Talk:Margaret Sanger

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Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton, is an author of fiction and a non-practicing MD—is he really a proper source for historical quotes? I think not. I would, therefore, argue in favor of removing the last paragraph from this page unless better sourcing for these quotes can be found.--Reginod 10:17, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

That's the kind of censorship I came here to avoid. Wikipedians made the same argument, but I don't buy it.
On what grounds do you reject the quote?
  1. Writing fiction discredits all non-fiction written by an author.
    • Bio-chemist (and science fiction author) Isaac Asimov wrote a History of Chemistry which I read as a teen. Bad source, right?
  2. When an MD stops practicing or never even starts, he forgets everything he learned at university and his degree becomes worthless.
In your reply, please refer to the numbered list above. --Ed Poor 10:41, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

First, I am not censoring anything – Michael Crichton’s views are appropriate to place on his entry, I am simply suggesting he is not a good source for Margaret Sanger’s views, I didn’t delete the quote I simply asked that someone justify Crichton as a source or that a better source for the quote be found or that the quote be removed. So please do not accuse me of censorship. If I were a censor I would have simply deleted the quote and moved on.
As to your points I do not reject the quote for either of the reasons you suggest that I am rejecting the quotes. I am saying the two qualifications Chichton has are popular fiction author and non-practicing MD—this means that he would be a good source on writing, the publishing industry, how to provide publicity for a book (etc.), and he would be a good source for those things one would learn in earning an MD during the time period he was earning his MD (this rules out, for example, modern practice in dealing with premature births as that technology has greatly changed since he earned his degree—but does not rule out how to set a broken arm). What Sanger said is not in his area of expertise, not in either of them.
So I am rejecting the quote for reason number 3 (not 1 or 2—both of which, you are quite right are bad reasons to reject a statement):
3. What Margaret Sanger said is not in Michael Chrichton’s field of expertise and he, therefore, is not a proper source for what she said.
If she said what Chrichton claims she did a better source can be found, if a better source cannot be found it should be removed. --Reginod 10:57, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for taking the time to clarify your remarks. Returning the favor, let me point out that I do not consider you a "censor" - I was perhaps unclear about that. I meant that removing the quote 'would be' censorship.

I appreciate you listing your grounds for removal of this passage:

According to Michael Crichton, Sanger was a supporter of eugenics. He quotes her as having said, "Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good is an extreme cruelty … there is no greater curse to posterity than that of bequeathing them an increasing population of imbeciles." [1]

Crichton also writes that 'She spoke of the burden of caring for "this dead weight of human waste."' [2]

But "not in Michael Chrichton’s field of expertise" doesn't seem like a good enough reason. Everything in the passage is easily checked. Would you like to dig into this matter, and tell us whether Crichton was right and/or whether I've cited him properly?

The points in question are:

  1. Was Margaret Sanger a supporter of eugenics?
  2. Did she say "Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good is an extreme cruelty … there is no greater curse to posterity than that of bequeathing them an increasing population of imbeciles."?

If you've got time, we could sure use your help on this. It could even turn into a guideline on Use of quoted material. :-) --Ed Poor 11:12, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

  1. That Margaret Sanger

Thank you for the reply and the clarification.
I’ll take a stab at researching these quotes, but I want to suggest that you are misplacing the burden of proof. If you (or anyone else) is going to say that someone said, “X”, then the burden to prove that the person did indeed say “X” should be on the person making the claim. To meet this burden I would suggest that the person asserting the quote should have to point to an eyewitness account, a text written or signed by the person in question, a newspaper report, a history text, or some other reliable source for historical information. I think that is the standard that should be applied to all quotations.
I worry that a more relaxed standard—like the one you are proposing here (I take it that you are suggesting that so long as I can find a person (or possibly a person who has some degree of education or a person who has an easily recognized name—I’m not sure why exactly you would accept Chrichton’s authority here) who attributes the quote to the person in question, it is acceptably posted to their article) will lead to bad information being posted in articles.
The standard I am proposing is that sources have to be roughly what they would have to be if a person were writing their addition to the article as part of a college (or even a high school—assuming the high school is sufficiently strict) paper—a source used as a reference has to be reliable either by virtue of expertise or by virtue of it being an eyewitness account (or in the case of some newspaper articles a second hand eyewitness account). I’m not sure what standard you are proposing, but I would be very interested to know what exactly it is and why you think it is superior. --Reginod 12:01, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
A quick search finds the first quote attributed to Herbert Spencer here [3]. A bit more reaserch finds it here [4] as part of an epigram to a chapter of a book Sanger wrote. So, I would argue that it is absolutely out of contex. --Reginod 12:09, 2 April 2007 (EDT)




I'm not 100% sure why this article was in Category:Abortion. She didn't campaign for abortion in her lifetime, neither of the groups she founded supported abortion until well after she left them, and the only time she felt the need to comment on abortion was in part of campaigning against suppressing birth control (with comments along the lines of "If birth control were available mothers wouldn't have to risk their lives getting abortions" and so on).

I looked for categories for activists, eugenicists, birth control, or feminists, and found bupkis. Those seem like the most likely candidates. AManInBlack 01:08, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

Margaret Sanger founded what became Planned Paranthood, supported murdering infants in large families, argued that the African Race should be exterminated, and much of what she wanted is being worked on via planned parenthood. She is a very important figure in the history of abortion. Google returns 100K+ hits for +"Margaret Sanger" +abortion. Yeah, I see the first link is wikipedia apologetics Sanger vis-a-vis abortion, but this is conservapedia. User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 01:14, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
Can you help me out with some references to show that she argued for the legalization or legitimization of abortion, or that she advocated for the extermination of the African race? AFAICT, she argued for the marginalization and sterilization of southern and eastern European immigrants to the US, and subscribed to the then-universal school of thought that abortion was an unqualified evil. AManInBlack 01:20, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
Wow, those links are particularly unhelpful. Wikipedia is vague and mealymouthed (par for the course), there's lots of useless partisan frothing at the mouth on both sides, and there are lots of off-hand (unsourced, argh!) references to her being galvanized by the evils of abortion (again making it hard to tell between partisan frothing at the mouth and substance). *sigh* AManInBlack 01:25, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
Angry White Female: Margaret Sanger's Race of Thoroughbreds, going to add it now. User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 01:27, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
That source doesn't mention that she had any feelings on abortion, although it's helpful on her specific racial feelings. AManInBlack 01:37, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

In fact, Sanger herself on abortion:

To force poor mothers to resort to this dangerous and healthdestroying method of curtailing their families is cruel, wicked, and heartless, and it is often the mothers who care most about the welfare of their children who are willing to undergo any pain or risk to prevent the coming of infants for whom they cannot properly care.

This is something she wrote for the Woman Citizen in 1924, and is available here.

I'm having trouble seeing her as an abortion advocate, here. AManInBlack 01:48, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

  • Work together well, and in harmony! --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 01:28, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
She was an infanticide advocate. She founded what became planned parenthood, one of the if not the largest abortion provider in the U.S.. More than 10,000,000 African American fetuses (read: infants) have been aborted thanks to planned parenthood. Anyway, have at the article, I'll be back tomorrow. User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 01:51, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
She founded the American Birth Control League, which was folded into the National Birth Control League (which later became Planned Parenthood). (Saying she founded Planned Parenthood is just factually wrong, in this case. She was heavily involved in its early days, but her organization was actually subsumed by PP.) Planned Parenthood didn't perform any abortions until after Sanger's death; the Supreme Court didn't even strike down laws prohibiting contraceptive use by married couples until shortly before her death.
She was a sick person, and had some extremist, repulsive views. Let's try our best to stick to attributing to her the views she actually held, instead of the views held by those she associated with, though. AManInBlack 02:07, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
These unwanted pregnancies often provoke the crime of abortion, or alternatively multiply the number of child-workers and lower the standard of living.
- Sanger in The Pivot of Civilization
I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.
- Sanger in Woman and the New Race (Woman and the New Race has more on how to combat abortion, with an entire chapter advocating contraceptives as a means to eliminate abortion.)

How are these the words of an abortion advocate? :/ AManInBlack 02:28, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

Sanger and Abortion

Some seem to be suggesting that the link between Sanger and abortion is tenuous. Let's review:

  • Supported infanticide (read: ex post facto abortions)
  • Founded what became Planned Parenthood (a leading abortion provider)

The link between Sanger and abortion is strong. User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 01:59, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

*sigh* I was hoping that we could avoid shrillness here. She argued for infanticide, and if we were going to add a category for advocates of infanticide, I wouldn't (based on what I've read, I'm still digging) oppose it. She drew a distinction between abortion and infanticide, and opposed abortion.
As for founding Planned Parenthood (which she didn't, but that's quibbling, since she was one of its defining voices in its early years), lots of organizations become something other than what their founders want them to be. AFAICT from what sources I've read (and, please, I'd love to see some better info on her view of abortion post-1930) Planned Parenthood began dealing with abortion after her death. AManInBlack 02:07, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
I'll do some digging, but your replies sound a lot like "Muhammad did not support Jihad" (with apologies to those of the Islam faith). User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 02:10, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
I'm merely cautioning against painting an organization's founder with the anachronistic views of the organization. Think of how silly it would be to put Category:Opponents of same-sex marriage to John C. Frémont or Category:Opponents to slavery to George W. Bush. AManInBlack 02:19, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

You know, you say that she's an abortion advocate because she founded Planned Parenthood. When she founded the American Birth Control League, she stated its founding principles in The Pivot of Civilization, which is happily available on Project Gutenberg. An excerpt from these principles, emphasis added:

In addition to this grave evil we witness the appalling waste of women's health and women's lives by too frequent pregnancies. These unwanted pregnancies often provoke the crime of abortion, or alternatively multiply the number of child-workers and lower the standard of living.

In her own words, Sanger argued for birth control as a way to prevent both uncontrolled population growth and abortion. Her single admirable trait was arguing for birth control as a means for a couple to manage the growth of their family.

She was a racist and a eugenicist, not an admirable person at all. But let us be precise in describing her views and goals, instead of throwing up our hands and ascribing all vaguely-related evils to her. AManInBlack 02:36, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

  • I know both of you have worked with far more difficult people than each other (me for instance)! I am rooting for you both! :p --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 02:27, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

This is exactly what I'm talking about when I'm saying we need to avoid shrill sources and tenuous links. If you want to decry the evils of Planned Parenthood and abortion, this article and this article are the place to do it. Sanger devoted wanted to replace abortion with birth control entirely, and saw it as an unqualified evil. AManInBlack 00:02, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

People With Black Skin.....

I believe it almost universally acceptable to refer to them as "Blacks", African-Americans and people of African descent. --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 03:10, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

TK, I agree. One thing that I've wondered is why it's OK to call someone, "a person of color" but not OK to call them a "colored person"? It's the bizarre process of keeping up with labels. Scorpio 15:17, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
  • Well, will drive you mad if one attempts to keep up with current conventions, or inaccurate ones! --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 15:36, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

The Hope Clinic reference and the "propaganized" version of the lead

Hope Clinic's history of abortion is not a useful reference for this article. In particular, they even get the names of things wrong:

"1942 – Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Federation of America becomes Planned Parenthood Federation of America."

There was no Birth Control Federation of America. The National Birth Control League was founded by Mary Ware Dennett in 1915. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which folded into the NBCL to make a single group that was variously called the NBCL or ABCL until 1942, when it becomes Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

We need to be very careful about using non-historical sources - particularly the many shrill, partisan sources on both sides - in this article. There's a tendency for pro-choice people to to say "She supported legalization of birth control, so she's a champion of reproductive rights!" as well as this pro-life tendency to say "She was a racist and founded Planned Parenthood, she's a horrible babykilling monster!" when neither side is right.

Additionally, this version of the lead doesn't mention her nationality, doesn't mention her eugenics beliefs until halfway in, and uses the loaded and inaccurate term "propaganized." Near as I can tell, she just came out and said that non-white races were inferior and should be marginalized because she felt they were inferior. Arguing for a hateful, ugly idea isn't propaganda automatically. AManInBlack 19:22, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

AManInBlack, you seem to be gaming the system, attempting to marginalize Sanger's infamy, while promoting aspects (birth control) that make Sanger a liberal hero. This is conservapedia, and Sanger did start what became planned parenthood. And emphasizing this, as is emphasized in conservative circles, makes the article distinctly consrvative. Now, if you have a site that says Sanger did not start what became planned parenthood, I'm interested. But please stop with the liberal spin.
You may have other valid points, but they do not provide cover for attempting to diminish the role of Sanger in the "evolution" of the legalization of abortion. Unless you have a site that states Sanger did not start what became planned parenthood, do not mingle the liberal bias with your other edits (which I assume are productive).User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 22:57, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
I retract the above, but still need to add a few comments. Just want to add a few more points. Propaganda is unrelated to whether or not an idea is hateful. But writing books, giving speeches, and advocating and organizing is not merely arguring. You claimed that the word "discoursed" was archaic (though my dictionary doesn't support you on this.) I agree that discourse is inadequate, because it does not include her written and other non-verbal activities. We had war propaganda during WWII, and there is no need to sugar coat propaganda. "Evangelized" might be a better word, but it has connotations associated with relgion. What word do you propose.
This is conservapedia, and Sanger did start what became planned parenthood. And emphasizing this, as is emphasized in conservative circles, makes the article distinctly conservative. That it is true is not in dispute. Now, if you have a reference says Sanger had nothing to do with the organization that became planned parenthood, I'm interested. User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 23:11, 25 July 2007 (EDT)
I proposed "advocated," which has no distracting connotations and has exactly the same denotation. I also like Ed Poor's "campaigned for," which carries political connotations, which is quite accurate.
I don't plan to downplay her role in Planned Parenthood, and the first specific thing she did mentioned anywhere in the article is founding the ABCL, which merged with the NBCL to become PP. I don't think that wording is downplaying her role at all (and neglecting this role would offend any completist, of any political bent). I don't think she had no role in PP, don't be silly; she directed it for the bulk of her life. AManInBlack 23:37, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

Even according to Planned Parenthood...

From the Planned parenthood website (not a reliable source given the spin, but useful on a talk page to illustrate her role in the evolution of the modern abortion industry)...

Planned Parenthood defends Sanger (with deceit) Commentary
Margaret Sanger gained worldwide renown, respect, and admiration for founding the American birth control movement and, later, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as well as for developing and encouraging family planning efforts throughout the international community. Replace "renown, respect, and admiration" with "infamy".
Among her many visionary accomplishments as a social reformer, Sanger Sanger was a visionary...who envisioned the extermination of the "Negro race" (her words). Thanks to abortion (many liberals call it birth control) over 10,000,000 african american babies have been murdered.
*established these principles: principles is a word that should not be used to describe Sanger's creed
::*A woman's right to control her body is the foundation of her human rights Hmn, right to control her body. Where have I heard that before? Oh, wait, I remember, NARAL.
Sanger also entertained some popular ideas of her own time that are out of keeping with our thinking today. This fact sheet is designed to separate fact from fiction and to further explain Sanger's views and the background against which they must be judged. Popular ideas? Wow. The pinnacle of liberal apologetics.

In any event, Sanger is pivotal in the evolution of abortion in American, and she held and propagandized for some pretty wacked out ideas. Whether or not Sanger was actually a NAZI, I have no proof, but I do suspect she influenced her NAZI counterparts in Germany, as *DID* others she asssociated herself with. User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 23:31, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

Yes, thank you. PP is not going to be a very good source for info on their influential historical members. AManInBlack 23:37, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

A feminist critical of Sanger

Angela Franks. I think this would be an interesting perspective. Angela Franks has the appearance of being objective (but critical). User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 00:12, 26 July 2007 (EDT)


The number of abortions performed by an organization founded by Sanger has everything to do with her legacy. User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 01:22, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

What are you basing this on? She devoted entire chapters of her books to the evils of abortion. She campaigned against abortion. You don't need historical revisionism to make Sanger out as a terrible person, because she was a eugenicist and a racist. If you want to rail against Planned Parenthood, I suggest Planned Parenthood. AManInBlack 01:44, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
Additionally, this link doesn't in any way establish that your statistic has anything to do with this article. Remember, abortion wasn't legalized in the United States until after Sanger's death. AManInBlack 01:51, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

Mediation of minor edit wars

Hello, I copied some prose from the article on Planned parenthood to the Margaret Sanger article. I have been edit warring with another editor fore two nights now. The other editor seems to be attempting to mitigate and whitewash, backing off, and then going forward. I figured that if the prose (and cites) from the locked Planned parenthood article were approved, and since they are apropos to the Margaret Sanger article, that it made sense to copy and paste. Anyway, another interested (or disinterested) view of the article is probably warranted. User:PheasantHunter/FullSig 00:18, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

  • As I have instructed you, PheasantHunter, please use the article talk page. You and the other party have both run to me to intervene. I previously told you both to play nice. Andy is not the official mediator of the site, and his talk page isn't for dispute resolution when you have already been taking up the time of a Sysop. I am moving this back to the article talk page. You do not have license to post all over this site, enlisting administrators to do your bidding, is that very clear? --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 04:53, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

New findings?

She is now found to no longer be a proponent of Eugenicists and advocate of Abortion?  :O

There is plenty of material cited that clearly shows she was a racist, a proponet of selective breeding of Humans, etc. What gives? --₮K/Talk 20:36, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Sanger was part of her time when most educated people believed in racist theories. In fact, Sanger not only hated African-Americans, she worried about the influx of immigration from Eastern/Southern Europe (most of them were practicing Roman Catholics) had higher birth rates, that they "overwhelm" the American Anglo-Protestant majority population, and she likened the Chinese to a "plague", a non-Caucasian country had more people than America. Sanger held anti-Semitic views about Jewish people aren't really "white"/European and to have influenced the Nazis' eugenics program. In the USA, the main fear of genetic pollution of the so-called "Nordic" white race in the turn of the 20th century was from Black Americans, Mexicans in both Mexico or the USA a "mongrelized" nation and Native Americans being portrayed a "dying" race in racial scientific journals. + Getitstraight 13:27, 17 December 2009 (EST)
msot people did not believe that stuff and Sanger did not either. She worked well with blacks and took the initiative to work with them at a time no racist would ever do that. Sanger promoted birth control and strongly opposed abortion. RJJensen 14:40, 17 December 2009 (EST)

Havelock Ellis quote

I separated it from the other quotes to distinguish it. It's not actually her words, but she quotes it very approvingly, so it still deserves to be added. The topic of page 94 is the eugenic value of health and education and of course the mixture of legislative action, and it was necessary in the context for her to state which of the two took primacy. Ellis' words was how she accomplished that goal on that page.