Margaret Sanger

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Margaret Sanger and her two sons.

Margaret Sanger (born: September 14, 1879; died: September 6, 1966) was an American feminist and eugenics activist who founded the American Birth Control League. She retired in 1940 and the organization eventually became Planned Parenthood. Her main success was in bringing discussions of Birth Control into the public arena. She argued that a major reason to promote birth control was to stop abortions. She was vigorously denounced by the Catholic Church because of her position on birth control.

Contents

Feminism

Sanger argued for woman's liberation from the domination of men. She advocated economic independence and withdrawal from the traditional family unit, particularly marriage. She wrote “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.” [1] (see self-realization).

Birth control activism

Margaret Sanger coined the term "birth control". In October of 1916, Sanger opened and (illegally) operated the first birth control clinic in the United States, in Brooklyn, New York. It was raided by the police, and shut down. Sanger was sentenced to 30 days imprisonment for distributing contraceptives, which were illegal at the time.

Margaret Sanger Award

Planned Parenthood annually gives awards to those who support them and the top award they give is called The Margaret Sanger Award.[2][3] Alan Guttmacher, who was a President of Planned Parenthood from 1962 to 1974 and who was also former Vice-President of the American Eugenics Society,[4][5] stated: "We are merely walking down the path that Ms. Sanger has carved out for us." [6][7] Similarly, Faye Wattleton, who was the president of Planned Parenthood until 1992, stated that she was "proud" to be "walking in the footsteps" of Margaret Sanger.[8]

Eugenics and racism

Margaret Sanger campaigned for eugenic controls to enforce what she called "race hygiene" and was a member of the American Eugenics Society and the English Eugenics Society.[9][10][11]

Margaret Sanger associated with racists[12] and in 1926, she was the guest speaker at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Silverlake, New Jersey.[13]

Statements by Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger Statements
"The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it." [14]
"The mass of significant Negroes, particularly in the South, still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes, even more than among whites, is [in] that portion of the population least intelligent and fit and least able to rear children properly." - Margaret Sanger - The "Negro Project" quoting W.E.B. DuBois with the omission of one word [15]
"Before eugenicists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed,

they must first clear the way for Birth Control. Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenicists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods. …"[16]

"Organized charity is itself the symptom of a malignant social disease. 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" - Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization [NY: Brentano's, 1922], p. 108).[17]
"To each group we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way—no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun."[18]
In Margaret Sanger's book The Pivot of Civilization she also called for the elimination of "human weeds," for the segregation of "morons, misfits, and maladjusted," and for the sterilization of "genetically inferior races." [19]

References

  1. [1]
  2. Allan Rosenfield Receives the Reproductive Rights Movement's Highest Honor - Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Margaret Sanger Award
  3. PPFA Margaret Sanger Award Winners
  4. What is Roe v. Wade?
  5. Eugenics Watch
  6. What the Facts Reveal About Planned Parenthood
  7. The Inherent Racism of Population Control By Paul Jalsevac
  8. The Inherent Racism of Population Control By Paul Jalsevac
  9. http://www.all.org/abac/contents.txt
  10. http://www.lifeadvocate.org/1_98/feature.htm
  11. Angry White Female: Margaret Sanger's Race of Thoroughbreds
  12. Peterson 2007
  13. Peterson 2007 citing Douglas 1970, p. 192
  14. Sanger 1920, p. 63, see also Transcript.
  15. http://www.jstor.org/view/00147354/di975884/97p14282/1?frame=noframe&userID=80cdbf34@buffalo.edu/01cce4406300501bbf062&dpi=3&config=jstor
  16. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/hypatia/v022/22.2sanger.html
  17. http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/socl/socialconcerns/ThePivotofCivilization/chap6.html
  18. Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography (1938) p. 217 online
  19. Who Was Margaret Sanger

Sources

  • Douglas, Emily Taft (1970), Margaret Sanger; Pioneer of the Future, New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston
  • Peterson, Jefferis Kent (2007), Abortion - A Liberal Cause?, Erik Rauch (MIT) Retrieved on 2007-07-25
  • Sanger, Margaret (1920), Women and the New Race, New York, NY: Truth Publishing Company Facsimile retrieved on 2007-07-24
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