Racist and Eugenic statements by Margaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood
"We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with
social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most
successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal.
We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro
population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if
it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
-- Margaret Sanger's December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255
Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith
Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in
Linda Gordon's Woman's Body, Woman's Right: A Social History of Birth
Control in America . New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.
"Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying
... demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism ...
[Philanthropists] encourage 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 ... We are paying
for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing,
unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born
-- Margaret Sanger. The Pivot of Civilization , 1922. Chapter on "The
Cruelty of Charity," pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library
"Today eugenics is suggested by the most diverse minds as the most
adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and
social problems. "I think you must agree ... that the campaign for birth control is not
merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims
of eugenics ... Birth control propaganda is thus the entering wedge for the
eugenic educator. "As an advocate of birth control I wish ... to point out that the
unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit,' admittedly
the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the
inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this
matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feebleminded,
the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be
held up for emulation.
"On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and
discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."
-- Margaret Sanger. "The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda."
Birth Control Review , October 1921, page 5.
"Give dysgenic groups [people with 'bad genes'] in our population
their choice of segregation or compulsory] sterilization."
-- Margaret Sanger, April 1932 Birth Control Review .
"The third group [of society] are those irresponsible and reckless
ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose
religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers.
Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper
element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their
support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the
procreation of this group should be stopped."
-- Margaret Sanger. Speech quoted in Birth Control: What It Is, How It
Works, What It Will Do. The Proceedings of the First American Birth
Control Conference . Held at the Hotel Plaza, New York City, November 11-
12, 1921. Published by the Birth Control Review , Gothic Press, pages 172
"In passing, we should here recognize the difficulties presented by the
idea of 'fit' and 'unfit.' Who is to decide this question? The grosser,
the more obvious, the undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be
discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind. But among the
writings of the representative Eugenists [sic], one cannot ignore the
distinct middle-class bias that prevails."
-- Margaret Sanger, quoted in Charles Valenza. "Was Margaret Sanger a
Racist?" Family Planning Perspectives , January-February 1985, page 44.
"Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race."
-- Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control . New York: New
York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.
"There is only one reply to a request for a higher birthrate among the
intelligent, and that is to ask the government to first take the burden of
the insane and feeble-minded from your back. [Mandatory] sterilization for
these is the answer."
-- Margaret Sanger, October 1926 Birth Control Review .
"[Slavs, Latin, and Hebrew immigrants are] human weeds ... a
deadweight of human waste ... [Blacks, soldiers, and Jews are a] menace to
"Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need ... We must prevent
Multiplication of this bad stock."
-- Margaret Sanger, April 1933 Birth Control Review .
"[Our objective is] unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children ... [Women must have the right] to live ... to love
... to be lazy ... to be an unmarried mother ... to create ... to destroy
... The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order
... The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members
is to kill it."
-- Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel , Volume I, Number 1.
Reprinted in Woman and the New Race . New York: Brentanos Publishers,
Compiled by: American Life League P.O. Box 1350
Stafford, Virginia 22555 (540) 659-4171
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