by Daren Bakst
Senior Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy, Heritage Foundation
By chance I was doing some additional research on eugenics and found this “defense” of Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) and her association with eugenics. The following is from Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey:
Although Sanger uniformly repudiated the racist exploitation of eugenics principles, she agreed with the “progressives” of her day who favored
• incentives for the voluntary hospitalization and/or sterilization of people with untreatable, disabling, hereditary conditions
• the adoption and enforcement of stringent regulations to prevent the immigration of the diseased and “feebleminded” into the U.S.
• placing so-called illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope-fiends on farms and open spaces as long as necessary for the strengthening and development of moral conduct
It does seem after reading this passage in its context over and over, that the above wasn’t meant to defend Sanger (not clear though). Planned Parenthood itself is trying to distance itself from these views.
Here’s some more about Sanger from Politics Daily:
But Sanger’s apologists are harder-pressed to justify the wording of a letter she wrote in December of that year to Proctor & Gamble heir Clarence Gamble, proposing that money be allocated to train “an up and doing modern minister, colored, and an up and doing modern colored medical man” to tour the South preaching the need for birth control. “We do not want 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.”
By the way, Gamble played a major role in the forced sterilization program in North Carolina working with an organization called the Human Betterment League of North Carolina.
Here’s this excerpt:
In her 1922 book, “The Pivot of Civilization,” Margaret Sanger, the founder of the American Birth Control League, an organization that would become Planned Parenthood, opens Chapter 4 with this salvo: “There is but one practical and feasible program in handling the great problem of the feeble-minded. That is, as the best authorities are agreed, to prevent the birth of those who would transmit imbecility to their descendants.”
Sanger proposed in “A Plan for Peace” published in the Birth Control Review (1932) for the creation of a Population Congress, which would be a special department in the federal government:
These are just two of the many scary functions for her proposed Population Congress. She goes on to write:
The first step would thus be to control the intake and output of morons, mental defectives, epileptics.
The second step would be to take an inventory of the secondary group such as illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, dope-fiends; classify them in special departments under government medical protection, and segregate them on farms and open spaces as long as necessary for the strengthening and development of moral conduct.
None of this can be defended.