Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) started out as a proponent of freedom from excessive childbearing for women, from the concern that too many childbirths affect the physical and mental health of women. Under this agenda, she became a hyperactive propagandist of birth control by all possible means: abortion, contraception, segregation, sterilization, etc.
Sanger founded the American Birth Control League in 1921 which decided, for reasons to become obvious, to change its name in 1949 to the more moderate Planned Parenthood, and further established the International Planned Parenthood Foundation with tentacles all over the globe, including India.
While Sanger did not express her eugenicist feelings openly in her early birth control career, she started doing so as time progressed. As eugenics gained popularity in America and Europe and became something okay to discuss in public, she herself argued (Sanger, 1921) that there is no essential difference in the final aims of eugenics and birth control:
In the limited space of the present paper, I have time only to touch upon some of the fundamental convictions that form the basis of our Birth Control propaganda, and which, as I think you must agree, indicate that the campaign for Birth Control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal, with the final aims of Eugenics.Eugenicists hooked on to Margaret Sanger's birth control programme as the easiest way to implement their agenda, and poured in tons of money. This enabled Sanger to establish the Planned Parenthood birth control clinics all over America, and basically garner financial support for implementing the eugenics agenda. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation pledged their support for Planned Parenthood both within the US and worldwide. Recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has taken up this cause.
To get back to my philosophical argument, I urge readers to note that there is most certainly a crucial difference between a concern for women's health, and the eugenic concern for racial purity.
From purely a standpoint of women's health, one cannot make the assumption that races, communities and classes in which women bear more children are necessarily those which are "unfit" to exist and must therefore be wiped out. Which people are fit to exist, and which are unfit to exist cannot be the call of any truly ethical form of government. A government concerned only with women's health cannot seek to reduce or destroy the fertility of one particular race or community or class, for e.g., the jews in Germany, or the blacks in America. Nor can it invent ways of proving that the target people are inferior in one or the other way.
However, starting from the standpoint of racism, one can easily feign concern for the health of women in that race or community or class which a eugenicist wants to exterminate for reasons such as colour of skin and length of nose. By feigning such concern, and sugarcoating it sufficiently well, governments can translate them into a program of birth control, and help achieve the eugenic objective of "racial purity".
Birth controllers can claim that their single-minded concern for women's health actually drives them to find the most unhealthy women, wherever they are, and cut down their fertility in order to improve health. They can claim that there is nothing racist about that. However, as in most cases, it's not the intent which matters but the consequence. In many cases, birth controllers are committing a crime against humanity, albeit unknowingly. But a crime, whether committed knowingly or unknowingly, is a crime and must be stopped.
Birth control enthusiasts must answer some very difficult questions, which can arise only when love for all humanity awakens one's empathy for the oppressed:
- Who gave birth controllers the right to decide what is health and what is not health for women from all races, communities, and classes?
- What if the most "unhealthy women" happen to be in one particular race or community or class, and wielding the weapon of birth control on them actually leaves them with an irrepairable demographic loss?
- How ethical is it for birth control enthusiasts to wipe out entire races, communities or classes using contraceptives and abortion clinics?
- Who authorized birth controllers to use women's health as a criterion to determine whether a people may exist or perish?
- Who authorized birth controllers to increase women's health and thereby wipe away the race, community or class to which those women belong?
- In the ultimate analysis, who can affirm that an exterminated race, community or class is better than "unhealthy" women, even if the claim of unhealthiness were taken to be true?
Throughout the early 1900s, eugenicists labored to devise objective methods of measuring and quantifying valued traits, including intelligence, in order to substantiate their hypothesis of Nordic genetic advantage. Some of their more preposterous experiments involved measuring the crania of school children, analyzing the facial asymmetry of criminals, and sketching the toes of prostitutes.In America, therefore, the determination of "health" came to include having to pass an IQ test. This enabled US governments to declare the uneducated as "unfit" and therefore targets of birth control. If governments, instead of investing in the education of the uneducated, become butchers of the uneducated, are they really good governments?
Eugenicists struggled for years to produce compelling results, until the advent of Alfred Binet’s intelligence scale in 1909 gave rise to standardized intelligence testing, colloquially known as IQ testing.
Armed with this so-called objective methodology, American eugenicists advanced a straw-man rationale for large-scale testing. They reasoned that society needed to identify, segregate, and sterilize the “feeble-minded,” initially defined as those with mental disabilities but later extended to include any “unfit” person of low intelligence, character, or ethnicity. In both Germany and the United States, persecution of the “feebleminded” hastened a broader eugenic campaign against immigration, miscegenation, and other professed threats to Nordic ascendancy.
In summary, racism is such that it can find very subtle ways of expressing itself without making its voice too loud. And Margaret Sanger's birth control program provided the most subtle, and the most efficient way for eugenicists to implement their racist agenda, especially after eugenics became a bad word in America due to Hitler's use of the "science" to exterminate jews.
Why did birth control become the most efficient implementation of the eugenic agenda? Simple: it was easy to get people hooked on to (Sanger, 1922)
unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children.Just like it became easy to make native Red Indians "fall to their women" and thereby relieve them of their land by way of pleasure, not pain.
Reddy, 2008: "The eugenic origins of IQ testing: Implications for post-Atkins litigation", Ajitha Reddy, DePaul Law Review, 13 May 2008, URL.
Sanger, 1921: "The eugenic value of birth control", Margaret Sanger, Birth Control Review, Oct 1921, URL.
Sanger, 1922: The Woman Rebel, Margaret Sanger, reprinted in Woman and the New Race (1922).
To be continued.