Margaret Sanger, a Credit to Her Race

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Planned Parenthood has always had a problem with denial.

The organization likes to point fingers, play the victim, dodge accusations.

Since the presidential election last November, all the above habits have shot into overdrive as Planned Parenthood faces possible defunding from Congress, and an influx of pro-life policymakers on the Hill.

Most recently, Planned Parenthood officials have risen up in arms over the addition of two pro-life women in President Donald Trump’s administration. Charmaine Yoest and Teresa Manning have been appointed to the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Yoest was once the president of Americans United for Life, and Manning  served as a legal analyst for the Family Research Council.

Planned Parenthood’s vice president, Dawn Laguens, said in a statement:  “This is the fox guarding the hen house, and women with low incomes will pay the price.” Laguens was referring to Manning’s and Yoest’s outspoken disapproval of Planned Parenthood and of the family planning services it provides.

The organization’s tactic appears to be to cast any pro-life public officials as perpetrators of a plot to suppress the poor and the marginalized among us.

But are Yoest and Manning really the villains out to attack America’s impoverished women? If there is such an attack, who started it? It seems to me that there is another candidate for “most dangerous threat to vulnerable demographics everywhere.”

For that title, I nominate Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.

First, I would like to point to the time Sanger once lamented the impoverished and mentally disabled populations as an “ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”

Secondly, I’d like to acknowledge Sanger’s statement that she believed in the “sterilization of the feeble-minded.”

Please note, Sanger did not provide a definition of “feeble-minded,” so no one is quite sure how far she hoped to fling her sterilizing net. In her other writings, she often refers to those who are “imbecilic” and “uneducated” as well as those who suffer from epilepsy. One thing she did clarify was that anyone who had any form of mental of physical defect should be segregated and sterilized for the good of society.

If you still question my nomination of Sanger, consider the time she proudly proclaimed:  “the campaign for Birth Control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal, with the final aims of Eugenics.“

Now, to give credit where credit is due, Sanger did not call herself a eugenicist. She drew a distinction and named herself a birth-controlist. This distinction would be of more import if she had not added that second part, stating that the campaign for birth control was “identical in ideal” and shared the “final aims” of eugenics.

Think those “final aims” are ambiguous? Sanger did too, so she provided some clarity:  “Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit.” She helpfully defined “unfit” as the “mentally and physically defective” and the “poverty-stricken.” To translate: if you’re poor, deaf, blind, or in any other way “defective” you should not have been born, and any chance of others being born like you should be eliminated.

Sanger’s defenders will cry that she was moved with compassion. A veritable Mother Teresa of Harlem, they’ll call her.

On its webpage celebrating the centennial of its organization, Planned Parenthood praises Sanger’s founding of the first birth control clinic in Harlem, saying she founded it “In response to many black women being denied access to health and social services at the height of the Depression.”

But was she trying to serve black women? Or eliminate them?

And was she trying to be charitable? Unlikely, because Sanger thought all charity, private or public, was inane.

Indeed, when she heard of a federal program which would bring free pre-natal care to women in America’s slums, Sanger wrote:  “[This program] strikes me as being more insidiously injurious than any other … such women are to be visited by nurses and to receive instruction in the ‘hygiene of pregnancy’ … to be invited to come to doctor’s clinics for examination and supervision.” The notion of making childbearing safe for impoverished women was anathema to Sanger, who lamented that such programs would only hasten the “definite deterioration in the human stock.” Sterilization was the far more efficient option, she stated.

For those who appreciate irony, this one cannot be topped. An organization that proudly proclaims itself to be the savior of low-income women celebrates as its founder a woman who denounced all forms of charity and philanthropy, whether private or state-funded. Her response to any woman in crisis was not to assist her with free medical care, but to sterilize her for what she and her peers considered the greater good.

Now, every organization has chapters in its history that it wishes it could gloss over. But Planned Parenthood lacks even the decency to express discomfort with Sanger’s disturbing views. Planned Parenthood officials refuse to acknowledge that their founder would have felt more at home in a room with a eugenicist than she would with a philanthropist.

So if condemning is not an option, what does Planned Parenthood have to say about its glorified founder, the same women who stated in her publication Birth Control Review, that she wanted “to create a race of thoroughbreds”?

In this respect, the folks at Planned Parenthood have gone above and beyond. They’ve created a model of alternative facts that would make even the savviest political spin doctor blush. In Planned Parenthood’s version of history, Sanger is a heroine, a champion of all women, regardless of race, creed, or social status.

In 2009, Planned Parenthood published a paper titled “Margaret Sanger — 20th Century Hero.” The paper gushes:  “Margaret Sanger changed the world forever, and for the better.” Sanger is described by the authors as a “woman of heroic accomplishments” and a “true visionary” for her efforts to give birth control to the masses.

Of course, her vision was for racial betterment and the extinction of the “mentally and physically defective,” but let’s not dwell on semantics.

Margaret Sanger didn’t work alone. Consider her romantic and professional association with Havelock Ellis, a renowned sexologist and eugenicist of the 20th century. Planned Parenthood names Ellis as Sanger’s lover and mentor, and praises him for promoting “tolerance for sexual diversity” because he was a proponent of homosexuality and encouraged “sexual exploration by infants and adolescents.” Doubtless due to their enthusiasm over his sex-positive habits, Planned Parenthood officials somehow omit the part where Ellis deemed Nazi sterilization practices to be “without nefarious racial content.” What a cute pairing he and Sanger were, just another couple fighting for sexual liberation with a side of master race aspirations.

Planned Parenthood officials go even further than praising Sanger. They attempt to invalidate those who point out her questionable motives:

“[Anti-choice advocates] put words in her mouth that she never spoke, ascribe to her motivations she never pursued, and attribute to her opinions she never held.”

Unfortunately for Planned Parenthood, whoever wrote this is giving us “anti-choice advocates” far too much credit. We do not need to put words in Sanger’s mouth. She has already said more than enough about her grand plans.

But don’t tell Planned Parenthood dignitaries that, as they proudly proclaim:

“Planned Parenthood is very proud to carry on Sanger’s lifelong struggle to defend the basic human right to decide when or whether to have a child.”

Except of course, that wasn’t Sanger’s mission exactly. Her hope, as laid out in her “Plan to Peace”, was “to apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted.”

Let’s see … “stern and rigid.” Let freedom ring.

Again, Sanger is hazy on what she means by “tainted.” Based on her other writings and discussions about the “feeble-minded” she did make it abundantly clear that anyone who suffered from any form of mental illness or disability was “tainted.”

Let that sink in. Think of your friends or your loved ones who may suffer from such an affliction. Now suggest they be exiled and sterilized. Tell them it’s for “the greater good.”

Doubtless she would cheer about the growing extinction of those born with Down’s Syndrome. Of course, the notion of the Special Olympics would disgust her. Such social acceptance of the “defective” among us!

So, to recap:  Planned Parenthood is trying to demonize every other pro-life person for denying women the opportunity to sterilize themselves and abort their children.

Margaret Sanger, the organization’s founder, wanted to create a master race of the racially pure, well-educated, and affluent elite.

Who are the villains again?

Kelly Thomas is Chief Operating Officer of New Boston Post.  Read her past articles here.