Margaret Sanger Seems Pretty Nice

by Matt Rodgers

Margaret Sanger was the esteemed founder of Planned Parenthood. Although she and her organization sometimes face unfair attacks from conservatives and anti-choice extremists, it turns out she was a pretty thoughtful and compassionate lady.

For one thing, she supported the right of women to decide for themselves how many children to have.

“Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most.”

She believed that reproductive decisions should be between a woman and her doctor, and that family planning should be left up to families (rather than the government).

“No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit.” (Plan for Peace, Article 4)

She was extremely charitable, and believed in providing aid to the poor…

“[Charity] conceals a stupid cruelty, because it is not courageous enough to face unpleasant facts…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.”

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…and she had mercy on the children of large families.

“The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

Since she highly valued reproductive privacy – and all sorts of privacy, really – she tried to prevent people from becoming detectives.

“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.”

She was always pleasantly honest about her motives for providing undesirables and “the feeble-minded” with birth control…

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