Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood with the intention of limiting births among those she considered unfit, including those who had physical or mental disabilities, African Americans, the poor, among others. Many would be surprised by some of the things Sanger wrote and said during her lifetime. Here are just a few quotes:
(1) “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world – that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin – that people can – can commit.”
Sanger said this in 1957 in an interview with Mike Wallace. The transcript of the interview is available here.
(2) Sanger deplored provision of assistance to women in slums to help with pregnancy and child-bearing, writing that it “encourages the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant.” (The Pivot of Civilization, p. 34)
(3) “Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives.” (Woman and the New Race, p. 82)
(4) “Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods.” (“Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” published in 1919)
(5) “There is no doubt that women are apt to look upon abortion as of little consequence and to treat it accordingly. An abortion is an important a matter as a confinement and requires as much attention as the birth of a child at its full term…In plain everyday language, in an abortion there is always a very serious risk to the health and often to the life of the patient.”
Surprisingly, Sanger fully appreciated the dangers of abortion to the woman, as demonstrated in this short quote from her article “Birth Control or Abortion?” published in 1918. While there have been advanced in medical care since 1918, abortion remains a major medical procedure with the risk of serious, even fatal, complications.