population through the façade of “better health” and “family planning.” Many Blacks of the elite Negro population, those who were better educated and well to do, were taken in by her rhetoric. The ABCL used Sanger’s “Birth Control Review” in order to promote their agenda through articles concerning eugenics.
In 1929, the ABCL opened a birth control clinic in Harlem, a predominantly Black area of New York City. This was at the start of the Great Depression and Blacks were severely affected by high numbers of unemployment as well as being subjected to racial discrimination. Blacks looking for relief from their circumstances flocked to the clinic to receive birth control information and devices as well as treatment for health issues. The clinic was free to clients and was supported by many private foundations. Even though the Clinic worked with whites, it was founded to help the Black population of Harlem. From the clinic’s own records, the following were used to justify the clinic’s work with Blacks in Harlem:
…were segregated in an over-populated area (224,760 of 330,000 of greater New York’s Black population lived in Harlem during the late 1920s and 1930s);
…comprised 12 percent of New York City’s population, but accounted for 18.4 percent of New York City’s unemployment;
…had an infant mortality rate of 101 per 1000 births, compared to 56 among whites;
…had a death rate from tuberculosis—237 per 100,000—that was highest in central Harlem, out of all of New York City. The Harlem Clinic 1929 file, MSCLC.
Sanger suggested that the solution to the difficulty Blacks found themselves in was to limit population growth and she suggested that the solution to poverty and degradation due to racial prejudice was birth control. Black civic groups in Harlem were convinced by Sanger that the solution to these problems was better health by reducing births in the Black residents in order to allow mothers to recover after giving birth physically and fathers financially. “With their cooperation, and the endorsement of The Amsterdam News (a prominent Black newspaper), Sanger established the Harlem branch of the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau.” (Letter from Sanger to Dr. W. E. Burghardt DuBois, 11 November 1930, New York, MSCLC. DuBois served as director of research for the NAACP and as the editor of its publication, The Crisis, until 1934.) (http://www.citizenreviewonline.org/special_issues/population/the_negro_project.htm)
Using well-known Black leaders, Sanger convinced the Black community in Harlem that birth control was the panacea to all their problems. Knowing that the Black population would be leery of white members being placed on an advisory council for the clinic, Sanger convinced esteemed members of the Black community to sit on the board.
She also enlisted the largest church in Harlem, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, to endorse birth control as a means for Blacks to exit poverty. She was a speaker at a large gathering which resulted in condemnation of Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., the pastor of the church. The debates unleashed by the clinic and the meeting at the church resulted in open dialogue concerning birth control as a means to improve living conditions and exit poverty. There were educated Blacks that embraced eugenics. One of these was the prominent figure of Charles S. Johnson, the first Black president of Fisk University. He promoted “eugenic discrimination” among Blacks in order to lower the statistics of death for mothers and babies during childbirth as well as other diseases that permeated the community, and to improve Blacks’ economic conditions. (Charles S. Johnson, “A Question of Negro Health,” The Birth Control Review, June 1932, 167-169.) Other prominent members of the Black community were swayed by the conversations resulting from these circumstances and they embraced the concepts promoted by Johnson, Sanger and Powell.
With this legacy within the Black Community, Planned Parenthood has proven to be the vehicle for the extermination of the Black Race. Reverend Johnny M. Hunter, President of L.E.A.R.N. (Life Education and Resource Network), the largest Black Pro-Life organization in America, has stated:
“We do not want our people to perish because of ignorance. Ignorance and apathy has hindered the proper response to the main destroyer of our future and the child. The single biggest threat to the survival of children, especially children of color, is imposed death by induced abortion,” said Rev. Hunter. “The African American community alone has lost over 12,000,000 people due to this most racist act. In the United States, over 36,000,000 human beings have been unjustly destroyed and the numbers are getting worse by the addition of over 4,000 more deaths each day.” (http://www.operationrescue.org/archives/rev-johnny-hunter-named-operation-rescues-man-of-the-year/)
In 1999 at a demonstration by Blacks on the steps of the Supreme Court protesting Brown vs. the Board of Education and Roe vs. Wade, Johnny M. Hunter, the organizer of the demonstration stated: “We have become victims of genocide by our own hands.” Reverend Hunter and his organization were protesting the lopsided higher numbers of abortions in the Black community.
The decision in Brown vs. Board of Education caused Black children to be bussed out of their neighborhood schools in order to “integrate” the educational system. The results of bussing are evident in our scholastic statistics. Many Blacks believe that children were receiving a better education in the predominantly Black schools and that bussing has caused racial tension. Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion in all states making it easier and cheaper for women to obtain abortions.
There are people who believe that abortion is a civil right under our Constitution and this misconception has muddied the waters of the discussion within our legal system concerning abortion and the right to life.” Civil rights’ doesn’t mean anything without a right to life!” declared Hunter.
Sanger and Other Eugenicists
The ideology of eugenics permeated the higher levels of society in the white and Black community of America and Europe. Sanger is connected historically to many eugenicists of her time, the most well known being Hitler, who admired her policies. When Jews were desperately trying to enter the USA to avoid Hitler’s showers and ovens, Sanger was supportive of an Immigration Law that would reduce the quota numbers of immigrants. Progressives such as Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR were proponents of eugenics. George Bernard Shaw defended Hitler and called for the development of a gas to exterminate undesirables in Germany 10 years before the Nazis did just that. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., one of the most distinguished Justices on the Supreme Court, in Buck vs. Bell stated “Three generations of imbeciles is enough,” and Carrie Buck was involuntarily sterilized. Many prominent people of the time embraced eugenics as a beneficial ideology to be put into practice whenever and where ever possible.
Statistics Related to Black Abortions
Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a Supreme Court Justice, made the following comment on the Roe vs. Wade decision:
“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”
Today there is an appointed official that holds Margaret Sanger as an icon of progressivism. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was awarded the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood in 2009. Upon receiving the award from Planned Parenthood in 2009, she stated:
“The 20th century reproductive rights movement, really embodied in the life and leadership of Margaret Sanger, was one of the most transformational in the entire history of the human race. It has changed the lives of tens of millions of women. It has changed attitudes and perceptions about women and our roles in society. It ushered in demographic and social changes that have brought us closer to gender equality than at any time.
Yet we know that Margaret Sanger’s work here in the United States and certainly across our globe is not done. Here at home, there are still too many women who are denied their rights because of income, because of opposition, because of attitudes that they harbor. But around the world, too many women are denied even the opportunity to know about how to plan and space their families. They are denied the power to do anything about the most intimate of decisions.”
“And when I think about what she did all those years ago in Brooklyn, taking on archetypes, taking on attitudes and accusations flowing from all directions, I am really in awe of her.”
The following comment was made by Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, which is a Pro-Life organization in response to Hillary Clinton’s pronouncement:
“If Secretary Clinton were fully aware of the eugenicist past of Margaret Sanger, I cannot believe that she would be accepting an award in her name. It is in fact shocking that the award still bear’s Sanger’s name.”
Hillary Clinton has made birth control one of the major thrusts of her State Department. While foreign countries are building weapons of war and potential enemies are gearing up to go into outer space, women’s reproductive rights has taken a front row seat in our embassies.
Planned Parenthood clinics are responsible for the majority of abortions in America. 78% of their clinics are in the poorer areas of cities, mostly populated by Blacks. The Black population is on the decline and is the only minority that is not replacing itself. A 2006 Census report indicates the 1.97 replacement rate is below the 2.1 rate that is necessary for restoration of the population. More and more Black babies are being aborted than born. In New York City for every 1000 live births, there are 1489 babies that are aborted.
The percentage of Black abortions in the country is 35% even though the percentage of the population that is Black is only 13%; it is deduced that Black women comprise 7% of the whole population. In other words, Blacks who make up only 1/8th of the population in America receive over 1/3rd of the abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Black women abort their children at five times the rate of White women and twice the rate of Hispanics.
Sanger’s and Planned Parenthood’s intended design through Sanger’s Negro Project is coming to fruition. Pro-Life Blacks are becoming more and more vocal about the abortion problem in their communities and they are becoming more aware of the role that Margret Sanger and Planned Parenthood have played in this genocide. President Lyndon B. Johnson, through his Great Society programs, has aided in the break up of the Black family which in turn has contributed to the high numbers of Blacks having abortions.
“But this is a silent killer among African Americans. We don’t talk about it. Millions of African Americans – including the black media – don’t know the statistics on this. We think, abortion must be a thing for white people because they are the only ones talking about it.” (Day Gardner, director of the National Black Pro-Life Union)
Society is judged by the way they treat their most vulnerable citizens.