I have written about Margaret Sanger before (click here for a more in depth blog on her life), but in short she coined the term “birth control” and was the founder of Planned Parenthood. A controversial figure in history, she is commended by some as an activist for women’s rights, and vilified by others for her racist ideology.
Of particular note was her emphasis on eugenics. Eugenics refers to the purging of the human race, purifying it of weak or less desirable individuals through selective breeding and birth control. Eugenics was the driving ideology behind the Nazi Holocaust.
Some pro-choice advocates have attempted to downplay Planned Parenthood’s beginnings by arguing that Sanger’s eugenics ideology has been over-stated. Given that she published articles with titles such as “Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” (June 1920), “The Eugenic Conscience” (February 1921), “The purpose of Eugenics” (December 1924), “Birth Control and Positive Eugenics” (July 1925), and “Birth Control: The True Eugenics” (August 1928), I’m not sure their argument holds much grounding.
But for further proof, I offer you the following interview with Mike Wallace from 1957. Towards the end of the interview she states that “the greatest sin is to bring children into the world who have disease from their parents and have no chance to be a human being, practically–delinquents, prisoners, and all sorts of people who are marked when they’re born.” That is eugenics language. The interview is also fascinating and slightly weird given that she denies having stated many of the quotations Mike Wallace asks her about.
Also, I can’t help but snicker at Mike Wallace’s endorsements of Philip Morris running throughout the interview. What the heck is a “man’s kind of mildness” anyways?
To view the video click here and then scroll way down. Let me know what you think.