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Friday, February 3, 2012

Margaret Sanger in Her Own Words

Margaret Sanger is often portrayed as a secular saint. The reality is that she considered many people "degenerates," particularly among the poor. I'm going to start a page on Margaret Sanger and include quotes from her own writing as well as materials she edited which obviously had her approbation. This particular article was written by Sanger herself and titled Birth Control and Woman's Health. The quote below follows a number of excerpts, ostensibly from desperate women writing to her. What I find ironic (and somewhat suspicious) is that all the letters are highly articulate and, of course, heartbreaking and yet, these are the people she labels "degenerate" in the paragraph below because it's their children she believes should never have been born.

"We  are  dealing with  peculiar facts today,  so far as the health of  the race is concerned  In the early history of  the race, so-called 'natural  law'  reigned undisturbed Under its pitiless and unsympathetic  iron rule, only the strongest, most  courageous could live  and  become  progenitors  of  the race  The  weak  died   early,  or  were  killed.   Today,  however, civilization   has brought sympathy, pity, tenderness and other lofty and worthy sentiments, which   interfere with  the law of  natural selection  We  are now m a state where our charities, our compensation acts, our pensions, hospitals and even  our drainage and sanitary equipment  all tend to keep alive the sickly and weak, who are allowed to propagate and in turn produce a race of  degenerates." (American Birth Control Review, December 1917.)

This is not an unusual theme for Sanger, that philanthropy has caused too many unfit individuals to survive, although her statement about the "history of the race" and natural selection isn't backed up with any facts.  Sanger's elitist philosophy hides under a veneer of compassion for poor women forced to be "breeders" by the lack of birth control information. This fits in later with her belief that certain people, the feeble-minded (whoever they are in her judgment), should be kept in camps and not allowed to reproduce. More on that later.