I love basketball. In particular, I love the NBA. I watch a game multiple times a week. And every February they do a passably good job of celebrating Black History Month. I do not have a problem with black history month itself, but I have begun to wonder about one striking omission. Never any mentions of Margaret Sanger.
The fact that one of the most brutally destructive institutions in the history of American Blacks started as Margaret Sanger’s personal back-alley abortion clinic. Her pet project eventually grew into the largest and most profitable non-profit organization in the world. She has been hailed as a great social reformer, a liberator, and a hero. She lives in the minds of many as one of the great saints of secularism. But the problem is, she was a white supremacist using the power of the state to legally cleanse America of blacks.
If I were to tell the story of the Jews and leave out the many holocausts, you would call me a denier. You might accuse me of telling a whitewashed history. If there was no mention of Ibn Hazm, Pogroms, Soviet Anti-Zionism, or Hitler’s Holocaust, perhaps you would even say that I was a part of the oppressing class trying to hold onto my position of power and privilege. Or that I was trying to rewrite history to protect antisemitism’s current manifestation.
Sanger’s ideology was not like Hitler’s. Her ideology was Hitler’s. And as Chesterton reminds us,“Eugenics itself is a thing no more to be bargained about than poisoning” (Chesterton 1922 4). What is odd is that Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini have all been defamed and disavowed by every corner of society. Whether it is for their bad science, dangerous ideals, or for being instrumental in the deaths of millions, they are villains of history. Yet Margaret Sanger’s work has continued under an identical ideology without opposition. People are not running out to resurrect the name of Hitler. Yet every year people try and re-paint Sanger as someone special and humane, someone with noble intentions.
Evil always takes advantage of ambiguity (ibid.). The lack of clarity about the original mission of Planned Parenthood to “contain the ‘inferior’ races through segregation, sterilization, birth control, and abortion…[To see that] the ‘unfit’ be slowly winnowed out of the population as chaff is from the wheat,” (Grant 2001 55) is simply a way to avoid confronting the current deforestation of the American black population.
You might think that a vulgar expression, but what was deforestation about? Money at the expense of the future. Planned Parenthood’s continuation of the “racist aims and ambitions of Eugenic elitism” (ibid. 57) has made them loads of cash at the expense of the future of the American black population.
As Chesterton points out, Sanger and the eugenicists, “propose[d] to control some families . . . as if they were families of pagan slaves” (Chesterton 1922 10). They wanted to use Planned Parenthood to control the non-white population in the name of science. Sanger took her scientific racism seriously; seriously enough to do something about it. She opened up a back alley birth control clinic in the Brownsville section of New York in her first attempt to target and eliminate the unfit. Her clinic was immediately shut down by the authorities, but she began to garner fame and rich supporters that were in favor of her newly declared goal of the elimination of ‘human weeds,’ the cessation of charity, the segregation of morons, misfits, and the maladjusted, and for the sterilization of “genetically inferior races” (Grant 2001 65). Her call to remove the “Harvest of Human Waste” (ibid., 66) gained her acclaim and respect. Her call to “create a new race of thoroughbreds” by the harsh and coercive tyranny of Malthusian Eugenics (ibid., 70) fell like honey upon the ears of the progressive socialists, fascists, communists, and Nazis.
The racist desire to eliminate inferiority from the gene-pool was originally called a solution to overpopulation. As P. J. O’Rourke argues, “Fretting about overpopulation is a perfectly guilt-free—indeed, sanctimonious—way for ‘progressives’ to be racists” (O’Rourke 1994 61). According to the progressives “people are—present company always excepted—just awful. And ‘People, people, people, people’ are that much more so. Especially if these people happen to be not-quite white” (ibid., 61).
In 1939, the government began to take part in Margaret’s Eugenics programs. The “Negro Project” was designed at the request of the southern state health officials to stop the population growth of the “mass of Negroes …that portion of the population least intelligent and fit” (Grant 2001 73). Of course, Hitler and Stalin had each been named Man of the Year by Time Magazine, so America was on shaky moral ground in general. Some forty states had given time and tax money to restrictive containment measures and Eugenic asylums (ibid., 55). Planned Parenthood made pressing for coercive government action to enforce birth limitations and Eugenic sterilizations a high priority along with pushing for “value free” sex education programs (ibid., 83-84).
In case more evidence of Planned Parenthood’s White Supremacy is needed, Sanger’s magazine published a favorable review of Lothrop Stoddard’s fascist diatribe The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy along with an article entitled “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need” written by Sanger’s advisor and close friend, Ernst Rudin, who helped establish the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene, and who was at that time serving as Hitler’s director of genetic sterilization. They also published an article by Leon Whitney, who adamantly defended the Third Reich’s race purification programs. As she began to open clinics she gathered a board of eugenicists and began targeting neighborhoods of non-Aryans.
Margaret Sanger’s vision for the world, for all intents and purposes, is succeeding before our very eyes. This is surprising, since all of her allies of World War II were defamed by the details of Auschwitz. She renamed her organization ‘Planned Parenthood’ in order to portray a positive and family friendly organization, and she began a massive propaganda blitz which emphasized patriotism, personal choice, and family values. Through this reorganization she was able to stay on the path of white supremacy and death-mongering where Hitler had failed. To this day Margaret Sanger’s vision lives on in the institution that is living her legacy. With governmental and social support, eugenics by abortion continues to press forward in America and throughout the world.
But what about all the good Planned Parenthood does? I see that Sanger and her company, Planned Parenthood, were once white supremacists who wanted to kill minorities, but surely not everything they do is bad. Besides racially-motivated baby-killing. don’t they offer other services? Some of them are even helpful. Hitler’s Germany never just killed Jews. They had social programs. They had music, art, patriotism. The Nazis could even be refined. But refinement built on a foundation of human sacrifice is, and will always be, barbaric.
Because people have been willing to overlook Margaret Sanger’s ideology, her white supremacist organization has been able to target and destroy thirty percent of the African-American population. She is succeeding where Hitler failed.
To this day Planned Parenthood is Margaret Sanger’s living legacy. With governmental and social support, eugenics by abortion continues to press forward in America and throughout the world. May the church stand up to defend the fatherless and defenseless in our land. Margaret Sanger and her institution have proved themselves enemies of the unprotected minorities that are my neighbor, and therefore they are enemies of us all. Remember the declaration of Martin Luther King Jr. as you pass a Planned Parenthood during Black History Month. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” (Rieder 2013 170).
Chesterton, G.K. 1922 Eugenics and Other Evils. London: Cassell and Company Limited
Grant, Dr. George. 2001 Killer Angel: A Short Biography of Planned Parenthood’s Founder, Margaret Sanger, Highland Press.
O’Rourke, P. J. 1994 All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty, New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.
Rieder, Jonathan. 2013 Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail and the Struggle that Changed a Nation, New York: Bloomsbury Press