Margaret Sanger: Hillary’s Hero

When Hillary Clinton was representing New York in the U.S. Senate, in order to placate her large Catholic and Jewish Orthodox and Hasidim constituencies, she called on Democrats to be more tolerant of the beliefs of those who oppose abortion. But now, reporting to the most pro-abortion president ever to hold that office, and not to the electorate, Secretary of State Clinton is revealing her genuine extremist positions on the subject.

At Planned Parenthood’s recent annual gala in Houston, Mrs. Clinton, accepting its highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award, said “I want to assure you that reproductive rights. . .will be a key to the foreign policy of this administration.”

Let’s see: North Korea is testing nukes and lobbing missiles, the Middle East is a tinderbox, Iran is developing a bomb, the economic crisis might destabilize international relations, but “reproductive rights” (a/k/a abortion) is a key issue in Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The taking of innocent life gets the same priority as issues of war and peace. How absurd is that?

There’s more: Secretary Clinton also told her adoring audience, “I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision,” and “Margaret Sanger’s work is not yet done.”

Let’s be thankful her work is not yet done! Because Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) the founder of Planned Parenthood and the editor of The Birth Control Review was one of America’s leading proponents of a particularly crude kind of eugenics.

The belief that the evolution of the human race may be improved by programs of breeding which foster more desirable traits than nature alone may provide is called eugenics or positive eugenics. Negative eugenics (also known as dysgenics or cacogenics) would “purify” the gene pool by breeding out undesirable traits or by disposing of undesirable human beings: individuals, ethnic groups, or whole races.

Sanger embraced both approaches. “Eugenics,” Sanger said in 1921, is “suggested by the most diverse minds as the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political, and social problems. The most intransigeant [sic] and daring teachers and scientists have lent their support to this great biological interpretation of the human race.” Sanger boldly championed “more children for the fit, less from the unfit, that is the chief issue of birth control.” And she believed she could provide the leadership necessary to identify undesirables and implement plans to intervene in their sex lives.

Born to Irish Catholic parents who raised eleven children, Margaret Sanger rejected Church teachings on procreation and proposed a Code to Stop the Overproduction of Children Based on Common Sense Instead of Sentiment, which asserted that no woman “has a legal right to bear children, and no man shall have the right to become a father without a permit for parenthood.”

To restrict breeding, local government birth control clinics would be empowered to issue a limited number of birth permits to ensure that population growth would be controlled. Only those with proper genetic credentials and with the financial means to support a family would receive a permit for parenthood, valid for one birth. Those found biologically unfit, the “feeble-minded,” would be sterilized. “There is only one reply to a request for a higher birth rate among the intelligent,” Sanger wrote, “and that is to ask the government to first take the burden of the insane and feebleminded from your back. Sterilization for these is the solution.”

Appalled by the influx of Southern and Eastern Europeans who landed on our shores in the early twentieth century, Sanger opened her first birth control clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn, a neighborhood populated by what she considered “irresponsible breeders” – Slavs, Latinos, and Jews.

Sanger also condemned immigrant Italian Catholics for following Church teachings and propagating “feebleminded” children. According to Sanger, their population had degenerated to “very inferior racial health” due to the celibacy of intelligent Italian priests and nuns.

Sanger even found the democratic process wanting. In the April 1925 issue of The Birth Control Review, she opined: “We can all vote, even the mentally arrested. And so it is no surprise to find the moron’s vote as good as the vote of the geniuses. The outlook is not a cheerful one.” Claiming that elected representatives were “apparently mentally and constitutionally unfit,” she called for qualifying intelligence tests for legislators.

“Progress,” G.K. Chesterton observed, “has discouraged anybody who had anything to say in favor of man, in his common relations to manhood and motherhood and the normal appetites of nature. Progress has been merely the persecution of the Common Man.” Margaret Sanger, one of America’s most prominent progressives, devoted her life to trying to restrict Catholic and Jewish “human weeds,” as she called them. Only an Anglo-Saxon “race of thoroughbreds,” she preached, should be permitted to exist.

And now our nation’s chief foreign policy spokesman calls on Sanger’s heirs to finish her work. What a scary prospect for the world’s common folks.

George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, is the author of The American Catholic Voter and Sons of St. Patrick, written with Brad Miner. His most recent book is Mario Cuomo: The Myth and the Man.