Margaret Sanger and the Eugenics Movement

By Messall, Rebecca R. | The Human Life Review, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Margaret Sanger and the Eugenics Movement


Messall, Rebecca R., The Human Life Review


On a Sunday dedicated to honoring motherhood, May 1 1, 2010, the Denver Post chose to celebrate everything glaringly responsible for preventing or terminating motherhood. And, to someone like me who is slightly older than the "Pill" and who was 18 at the time of Roe v. Wade, the appearance of the Post's Mother's Day article was curious because there is much more that people should know about the threesome of Margaret Sanger, the "Pill" and Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.

Margaret Sanger belonged to an organization called the American Eugenics Society, organized in me early 1 900's. Members from me American Eugenics Society actually formed Sanger's original group whose name was changed to Planned Parenthood, but even the latter's first three presidents were officers or members in the AES, including Alan Guttmacher. Sanger is listed as a member in 1956 under her then-married name, Mrs. Noah Slee.

Later called social biology, genetics, and population control, eugenics was a "scientific" endeavor born from evolutionary biology. It was never confined to state-sponsorship under Communists and Socialist dictators. Eugenics operated quite openly in the United States, England and around die world. The efforts of the American Eugenics Society resulted in many states passing laws to sterilize more than 63,000 Americans. Several states passed official apologies in the 1990's. The eugenics movement, particularly Margaret Sanger, ranted against the Catholic Church for opposing eugenic legislation and ideology.

Leaders of the American eugenics movement were later troubled that Hitler tarnished the word "eugenics"; however, they did not abandon the quest for a moroughbred stock of humans, such as Margaret Sanger herself touted. They simply chose new words to describe eugenics. As recently as 1968, one of the leading evolutionary biologists and an officer in die American Eugenics Society, Theodosius Dobzhansky, said that die word "genetics" meant the same thing as "eugenics" and commended me goals of eugenics. The control of reproduction remained die primary goal of eugenics in order to improve the human gene pool. Throughout its existence Planned Parendiood has been a key tool to reduce or eliminate births among blacks, other minorities and die disabled.

The Post's Mother's Day article typifies me popular narrative, which was really a sophisticated marketing campaign so good that no one questions it.

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