Margaret Sanger Isn’t Who You Think She Is
20th Century Hero. World Changer. True Visionary.
These are just a handful of the descriptions from Planned Parenthood of its founder, Margaret Sanger.
The abortion giant celebrates its founder, heralding her as ahead of her time and a trailblazer for women’s equality. They shut down any critique of her by claiming that her nearly century-old quotes are taken out of context to promote modern political positions.
Planned Parenthood has featured fact sheets on their website that praise Sanger for “changing the world, forever and for the better” and claim that anyone who questions her “worldwide renown, respect, and admiration” must have an anti-woman agenda. (Though curiously, the direct links to these documents have recently been removed from Planned Parenthood’s website. As recently as September, they were included on the list of Fact Sheet Reports. Today, they are clearly missing from the list.)
Why would Planned Parenthood begin downplaying their previous claims? Perhaps they are even recognizing that Sanger is hardly the icon that her followers across the last century have made her into. Even the most cursory look through Sanger’s many publications and speeches reveals that the image of a compassionate visionary created by Planned Parenthood and others quickly begins to crack.
It seems that the woman worshipped by many pro-abortion activists hardly encapsulates the values they espouse and stand for. Let’s take pro-abortion activists at their word for a moment – they want “equality for all” and they want women to feel empowered and in control. Okay.
Margaret Sanger is hardly the hero to be placed on a pedestal to model even these values. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising to us. After all, as I’ve written before, is it really empowering to women to encourage them to kill their own baby?
But I digress, back to Margaret Sanger – Is her legacy something that pro-abortion advocates should seek to perpetuate?
Here are just a few excerpts written by Sanger herself that call into question the glorified feminist image that has been created by her supporters.
Planned Parenthood holds Sanger out as a compassionate woman concerned about the welfare of the vulnerable and downtrodden. Yet she writes about charity:
“The most serious charge that can be brought against modern benevolence is that it encourages the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents, and dependents. These are the most dangerous elements in the world community, the most devastating curse on human progress and expression. Philanthropy is a gesture characteristic of modern business lavishing upon the unfit the profits extorted from the community at large. Looked at impartially, this compensatory generosity is in its final effect probably more dangerous, more dysgenic, more blighting than the initial practice of profiteering.” The Pivot of Civilization – Margaret Sanger, p. 101
Planned Parenthood claims that Sanger was a human rights activist. Normally, when one thinks of human rights, one thinks of standing up for and defending the vulnerable members of society who are downtrodden and abused. Yet she writes in Woman and the New Race on p. 89:
“No matter how much they desire children, no man and woman have a right to bring into the world those who are 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 it, probably for its defective descendants for many generations.”
Planned Parenthood claims that Sanger was concerned with the issues of health and fitness, but did not perpetuate the broader eugenics movement of the early 20th century. Yet it’s hard to justify that conclusion when she writes on p. 25 in The Pivot of Civilization:
“The lack of balance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit,’ admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. The example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit, and therefore less fertile, parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective. 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.”
And again, on p. 25 in the inspiringly titled Motherhood in Bondage:
“But poverty multiplied by ignorance, hunger, disease, congenital defect, cannot be a proper breeding-ground for the future generations of America.”
Maybe even Planned Parenthood finally realizes that their absurd claims and hero worship are misplaced, that Sanger can’t even be justified as a symbol of their pro-abortion euphemisms.
Facts matter. Leadership matters.
Perhaps it's time to reassess your history, Planned Parenthood, and ask if the vision of your founder may be leading you astray today.