Margaret Sanger’s Case For Eugenics

Amy de Miceli

“The campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics.” Birth Control Review, 1921

As the Founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger is considered a hero to many for bringing choice to women in America. However, it becomes obvious from Sanger’s own words and publications that she did not care about freedom of choice, but cared only for a superior race, and she had a plan to “prevent multiplication of this bad stock”.


Sanger was a member of the American Eugenics Society. She was a eugenicist who wanted to forcefully sterilize people, she wrote many articles and books on the subject. In 1922 she wrote The Pivot of Civilization, (HG Wells wrote the introduction)and she refers to people as “human weeds” and morons who did not deserve to have children. In The Case for Birth Control she offers a vague list of random reasons that would justify sterilization, it included anyone that was “poor” and people with children that are “not normal.” With such ambiguous standards, virtually anyone could be labeled as unfit.

[efoods]The US Supreme Court authorized forced sterilization of “undesirables” for over 40 years in America, and by 1933 most states had adopted Eugenics Sterilization Laws, before Hitler began Eugenics in Germany.

Hitler admired the work of Margaret Sanger, and modeled many of his Eugenics Laws after America’s. Coincidentally, Hilter’s director of the Racial Hygiene Society, Ernst Rudin was the same man that Sanger had previously commissioned for her own agenda, publishing his work in her magazine, the Birth Control Review.

In 1939 Margaret Sanger began “The Negro Project”and to bring people along willingly she enlisted black preachers to support sterilization. She outlined the deceitful plan in a letter to Clarence Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Empire,

“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.”

Sanger’s personal “Plan for Peace” outlines what she really thought of our human rights.

The second step of her plan “would be to take an inventory of the secondary group such as illiterates, paupers, unemployable, criminals, prostitutes, dope-fiends; classify them in special departments under government medical protection, and segregate them on farms and open spaces as long as necessary for the strengthening and development of moral conduct.”

Margaret Sanger has been paraded around as an advocate for “women’s rights”, her historic value has been overinflated, and her dark history has been, (and is being) rewritten by the main stream media. Life Magazine for example, has even placed Margaret Sanger as one of the “most important people of the century” which may be true… if you are a eugenicist.

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


Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: Abortion and Planned Parenthood


Dr. Angela Franks, author of the incredibly well-researched and scholarly book “Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy,” is perhaps the nation’s foremost authority on the issue of Margaret Sanger’s troubling history of eugenic activism.

Franks spoke to attendees at this year’s NRLC Convention about the eugenic roots of Planned Parenthood’s founder in a talk entitled “Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood: The Eugenics Connection.”

Franks draws out and clarifies the image that Planned Parenthood has attempted to create of its infamous founder. The organization has turned a blind eye to her eugenic history, and when challenged on issues such as her support for sterilization, Planned Parenthood has a habit of saying that Sanger did not, in fact, endorse sterilization, or changing the uncomfortable subject to something else to divert attention from Sanger’s troubling views.

What did Sanger think about the issue of sterilization?

First of all, Franks points out, Sanger stringently pushed a policy of the government compensating poor citizens in exchange with a poor person’s agreement to be sterilized as a means of population control. “In this way,” Sanger said, “the moron and the diseased would have no posterity to inherit their condition.” (Franks points out in her book that bribing a poor person with money in exchange for sterilization is in fact a deeply immoral and unethical act.) Franks points out that this bribery is something that has frequently occurred in other developing countries.

Franks points out that Planned Parenthood, in the past, has dealt with this embarrassing history of Sanger encouraging sterilization in three ways:

1.      Sanger is not a eugenicist, this is a terrible lie.

2.      But even if she were, lots of other people were at the time, too.

3.      Let’s talk about something else. “We do sooo many great things for poor people…”

Frank points out that the first strategy is hard to utilize, since it’s simply untrue. Strategies two and three, however, have really come to the fore.

Frank discussed the anecdote of Hilary Clinton receiving Planned Parenthood’s highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award. When Clinton was questioned by legislators as to why she had accepted an award named after a confirmed eugenicist given her position in government, Clinton defended Sanger. She said that Thomas Jefferson was a great guy, but he supported the possession of slaves. Similarly, she posited, Sanger was a great woman who just had the little flaw of supporting forced sterilization and eugenics. Franks, as she is apt to do, took hold of the contradiction, clarifying that unlike Sanger, Jefferson did not dedicate his entire life to the slavery movement. Sanger dedicated the sum of her life’s work to furthering the eugenic cause, however. So Clinton’s comparison was not very valid.

Franks then touched on Planned Parenthood’s defense of Sanger as “primarily a feminist,” rather than a eugenicist. However, another contradiction emerges here: if Margaret Sanger was a true-blood feminist, why did she not pursue the woman’s right to vote (the premier feminist issue of Margaret Sanger’s time)? Why did she work for a cause that promoted the forced sterilization of women? This is not genuine feminism, Franks acknowledges, but Planned Parenthood suggests that Sanger was simply making eugenic statements because it was the popular notion among the white elite of her time, and not because she actually sided with the ideology. Once again, this is a lie: if eugenics were not Sanger’s personal ideology, why did she gush about it in private letters to friends?

“For [Sanger], female liberation was primarily about sexual liberation,” Franks points out. Sanger was by no means “pro-choice” or a true feminist. She only believed that certain populations had a right to bear children, and was comfortable dictating the reproductive futures of everyone.

Planned Parenthood may try to characterize its founder as a pro-woman, pro-choice individual who benefited the society in which she lived, but the reality is that she was an elite member of society whose ideals were shaped by bitterness towards child-bearing, and did not look out for the common good as much as they looked out for the comfort of other people like herself.