Woman And The New Race, Margaret Sanger Quotes
“The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
Woman and the New Race by Margaret Sanger contains the thinking and the strategies of the organization that would become today Planned Parenthood.
The book was published in 1920 by Truth Publishing Company in New York and is dedicated to
The Memory of my Mother,
Who Gave Birth To Eleven Living Children
Margaret Sanger and her sons. Her daughter is not pictured.
We do not know how many miscarriages or still births Sanger’s mother endured, but they were probably many. Today some 20 percent of pregnancies miscarry.
The Preface is penned by Havelock Ellis who tells us that “The Woman movement…is a neglected by-product of the French Revolution…” Dr. Ellis was a hero to Margaret Sanger. He writes in his autobiography that he and Sanger were “mildly intimate.” Indicating, perhaps a code-phrase for sex for the time.
The theme of Woman and the New Race is of Eugenics, Overpopulation and Birth-control.
Heiress of Margaret Sanger,
Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood,
in Vogue tells of her aborted child
“[Women] went on breeding with staggering rapidity those numberless, undesired children who became the clogs and the destroyers of civilizations.” p. 5
“[Women] even went on the extreme of infanticide and abortion.” p. 5 However Margaret Sanger would not oppose abortion if it was “safe.”
“War, famine, poverty and oppression of the workers…will cease when [each woman] limits her reproductivity.” p. 7
“[W]oman’s struggle…has been manifested in such horrors as infanticide, child abandonment and abortion.” p.10
But Margaret Sanger seems to want to confuse the reader with her favorable review of the ancient Greek customs of the “killing of deformed or sickly infants.” Sanger quotes historian Westermark, “Plato condemns all those children who are imperfect in limbs as well as those who are born of depraved citizens.” p.17
Continue reading at the jump.
And Aristotle in Politics, Book VII, Chapter V: “[L]et it be a law that nothing mutilated shall be nurtured.” p. 17
Sanger approves, “Aristotle was a conscious advocate of family limitation even if attained by violent means.” p. 17
Rome copied Greece. Sanger quotes Seneca: “We destroy monstrous births if they are born weakly or unnaturally formed.” Sanger doesn’t disagree. p. 20
So why should we now do as Rome did? “Wives of Romans…were relieved of…the drudgery of child rearing by slaves…Thus they were free to attain an advanced position and to become advisors of their husbands in politics, making…political careers.” p. 20 Margaret Sanger accurately predicted the rise of feminism through limiting the number children born freeing women to nurse, instead, the ambition of political power.
“It is apparent that nothing short of contraceptives can put an end to the horrors of abortion and infanticide.” p. 25 Jill Stanek reminds us that infanticide continues to this day in “comfort rooms” and is not opposed by Obama.
Sanger asks, “Do we want the millions of abortions performed annually to be multiplied? Do we want the…tender qualities of womanhood, so much needed for our racial development to perish [in abortion]? Emphasis mind. If women have contraception, thinks Sanger, abortion won’t be needed. “[T]he future of the American race” depends on limiting the number of children. p 29
Margaret Sanger and the eugenicists of her time were most concerned with “the pure native white stock” p. 38, of the United States. The race betterment movement, based on genetic science, looked to the work done to improve the off-spring and genetic make-up of cattle. Live stock, human stock; cattle or kids: there was no difference to the twentieth century eugenicist and “the dream of a greater race in America…”. p. 31
So how do we improve the human species? “What material is there for a greater American race?” asks Sanger. It is not the “melting pot.” p. 31. It is not the “foreign stock.” p. 31. It is not the “illiterate, many of these, of course, being Negroes.” p.38.
No, Sanger writes, “If we are to develop in America a new race with a racial soul…We must…not permit an increase in population [of] weaklings [and] racial handicaps.” p. 44. Edwin Black has more in War Against the Weak.
For the women with large families, Sanger is especially compassionate, “Motherhood becomes a disaster and childhood a tragedy.”
[T]his woman loses…all opportunity of personal expression outside her home. She has neither a chance to develop social qualities no to indulge in social pleasures.
The feminine element in her…cannot assert itself. She can contribute nothing to the wellbeing of the community.
She is a breeding machine and a drudge…She can be nothing as long as she is denied means of limiting her family. [A] privilege denied to the mother of many children…to seek amusements…to know the meaning of real recreation.p 53
It is her love life that dies first in the fear of undesired pregnancy. It is her opportunity for self expression that perishes [with unwanted pregnancy]. p. 97
Sanger’s motto might be Recreation not Procreation. All women must have a good time. A girl’s gotta have fun.
In Chapter V, subtitled “The Wickedness of Creating Large Families” Sanger states that “The most serious evil of our times is that of encouraging the bringing into the world of large families.” Her words may “startle” where “The most immoral practice of the day is breeding too many children.” p. 57
How do we fix this? Margaret Sanger sums up chapter five as an advocate of infanticide, “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” p. 63
Sanger was an early proponent of comprehensive sex education as the cure for all of the world’s afflictions. Make the world a better place and make man a better race. “[A] knowledge of sex functions [would prevent] abortions…” And Sanger tells us that the “[H]elpless breeding of helpless is stupid brutality.” p. 85.
Margaret Sanger defines freedom, “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body.” p. 94. Our Bodies are Ourselves equals Freedom.
Sanger asserts that wives know that husbands aren’t much help. “She has learned that, lovable and considerate as the individual husband may be, she has nothing to expect from men in the mass, when they make the laws…” p.98. Hence the need for women in politics, Sanger would argue.
“Woman must have her freedom…of choosing whether of not she shall be a mother…” p. 100. Sanger demands that married women have a right to have sex and a right to have no children. This proposition has evolved today into unmarried women having sex and having no children. Margaret Sanger would not object — this was, indeed, her lifestyle.
Sanger doesn’t care much for abstinence or continence as it was called back then,
The majority of physicians and sex psychologists hold that the practice of absolute continence [abstinence] is…an absurdity. It is seldom practiced, however, and when adhered to under compulsion the usual result is injury to the nervous system and to the general health….Enforced continence is injurious…p. 102.
Sanger quotes a Dr. J. Rutgers on celibacy, “Especially in the case of women may the damage entailed by too long continued sexual abstinence bring about deep disturbances.” p. 104. However, The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 1917 that “sexual continence is compatible with health and is the best prevention of venereal infections…”
“The woman…has her choice between health-wrecking consequences [of abstinence]…and the sort of prostitution legalized by the marriage ceremony.” p.112.
Abstinence, “does not meet the needs of the masses.” p. 115. Margaret Sanger the inspiration of today’s Planned Parenthood, first told us that, in so many words, they are just going to do it anyway… “The world has been governed too long by repression.” p. 116.
“The disastrous effects of repressing the sex force are written plainly in the… entry books of the hospitals for the insane.” p. 116. Sanger believes that abstinence makes one crazy.
“Does anyone imagine that a woman would submit to abortion if not denied the knowledge of scientific, effective contraceptives?” p. 121. Sanger would not be surprised and would even encourage abortion as a contraceptive as seen today, “The question that society must answer is this: Shall family limitation be achieved through birth control or abortion?” p. 121.
“I assert that that…abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.” p. 126. Except, maybe, for “family limitation.” p. 121.
“Family limitation will always be practiced as it is now being practiced — either by birth control or by abortion.” p. 129. This remains true to this day. Except Planned Parenthood now profits from contraception — and, if that fails — abortion.
“With each child [women] increase their own misery and provide another worker to force down wages and prolong hours, [of labor] though competition for employment.” p. 140. Keeping down the supply of workers, asserts Sanger, will help the workers of the world get higher wages. Simple supply-demand macroeconomics. Sanger was a socialist in sympathy with the anti-capitalists of her time.
And Sanger was an elitist. She helpfully reminds us that “proletarian” means “producer of children.” P 141.
Quoting Sanger in her own words is a challenge to today’s Planned Parenthood and even the labor unions. Writing in 1920 just after World War I, she attempts to make a case for family size limitation with the “benefits” of war.
Even with the temporary advantages gained by the wiping out of millions of workers in the Great War, labor’s problem remains unsolved. p.145.
“The way to get rid of labor problems, unemployment, low wages, the surplus, unwanted population, is to stop breeding.” p.146. Europe has heeded Sanger and Planned Parenthood’s demand and is now breeding at below replacement rate, save for immigration. And Sanger didn’t care for foreigners either.
“No…Socialist republic can operate successfully maintain its ideals unless the practice of birth control is encouraged.” p. 148.
Sanger knows the source of all wars and the solution. In Chapter XIII Margaret Sanger declares that Battalions of Unwanted Babies the Cause of War. p.151.
The “need of expansion” is only another name for overpopulation…The rulers of these nations and their militarists have constantly called upon the people to breed, breed, breed! p.153…The great crime of imperialistic Germany was its high birth rate. p. 157.
Sanger was a devotee of “Robert Thomas Malthus, formulator of the doctrine which bears his name…[who] showed that mankind [overpopulation] tends to increase faster than the food supply.” p. 158. Modern Malthusianism proponent Paul R. Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb in 1968 predicting mass starvation in the 1980’s.
Sanger and Malthus also agree on the similarity of human stock and live stock,
The following passage suggests that techniques of animal husbandry could apply to humans, anticipating the idea which, in 1883, Francis Galton called eugenics:
“It does not… by any means seem impossible that by an attention to breed, a certain degree of improvement, similar to that among animals, might take place among men.
Whether intellect could be communicated may be a matter of doubt; but size, strength, beauty, complexion, and perhaps longevity are in a degree transmissible…
As the human race, however, could not be improved in this way without condemning all the bad specimens to celibacy, it is not probable that an attention to breed should ever become general.”
Margaret Sanger is a fan of Darwin and his Origin of the Species. “[Darwin] observes that we do not permit philanthropies and charities, build asylums and hospitals and keep the medical profession busy preserving those who could not otherwise survive.” p. 159.
“We can refuse to bring weak, the helpless and the unwanted children into the world.” p. 161.
Margaret Sanger was an early practitioner of Free Love and encouraged its expansion. “Upon the shoulders of the woman conscious of her new freedom rests the responsibility of creating a new sex morality.” p. 167.
Because, “Love is the greatest force of the universe; freed of its bonds of submission and unwanted progeny, it will formulate and compel of its own nature observance to standards of purity far beyond the highest conception of the average [church-going] moralist…The feminine spirit…will make its own high tenets of morality.” p. 182.
Sanger was a racist who demanded racial purity. “The effort toward racial progress…will continue to mark time…until [the medical profession, social workers, charitable, philanthropic organizations and the government] get…birth control.” p 207.
Margaret Sanger was the middle child of 11 children from an impoverished family. “I remember that ever since I was a child, the idea of large families associated itself with poverty in my mind.” p. 213.
Proof that Margaret Sanger is right? The United States Postal Service. “It is plain that puritanism is in the throes of a lingering death…pamphlets discussing sex matters [are] distributed by the United States Government.” p. 225.
Times are a-changing. “Woman’s role has been that of an incubator and little more.” p. 226.
“The exercise of [a woman’s] right to decide how many children she will have…make for a better race.” p. 227. Because, “Birth control…is nothing more…than…the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives.” p. 229.
Sanger is brimming with optimism. “This is the dawn…We gather perfect fruit from perfect trees. The race is but the amplification of its mother body…beautified and perfected for souls akin to the mother soul.” p.233.
Sanger sums up, “Child slavery, prostitution, feeblemindedness, physical deterioration, hunger, oppression and war will disappear from the earth.”
“[T]he race that is to be in America await a motherhood that is to be sacred…” p. 234.
And the perfection will follow, “Great beings come forth…When the womb becomes fruitful,
another Newton will come…
a Plato who will be understood,
a Socrates who will drink no hemlock, and
a Jesus who will not die upon the cross.” p. 234.
Salvation will come through Planned Parenthood.
Thank you (foot)notes:
The book is available on line at Sacred Texts.
In 2003, Edwin Black wrote a national bestseller War against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign To Create A Master Race.