Patterico's Pontifications

7/22/2020

NY Planned Parenthood Disavows Margaret Sanger’s Connection To Eugenics, But Keeps Its Abortion Mill Humming Inside

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:07 pm



[guest post by Dana]

A conveniently-timed epiphany. After all, it’s not as if pro-lifers have been pointing out the vileness of Sanger’s advocacy for eugenics for decades or anything, right?? Oh, wait, what’s that? Ah, so that’s what all that mockery and condemnation from Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates was about...

Better late than never, I guess:

Planned Parenthood of Greater New York will remove the name of Margaret Sanger, a founder of the national organization, from its Manhattan health clinic because of her “harmful connections to the eugenics movement,” the group said on Tuesday.

Ms. Sanger, a public health nurse who opened the first birth control clinic in the United States in Brooklyn in 1916, has long been lauded as a feminist icon and reproductive-rights pioneer.

But her legacy also includes supporting eugenics, a discredited belief in improving the human race through selective breeding, often targeted at poor people, those with disabilities, immigrants and people of color.

“The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color,” Karen Seltzer, the chair of the New York affiliate’s board, said in a statement.

The group is also talking to city leaders about replacing Ms. Sanger’s name on a street sign that has hung near its offices on Bleecker Street for more than two decades.

Really? They’re just now getting a clue that Sanger’s involvement in eugenics was vile? The movement targeted poor minorities, and the physically disabled and mentally impaired. How did they not know this? But of course, they’ve known about this forever, and they did not care one bit. In fact, they were in the habit of defending Sanger and making excuses for her:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the national organization, has defended Ms. Sanger in the past, citing her work with Black leaders in the 1930s and 1940s. As recently as 2016, the group issued a fact sheet saying that while it condemned some of her beliefs, she had mostly been well-intentioned in trying to make birth control accessible for poor and immigrant communities.

The national organization said in the fact sheet that it disagreed with Ms. Sanger’s decision to speak to members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1926 as she tried to spread her message about birth control.

It also condemned her support for policies to sterilize people who had disabilities that could not be treated; for banning immigrants with disabilities; and for “placing so-called illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope fiends on farms and in open spaces as long as necessary for the strengthening and development of moral conduct.”

The effort by Planned Parenthood to whitewash Sanger’s advocacy and complicity, and to provide cover for her so the big money would keep rolling in (while simultaneously) assuaging their own guilt, is cheap and easily seen through. In other words, it’s exactly what I would expect them to do. This isn’t a reckoning. This is little more than a how-can-we-distance-ourselves-from-Sanger-and-appease-black-supporters-yet-still-come-out-of-it-with-clean-if-not-bloody-hands ploy.

As a reminder: “In 2009, Hillary Clinton received Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award. In 2014, the honor went to Nancy Pelosi. Neither woman had a word to say about Sanger’s racism or support for eugenics. But suddenly, Planned Parenthood of New York has decided to condemn her.”

Anyway, the effort to disavow Sanger is ultimately a good one. Too bad that the disavowal of the reprehensible is limited just to a name, and that the actual practice of the reprehensible will continue inside the building walls, where everyone’s hands have blood on them.

Postscript: I am going to leave you with an essay by Sanger, in which she, ironically, warned about the dangers of abortion:

In plain, everyday language, in an abortion there is always a very serious risk to the health and often to the life of the patient.

It is only the women of wealth who can afford to give an abortion proper care and treatment both at the time of the operation and afterwards. These women often escape any serious consequences from its occurrence.

The women whose incomes are limited and who must continue at work before they have recovered from the effects of an abortion are the great army of sufferers. It is among such that the deaths due to abortion usually ensue. It is these, too, who are most often forced to resort to such operations.

If death does not result, the woman who has undergone an abortion is not therefore safe. The womb may not return to its natural size but remain large and heavy, tending to fall away from its natural position. Abortion often leaves the uterus in a condition to conceive easily again and unless prevention is strictly followed another pregnancy will surely occur. Frequent abortions tend to cause barrenness and serious, painful pelvic ailments. These and other conditions arising from such operations are quite likely to ruin a woman’s general health.

While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.

I also assert that the responsibility for these abortions and the illness, misery and deaths that come in their train lies at the door of a government whose authority has been stretched beyond the limits of the people’s intention and which, in its puritanical blindness, insists upon suffering and death from ignorance, rather than life and happiness from knowledge and prevention.

It needs no assertion of mine to call attention to the grim fact that the laws prohibiting the imparting of information concerning the preventing of conception are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each year in this country and an untold amount of sickness and sorrow. The suffering and the death of these women is squarely upon the heads of the lawmakers and the puritanical, masculine-minded persons, who insist upon retaining the abominable legal restrictions.

–Dana

65 Responses to “NY Planned Parenthood Disavows Margaret Sanger’s Connection To Eugenics, But Keeps Its Abortion Mill Humming Inside”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  2. Nope. Disavowal is not enough.

    They must be canceled.

    ‘dem da rulez.

    whembly (c30c83)

  3. Anyway, the effort to disavow Sanger is ultimately a good one.

    Just another something that PP will flush away. Or perhaps they can surgically remove some parts that can be sold on the black market.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  4. Remind me why we want Biden to pick pro-abortion judges for the next four years.

    beer ‘n pretzels (883307)

  5. “Remind me why we want Biden to pick pro-abortion judges for the next four years.”

    So Republicans can fund raise off of it.

    Davethulhu (3a09c9)

  6. remember stem express and how becerra, has been punishing daleiden for revealing their bloody laundry, to paraphrase don henley,

    narciso (7404b5)

  7. Remind me why we want Biden to pick pro-abortion judges for the next four years

    Because it’s that or four more years of a short-sighted buffoon who has spent this year demonstrating his manifest unfitness to lead in a crisis.

    (Not That) Bill O'Reilly (6bb12a)

  8. Margaret Sanger has always posed a dilemma for Trump’s base. On the one hand, she was a virulent racist and bigot as Dana notes in the post. On the other hand, she vehemently opposed masturbation:

    Sanger characterizes masturbation as a disease and argues that it hinders development during adolescence. She says that masturbation is an unhealthy sexual impulse in comparison to the sexual impulse that contributes to individuals being attracted to each other.

    Yeah, I said “hand”.

    nk (1d9030)

  9. Well in terms of waiting too long to disavow something you have the leaders of Southern states waiting a lot more decades to disavow something worse, the Confederacy.

    Sanger did something that nobody else was doing at the time – providing women with choices regarding giving birth. For that she should be celebrated. She also held repugnant views re race, which is a good reason to keep her name off buildings.

    She’s about the same level as Thomas Jefferson.

    Victor (0301a3)

  10. Victor, just because Sanger did something no one else was doing, does not mean she should be celebrated. Trump is arguably doing something no one else is doing, must we celebrate him, too? According to today’s theory, Margaret must be totally canceled for even so much as one offense. Otherwise you are entirely complicit. Right?

    felipe (023cc9)

  11. @4 Because his policies are killing born-people and he is undermining the structure of the country itself.

    Nic (896fdf)

  12. “It needs no assertion of mine to call attention to the grim fact that the laws prohibiting the imparting of information concerning the preventing of conception are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each year in this country and an untold amount of sickness and sorrow. The suffering and the death of these women is squarely upon the heads of the lawmakers and the puritanical, masculine-minded persons, who insist upon retaining the abominable legal restrictions.”

    I see nothing to criticize in the above statement.

    And yes Sanger was doing something good that nobody else was doing – attempting to get accurate birth control information into the hands of women. Where else were they to go? The Catholic Church?

    Finally, on the hypocrisy front, I note that recent conservative claims that they are really hating on Sanger for her racism, not her advocacy of birth control are kind of hard to take seriously given I’ve not seen very much on the subject until recently . if there’s a conservative politician or pundit who criticized her on that basis before 1980 or so, I’d be astonished.

    And if you were really upset about 1920’s eugenics then you’re overlooking the Congressional leaders who introduced one of its most clear manifestations, the 1924 Immigration Act. But conservatives love that Act as it shut down immigration for a generation and consciously, intentionally favored Northern Europeans over everybody else.

    But no, Sanger’s the witch for supporting the Act. Not the people who wrote and voted for it.

    Victor (0301a3)

  13. 12. Well now that women can kill their children at will and freely use contraceptives and abortifacients, we should never hear any more whining from the eighteenth-wave feminists, right? Everything that Margaraet Sanger wanted, she got. No more being hounded by femi-nazi-harpies…right?

    Gryph (08c844)

  14. nk @8

    On the other hand, she vehemently opposed masturbation.

    Yeah, I said “hand”.

    So which one was the masturbatory hand?

    norcal (a5428a)

  15. I think it varies from Trumpkin to Trumpkin, norcal.

    nk (1d9030)

  16. Gryph,

    You got a problem with women freely using contraceptives?

    Why do you think feminists are like nazis?

    Victor (a225f9)

  17. I am no fan of Margaret Sanger, I think she was basically a promiscuous slut who turned her itches into a cause, but as far as her eugenics views go it was not she who ruled “Three generations of imbeciles are enough” as a Justice of the Supreme Court in 1927.

    nk (1d9030)

  18. In my junior high years, I once called a girl a slut while riding the school bus. A second or two after that, I was like Wile E. Coyote with weird keyboard characters emanating from my head.

    norcal (a5428a)

  19. nk,

    You think it was an “itch” that made Sanger understand that easy access to birth control was fundamentally important to women?

    Victor (a225f9)

  20. A little more information on Sanger’s early history, from wikipedia:

    O

    n October 16, 1916, Sanger opened a family planning and birth control clinic at 46 Amboy Street in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, the first of its kind in the United States.[48] Nine days after the clinic opened, Sanger was arrested. Sanger’s bail was set at $500 and she went back home. Sanger continued seeing some women in the clinic until the police came a second time. This time, Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, were arrested for breaking a New York state law that prohibited distribution of contraceptives. Sanger was also charged with running a public nuisance.[49] Sanger and Byrne went to trial in January 1917.[50] Byrne was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in a workhouse but went on a hunger strike. She was force-fed, the first woman hunger striker in the US to be so treated.[51] Only when Sanger pledged that Byrne would never break the law was she pardoned after ten days.[52] Sanger was convicted; the trial judge held that women did not have “the right to copulate with a feeling of security that there will be no resulting conception.”[53] Sanger was offered a more lenient sentence if she promised to not break the law again, but she replied: “I cannot respect the law as it exists today.”[54] For this, she was sentenced to 30 days in a workhouse.[54] An initial appeal was rejected, but in a subsequent court proceeding in 1918, the birth control movement won a victory when Judge Frederick E. Crane of the New York Court of Appeals issued a ruling which allowed doctors to prescribe contraception.[55] The publicity surrounding Sanger’s arrest, trial, and appeal sparked birth control activism across the United States and earned the support of numerous donors, who would provide her with funding and support for future endeavors.<[56]

    Victor (a225f9)

  21. You think it was an “itch” that made Sanger understand that easy access to birth control was fundamentally important to women?

    What else? All that abstract feminist claptrap? If that was the case, all the contraception they would need would be a single aspirin tablet. Not to swallow. To hold between their knees.

    nk (1d9030)

  22. Victor (a225f9) — 7/22/2020 @ 8:50 pm

    I think it was her failure to recognize the humanity of the unborn that led her to overvalue the convenience gained in that trade-off. Especially when those clumps of cells might lead to more undesirables.

    It is a poverty that a child must die in order for you to live as you wish. – Mother Teresa

    felipe (023cc9)

  23. Abstinence it too hard, nk, and there’s no money in it. And it never stopped a single rapist, so why bother?

    felipe (023cc9)

  24. Oh, I agree with the reality, felipe. I even approve of it, how else would we propagate the species and it’s fun, too. It’s the abstract claptrap that I mock.

    nk (1d9030)

  25. It’s the abstract claptrap that I mock.
    nk (1d9030) — 7/22/2020 @ 9:37 pm

    Rightfully so!

    felipe (023cc9)

  26. You’re right, felipe. Abstinence is too hard. So, if we had all followed Mother Teresa (who, of course, was against contraception) the planet would be even more overpopulated than it already is.

    norcal (a5428a)

  27. And god said: exodus 21:22-25 if you believe the bible.

    asset (9f51c1)

  28. 16. Not all feminists are like nazis. Just the ones who encourage the holocaust of killing babies by the thousands every year.

    And as for women using contraceptives, it’s changed the economics of sex in ways that have benefitted no one thanks to the laws of unintended consequences.

    Gryph (08c844)

  29. norcal (a5428a) — 7/23/2020 @ 12:29 am

    You missed my sarcasm. If one can hold one’s breath, one can practice abstinence you don’t have to do it forever. It takes no superhuman effort, only the exercise of free-will. But abstinence also requires practice from both parties in question. That is why rape laughs at abstinence just as all crime laughs at the law, and all sin offends God.

    Why have laws at all, if people will just break them? That was the point of my comment. Mother Teresa is right.

    felipe (023cc9)

  30. Are men promiscuous sluts? Are they expected to practice abstinence except on those solitary occasions when they want to produce a child? Do they have to undergo childbirth and are they likely to be stuck with the child or, historically, do they wander away?

    And sure, feminazi is a term invented solely on the basis of abortion policy. Keep telling yourself that.

    Women want to live lives as free as men. Some men seem to have a problem with that, they feel liberty is a proprietary project.

    Victor (0301a3)

  31. Women want to live lives as free as men. Some men seem to have a problem with that, they feel liberty is a proprietary project.

    I think this speaks to a massive shift in culture when women not only wanted to live lives as free men, they also want to be able to have sex freely like men, yet without bearing the brunt of the consequences (becoming pregnant). So we have seen abortion become progressively more available to relieve women of that consequence, in spite of the availability of a myriad of contraception options. At the same time, that women’s bodies are designed to carry babies and bring them forth has become viewed as some sort of unfair condition built into the human race. The gift that it is has been lost at the resentment that women, primarily, suffer the consequences of free sex, thus the playing field is not level and women cannot be regarded equal to men, nor live as freely. IOW, women wanted to not just, reasonably, have all of the options men have with regard to society, professions, rates of pay, access, etc., but they also turned a corner where that *fairness* included being able to have unencumbered sex, without any of the inconvinient natural consequences that might come with such decisions.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  32. So we have seen abortion become progressively more available

    Might be more available but the rate has been decreasing for the last 30 years.

    Time123 (653992)

  33. Yes, that is also true, Time123. That perhaps could speak to the increased availability of birth control, no? Also, I think in the past two years or so, there has been another shift toward motherhood that had not been there in the previous decade. I think the advent of “mommybloggers” and the increasing opportunities to make money off of it while staying home with one’s children also helped shift views.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  34. Are men promiscuous sluts? Are they expected to practice abstinence except on those solitary occasions when they want to produce a child? Do they have to undergo childbirth and are they likely to be stuck with the child or, historically, do they wander away?

    And sure, feminazi is a term invented solely on the basis of abortion policy. Keep telling yourself that.

    Women want to live lives as free as men. Some men seem to have a problem with that, they feel liberty is a proprietary project.
    Victor (0301a3) — 7/23/2020 @ 12:33 pm

    1 Yes!
    2 Yes. Do you not understand that abstinence is practiced between TWO parties? Your use of “they” means “men”, right? A person unable to get laid is not really practicing abstinence.
    3 Blame biology, not men.
    4 “stuck with a child” wow, hate children much?
    5 “wander away” wow, hate men much?

    And sure, feminazi is a term invented solely on the basis of abortion policy. Keep telling yourself that.

    6 I have no doubt that you believe that drivel. That is your “truth,” right?

    felipe (023cc9)

  35. That perhaps could speak to the increased availability of birth control, no?

    I think that’s a big part of it. I think other big parts are
    -Economic improvements.
    -Reductions in environmental lead.
    -Improved social services.
    -Reduced stigma in being a single mom.
    -The pro-life movement
    -Sex Ed

    Time123 (653992)

  36. Women want to live lives as free as men. Some men seem to have a problem with that, they feel liberty is a proprietary project.
    Victor (0301a3) — 7/23/2020 @ 12:33 pm

    And this is a good reason for ending the lives of innocents, right? Right?

    felipe (023cc9)

  37. I could agree to those, Time123, with the exception of “Reductions in environmental lead” because I’m not sure what you mean.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  38. Women want to live lives as free as men. Some men seem to have a problem with that, they feel liberty is a proprietary project.

    Victor (0301a3) — 7/23/2020 @ 12:33 pm

    Women want to throw away children, just like men? Is that what you’re saying?

    NJRob (f76b32)

  39. 30. I don’t like to use “slut” in reference to men. I prefer the term man-whore. YMMV.

    Maybe you could explain what “feminazi” means than, Victor. I’m going to assume you’re a man, so you’ll forgive me if I take it with a grain of salt.

    Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be. As I mentioned upthread, the economics of relationships has been changed by birth control in ways that haven’t been any better for men than they have for women.

    Gryph (08c844)

  40. 39… yes, that’s what he’s saying… unfortunately.

    Colonel Haiku (5b7649)

  41. That’s a good faith summary of his point? Really?

    Time123 (dfbd2e)

  42. I have a question for those of you who think abortion should be illegal.

    If anything that terminates a pregnancy from the moment of conception onward is the equivalent of murder, is it therefore your contention that a device or drug that prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall is just as murderous as a third trimester abortion?

    If not, why not?

    If so, would you outlaw IUDs and morning after pills?

    norcal (a5428a)

  43. I don’t post in abortion threads because the two sides are irreconcilable.

    Davethulhu (eadaad)

  44. The term “anything” is not a just one. If a doctor is trying to save the life of a pregnant woman and unintentionally ends the life of the child, that is not murder. Murder is the intentional taking of a human life.

    Abortion is always murder because of this intention.

    felipe (023cc9)

  45. ah the judgement we will face, on this and many things, going back to old testament times, will be savage,

    I mentioned daniel silva’s novel length screed, which dismisses the gospels, and conversely blames them for antisemitism, I guess you have to throw in isiah, in fact it makes a direct line between the gospels and the nazis, continuing the libel hochhuth, began against pope pius,

    narciso (7404b5)

  46. You may now move the goalposts.

    felipe (023cc9)

  47. Isaiah! That book is sublime.

    felipe (023cc9)

  48. is it not, its not an accident that the Messiah, started his preaching there, we have a world where you can speak any blasphemy, any untruth, but the Word is to be circumscribed, in place of earnest believers like demille you have aronovsky who is a gnostic telling the story of noah, I forget who did the latest take on moses, with christian bale, as a maniac,

    narciso (7404b5)

  49. Would you be so kind as to answer my specific questions, felipe?

    norcal (a5428a)

  50. I acknowledge your “life of the mother” exception.

    norcal (a5428a)

  51. If anything that terminates a pregnancy from the moment of conception onward is the equivalent of murder, is it therefore your contention that a device or drug that prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall is just as murderous as a third trimester abortion?

    Conception is the fertilized egg attaching to the uterine wall. There is no conception until that happens. Whether the fertilization has occurred the old-fashioned way or in vitro.

    nk (1d9030)

  52. is it therefore your contention that a device or drug that prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall is just as murderous as a third trimester abortion?

    If not, why not?

    If so, would you outlaw IUDs and morning after pill?

    A fertilized egg is a human life. We all started out this way. The intentional ending of that life is, yes, murder. Just as cutting the brake lines in hopes that the driver will suffer death. Just substituting someone’s meds in hopes that the resulting complications end in the loss of life.

    As for “as murderous,” what is it you mean by that? is a human more dead or less dead depenging on that meaning? Or is it just a measurement of our shock?

    IUds work by preventing a pregnancy. This is much different than abortion. Using an IUD is not murder.

    The morning after pill can function the same way if no egg is fertilised. But it is unjust in the sense that one is promoting the act of procreation but hindering its purpose. The intention is to defeat the purpose.

    What would you say if you held a promotional event where the grand prize was a million dollars, no grand prize was awarded, intentionally? Just how just an action would you ascribe to that?

    It is stealing? Is it a lessor crime such as fraud? Or is it ok so long as “nobody” gets hurt? You decide.

    felipe (023cc9)

  53. nk (1d9030) — 7/23/2020 @ 4:38 pm

    NK is not wrong, here. There is substantial room to differ in when the “moment of conception” occurs. At what “moment” does one become self-aware?

    felipe (023cc9)

  54. @52 That’s one way to look at it. Searching various definitions online, it appears it could go either way.

    Here is Merriam Webster:

    the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both

    Cambridge:

    the process in which a baby starts to form in the uterus from the coming together of a sperm and an egg

    Going with your definition, nk, is it just as murderous to use an abortifacient to terminate a pregnancy the day after implantation as it is to have a third-trimester abortion?
    If not, why?

    If so, should morning-after pills, or similar medications that stop a pregnancy very soon after implantation, be outlawed?

    For me, I am more uncomfortable about an abortion at eight months than termination early on.

    norcal (a5428a)

  55. A fertilized egg is a human life.

    Is that your church’s position?

    “Did not He who made me in the womb make him,
    And the same one fashion us in the womb? — Job 31:15

    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” — Jeremiah 1:5

    It’s the woman who conceives, not the ovum.

    nk (1d9030)

  56. to use an abortifacient to terminate a pregnancy the day after implantation as it is to have a third-trimester abortion?
    If not, why?

    Why on earth are you stuck on timing and method? Murder is murder. an intentional punch to the womb in hopes of termination is murder. Denying food and water to a pregnant woman with the intent to end the pregnancy is murder.

    But, keep moving those goalposts if it pleases you.

    felipe (023cc9)

  57. We cross-posted, felipe.

    Going with your definition, nk, is it just as murderous to use an abortifacient to terminate a pregnancy the day after implantation as it is to have a third-trimester abortion?

    It has to be, norcal, otherwise it becomes like the old joke: “Why aren’t Jews involved in the abortion debate?” “Because they don’t consider the fetus viable until it has graduated from medical school.” Once conception has occurred, a human life has come into being.

    nk (1d9030)

  58. It’s the woman who conceives, not the ovum.
    nk (1d9030) — 7/23/2020 @ 5:01 pm

    nk, I agree. I consider it a waste of time trying to define a “moment of conception.” The Catholic Church does not define when that “moment” occurs. Even if medicine were to define that “moment”, it would not be a “matter of faith and morals” to accept that “moment.”

    “The moment of conception” is not a doctrinal point in the Catholic Church, any more than “the moment a soul leaves the body.”

    felipe (023cc9)

  59. nk and felipe,

    I appreciate the exchange.

    norcal (a5428a)

  60. nk (1d9030) — 7/23/2020 @ 5:07 pm

    Well said! And, no worries.

    felipe (023cc9)

  61. You are very welcome, norcal.

    felipe (023cc9)

  62. Once conception has occurred, a human life has come into being.
    nk (1d9030) — 7/23/2020 @ 5:07 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree!

    Not a human thinking.
    Not a human voting.
    A human be-ing.

    felipe (023cc9)

  63. 45. I’d go farther. Murder is the intentional and unlawful taking of life. If I kill someone who is trying to kill me, that is not murder; it’s self-defense.

    Gryph (08c844)

  64. Gryph (08c844) — 7/23/2020 @ 5:24 pm

    You are right,Gryph. Because the intention is self-defense or the defense of another. I have said this before, and I will say it again: The use of force in the defense of the innocent, even lethal force, is always a positive contribution to the virtue of justice.

    felipe (023cc9)


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