A Racist Feminist-Margaret Sanger

What Sanger’s liberal admirers are eager to downplay is that she was a thoroughgoing racist who subscribed completely to the views of E. A. Ross and other “raceologists.” Indeed, she made many of them seem tame…

…A member of the Women’s Committee of the New York Socialist Party, she participated in all the usual protests and demonstrations. In 1912 she started writing what amounted to a sex-advice column for the New York Call, dubbed “What Every Girl Should Know.” The overriding theme of her columns was the importance of contraception.

A disciple of the anarchist Emma Goldman — another eugenicist — Sanger became the nation’s first “birth control martyr” when she was arrested for handing out condoms in 1917. In order to escape a subsequent arrest for violating obscenity laws, she went to England, where she fell under the thrall of Havelock Ellis, a sex theorist and ardent advocate of forced sterilization. (bold mine)

Under the banner of “reproductive freedom,” Sanger subscribed to nearly all of the eugenic views discussed above. She sought to ban reproduction of the unfit and regulate reproduction for everybody else. She scoffed at the soft approach of the “positive” eugenicists, deriding it as mere “cradle competition” between the fit and the unfit. “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief issue of birth control,” she frankly wrote in her 1922 book The Pivot of Civilization. (bold mine.-note that Sanger wanted to see reproductive control, not “rights,” as her adoring fans would have you believe).

One of Sanger’s closest friends and influential colleagues was the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. In the book he offered his solution for the threat posed by the darker races: “Just as we isolate bacterial invasions, and starve out the bacteria, by limiting the area and amount of their food supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its native habitat.” When the book came out, Sanger was sufficiently impressed to invite him to join the board of directors of the American Birth Control League. (bold mine)

In her “Code to Stop Overproduction of Children,” published in 1934, she decreed that “no woman shall have a legal right to bear a child without a permit…no permit shall be valid for more than one child.”47 But Sanger couched this fascistic agenda in the argument that “liberated” women wouldn’t mind such measures because they don’t really want large families in the first place. In a trope that would be echoed by later feminists such as Betty Friedan, she argued that motherhood itself was a socially imposed constraint on the liberty of women. It was a form of what Marxists called false consciousness to want a large family.

For more eye-opening information about this icon of womenn’s reproductive rights control read here.

39 responses

  1. “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan…I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses…I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak…In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.” (Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, P.366)

    If you are not a racist, you do not accept such invitations!

    1. Sanger speaking to the women of the KKK (who were not interested in birth control but wanted only to populate the earth with more white children) to espouse the virtues of helping the poor black women through birth control is akin to a pro-lifer wanting to stop abortions by performing them in clinics.

      Get it?

  2. “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.

    1. The above quote shows her stealth actions, not her compassion.

  3. Although I am all for voluntary birth control and have no problem with preventing conception, I found it interesting that it was the black women of the South who were the guinea pigs for testing the various just invented birth control contraceptions, via The Negro Project. Why not try it on the whites? Maybe the KKK women? Doh! That’s because the whites were not considered a plight on society with their vigorous birth rates! Plus, they were not called an inferior race either. Silly me.

  4. Pro abortionists want to decry the connection that has been made between Sanger and the KKK and her writings with Hitler. Well, Hitler and his henchmen found her writings to be just what they wanted to create that superior race and eliminate the inferior race. If Sanger hadn’t written her writings and opinions and objectives in such a way as she did, Hitler would not be associated with her. And, the KKK connection is very much so deserved since she was asked many times to speak to the Women’s groups of that ungodly organization. Its kind of silly to whine about the connections when it was well deserved. You are known by the friends you keep, as they say.

  5. Margaret Sanger aligned herself with the eugenicists whose ideology prevailed in the early 20th century. Eugenicists strongly espoused racial supremacy and “purtiy”,” particularly of the “Aryan” race. Eugenicists hoped to purify the bloodlines and improve the race by encouraging the “fit” to reproduce and the “unfit” to restrict their reproduction. They sought to contain the “inferior” races through segregation, sterilization, birth control and abortion.

    Sanger embraced Malthusian eugenics. Thomas Robert Malthus, a 19th century cleric and professor of political economy, believed a population time bomb threatened the existence of the human race. He viewed social problems such as poverty, deprivation and hunger as evidence of this “population crisis.”

    Commentary on the Negro Project

    1. And~

      An Essay on the Principle of Population, published in six editions from 1798 to 1826:

      All children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to a desired level, must necessarily perish, unless room is made for them by the deaths of grown persons. We should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality.Malthus disciples believed if Western civilization were to survive, the physically unfit, the materially poor, the spiritually diseased, the racially inferior, and the mentally incompetent had to be suppressed and isolated–or even, perhaps, eliminated.

      Now that is truly disgusting! And this was Margaret Sanger’s beliefs and why she had no problem with speaking engagements with the KKK women.

      (OK, how can one be “spiritually diseased”? God’s redemption can happen at any given time in a person’s life. For Athiests, Christians are spiritually diseased and for some Christian religions, Athiests are the spiritually diseased. Are we to sit on God’s throne of judgement deciding who is fit to live and who is not? God may very well surprise those who think themselves righteous enough to determine such people’s fate. They may hear “I never knew you” on Judgement day.)

  6. Understandably, Planned Parenthood today does not want to be associated with the Eugenics movement or be accused of any kind of racism, and so they deny that Sanger was either. And like most politically motivated denials, this one does not square with the facts.
    Sanger’s premiere publication, The Birth Control Review (founded in 1917) regularly published articles explicitly promoting eugenics, with titles like:
    ■“Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” (June 1920)
    ■“The Eugenic Conscience” (February 1921)
    ■“The Purpose of Eugenics” (December 1924)
    ■“Birth Control and Positive Eugenics” (July 1925)
    ■“Birth Control: The True Eugenics” (August 1928)

    Planned Parenthood/Eugenics

    1. And~

      Sanger published a book in 1922, called The Pivot of Civilization, in which she echoed all of the sentiments of Malthus. Sanger claimed that there came a point where charity did more harm than good. “Such a point, it seems obvious, is reached when the incurably defective are permitted to procreate and thus increase their numbers.” The elite are then forced to carry what she called “a dead weight of human waste.

      You can read this book here:
      Gutenburg.org

      I noticed on the cover of one of those pamphlets listed in my previous comment the words “Birth Control: to create a race of thoroughbreds” under the header with her name on it. If she wasn’t a racist then she would have none of that kind of thinking!

      1. And~

        If not addressed, she issued this chilling warning about the future: “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.” To clarify her reference, the Spartans were required to bring every baby before a group of elders who would carefully inspect the infant. If any sign of defects were found, the baby was tossed off of a cliff.

        Of all the acts of benevolence she condemns, there is one “more insidiously injurious than any other: supply GRATIS medical and nursing facilities to slum mothers,” which she takes to be “the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and is perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents…”

        Nice humanitarian she is!

      2. (The book, The Pivot of Civilization, featured an introduction by Wells, in which he proclaimed, “We want fewer and better children…and we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are determined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens that you inflict on us.” Two civilizations were at war: that of progress and that which sought a world “swamped by an indiscriminate torrent of progeny.”

        Dark Past-Jonah Goldberg Op Ed

    2. Most people aren’t aware of how strong and formative the eugenics movement was in America. Most people assume that racism and eugenics were only written about in America by angry fringe groups like the KKK. But forced sterilization of minority women lasted for 65 years, and was not ended in the U.S. until 1972! (Strange, isn’t it, that abortion became legal the very next year?)

  7. Is Planned Parenthood still racist today?

    Planned Parenthood Today

  8. The Influence of Lothrop Stoddard

    Lothrop Stoddard, a published Harvard Scholar, was an outspoken white supremacist, praising the success of the white race over all others in history. In his most famous work, entitled “The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy,” he says, “At the close of the nineteenth century the white man stood the indubitable master of the world… The white man could think, could create, could fight superlatively well. No wonder the redskins and Negroes feared and adored him as a god.”

    When classifying the value of each race, Stoddard put the white race at the top and the black race at the bottom, saying of the black race, “Left to himself, he remained a savage,” and arguing that the only time the black race has transcended savagery is when other superior races have intervened. But this intervention he also lamented, saying that “crossings with the Negro are uniformly fatal.”

    In his own book on the Nazis, Stoddard praised them for increasing the quality of their population and putting a “drastic curb of the defective elements,” and that they were “weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way.” He personally met with Adolf Hitler, claiming in 1940 that the “Jew problem” had already been settled because the Nazis are eliminating them (Kuhl, 1994)

    No surprise that his writings on race were featured in Nazi school textbooks (Shire, 1941)!

    Why am I telling you about Lothrop Stoddard? Because he was, along with Margaret Sanger, a founding member of the Birth Control League, which became the Birth Control Federation of America in 1939, and was then renamed Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

    Planned Parenthood and Eugenics

    Hmmmm….Sanger is looking more and more like an intentional racist!

    How anyone can sing her praises is beyond me. Yeah, kudos to her for birth control. It doesn’t lessen her evil beliefs in eugenics and her racism.

    1. I’ve searched and searched for facts concerning Sanger that would prove to me that she was not a racist and have found nothing satisfactory. Her grandson speaks well of her and seems to want to put his grandmother in a good light but is that really unbiased?

  9. Someone who saw the relationship between abortion and race from a less trusting perspective telegrammed Congress in 1977 to tell them that abortion amounted to “genocide against the black race.” And he added, in block letters, “AS A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE I MUST OPPOSE THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS FOR A POLICY OF KILLING INFANTS.” This was Jesse Jackson, who changed his position when he decided to seek the Democratic nomination.

    Dark Past Op Ed

    He was offered a large sum of money from the Planned Parenthood organization.

    Here is the reason why I believe it is stupid for blacks to be in the Democratic Party~

  10. Some liberals are honest about this. In 1992 Nicholas Von Hoffman argued in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

    Free cheap abortion is a policy of social defense. To save ourselves from being murdered in our beds and raped on the streets, we should do everything possible to encourage pregnant women who don’t want the baby and will not take care of it to get rid of the thing before it turns into a monster… At their demonstration, the anti-abortionists parade around with pictures of dead and dismembered fetuses. The pro-abortionists should meet these displays with some of their own: pictures of the victims of the unaborted — murder victims, rape victims, mutilation victims — pictures to remind us that the fight for abortion is but part of the larger struggle for safe homes and safe streets.

    Dark Past Op Ed

  11. Indeed, in a certain sense Planned Parenthood is today more eugenic than Sanger intended. Sanger, after all, despised abortion. She denounced it as “barbaric” and called abortionists “bloodsucking men with M.D. after their names.” Abortion resulted in “an outrageous slaughter” and “the killing of babies,” which even the degenerate offspring of the unfit did not deserve.

    No, Sanger was not pro-abortion but she did advocate for forced sterilizations of the unfit.

  12. Horrible.
    Founder of Planned Parenthood.
    What caused this woman to hate human children?
    What caused this woman to hate black children?

    1. Why did she talk at the KKK and want the black race destroyed? Female Hitler?

      1. You ask good questions, yabetcha!

        To go to the KKK Women’s group was probably for fund raising.
        To say she wasn’t a racist is a stretch that anyone with common sense can see. Like I said, you don’t go to these kind of racist meetings if you aren’t a racist. We know that she wasn’t there to rail against lynching the black man. To her, with her eugenics thinking, that may very well have been a primo birth control method.

        Thanks for your comments. Comment anytime!~

  13. I just don’t get it…

    NAACP Opposes Bill To Ban Race Based Abortions

    Maybe I do get it…its greed. Abortion is a lucrative business.

    1. This bill ensures that the rights of minority and female babies are the same as those of white male babies.

      What rights do babies who will soon be aborted have? Maybe that is the conundrum for NAACP and the others-this Bill gives an unborn baby “rights” and once that happens, then those “rights” could extend to the right to life.

      Yet there are some civil rights’ groups who have a bone to pick with those who would defend these babies’ rights. Ironically, it is the minority and women’s rights groups especially who are fighting against the bill’s name and the bill itself. Opponents of the bill include the NAACP, the National Council of Jewish Women and 45 other U.S. civil rights groups. They say that the two great civil rights leaders have nothing to with discrimination in the womb.

  14. Reblogged this on News You May Have Missed and commented:
    A Racist Feminist-Margaret Sanger

    1. Thanks, genomega1!~

  15. Reblogged this on augustine1blog and commented:
    For the historically challenged among us, you should know what the goddess of PLanned Parenthood really believed. Listen up Sandra Fluke.

    1. Thanks for the reblog, augustinehippo1. God bless you~

  16. Bizarre is a gross understatement – Just curious as to why all these observations weren’t incorporated in your posting instead of in comments? (am “pressing this”) “X”

    1. I tend to do that. I’ll write up the post and then I either find more info on the subject or I run into more so I post it in the comments lines. When editing a post there’s so much time given before it gets emailed again to people’s inboxes. I noticed this from a blog of a friend that every time he edited his post I would get another notice. I would have to reread his post to see what I missed. I just wanted to keep it simple.

      Thanks for the “press” and God bless you!

  17. [...] A Racist Feminist-Margaret Sanger | quotes and notes and opinions. [...]

  18. http://studygrowknowblog.com/2013/04/09/margaret-sangers-racism-pt-1/

    FTA: As far as Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was concerned, all black babies should be aborted, along with other children from races who were not of the highest stock. In a 1939 memo to Dr. Clarence J. Gamble (of Proctor & Gamble), Sanger stated, “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.”[1] This was in response to Gamble’s memo to Sanger about something he had come up with to eradicate blacks, in what he called “Suggestion for Negro Project.” (emphasis added)

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