Quotes by Margaret Sanger
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Wikipedia Summary for Margaret Sanger
Margaret Higgins Sanger (born Margaret Louise Higgins; September 14, 1879 – September 6, 1966), also known as Margaret Sanger Slee, was an American birth control activist, sex educator, writer, and nurse. Sanger popularized the term "birth control", opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established organizations that evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Sanger used her writings and speeches primarily to promote her way of thinking. She was prosecuted for her book Family Limitation under the Comstock Act in 1914. She was afraid of what would happen, so she fled to Britain until she knew it was safe to return to the US. Sanger's efforts contributed to several judicial cases that helped legalize contraception in the United States. Due to her connection with Planned Parenthood, Sanger is a frequent target of criticism by opponents of abortion. However, Sanger drew a sharp distinction between birth control and abortion and was opposed to abortions throughout the bulk of her professional career, declining to participate in them as a nurse. Sanger remains an admired figure in the American reproductive rights movement. She has been criticized for supporting eugenics.
In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, which led to her arrest for distributing information on contraception, after an undercover policewoman bought a copy of her pamphlet on family planning. Her subsequent trial and appeal generated controversy. Sanger felt that in order for women to have a more equal footing in society and to lead healthier lives, they needed to be able to determine when to bear children. She also wanted to prevent so-called back-alley abortions, which were common at the time because abortions were illegal in the United States. She believed that, while abortion may be a viable option in life-threatening situations for the pregnant, it should generally be avoided. She considered contraception the only practical way to avoid them.
In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which later became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In New York City, she organized the first birth control clinic to be staffed by all-female doctors, as well as a clinic in Harlem which had an all African-American advisory council, where African-American staff were later added. In 1929, she formed the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control, which served as the focal point of her lobbying efforts to legalize contraception in the United States. From 1952 to 1959, Sanger served as president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. She died in 1966 and is widely regarded as a founder of the modern birth control movement.
Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism.
Woman must not accept; she must challenge.
She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her;
she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.
Birth control is the first important step woman must take toward the goal of her freedom. It is the first step she must take to be manandrsquo;s equal. It is the first step they must both take toward human emancipation.
A woman's duty: To look the whole world in the face with a go-to-hell look in the eyes… to speak and act in defiance of convention.
The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it. Margaret Sanger.
In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered. The conversation went on and on, and when
we were finally through it was too late to return to New York.
Very early in my childhood I associated poverty, toil, unemployment, drunkenness, cruelty, quarreling, fighting, debts, jail with large families.
Speaking of Margaret Sanger, Grandson Alexander Sanger, head of Planned Parenthood of New York City, said: She made people accept that women had the right to control their own destinies.
Some lives drift here and there like reeds in a stream, depending on changing currents for their activity. Others are like swimmers knowing the depth of the water. Each stroke helps them onward to a definite objective.
I cannot refrain from saying that women must come to recognize there is some function of womanhood other than being a child-bearing machine.
She had chained herself to her place in society and the family through the maternal functions of her nature, and only chains thus strong could have bound her lot as a brood animal for the masculine civilizations of the world.
Many people are horrified at the idea of birth control... It is simply the keynote of a new moral program.
Knowledge of birth control is essentially moral. Its general, though prudent, practice must lead to a higher individuality and ultimately to a cleaner race.
Birth control is the first important step woman must take toward the goal of her freedom. It is the first step she must take to be man's equal. It is the first step they must both take toward human emancipation.
The real hope of the world lies in putting as painstaking thought into the business of mating as we do into other big businesses.
Birth control appeals to the advanced radical because it is calculated to undermine the authority of the Christian churches. I look forward to seeing humanity free someday of the tryanny of Christianity no less than Capitalism.
Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods.
It is a noteworthy fact that not one of the women to whom I have spoken so far believes in abortion as a practice; but it is principle for which they are standing. They also believe that the complete abolition of the abortion law will shortly do away with abortions, as nothing else will.
The ocean could not be swept back with a broom. The truth was out. It illuminated the world. Motherhood no longer cringed before the relentless laws of fecundity.
No more children should be born when the parents, though healthy themselves, find that their children are physically or mentally defective.
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.
No one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable but they will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception. This is the only cure for abortions.
On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.
Organized charity itself is... the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and is perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents.
The campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics.
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 at all-that the wealth of individuals and of state is being diverted from the development and the progress of human expression and civilization.
The undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind.
Usually this desire for family limitation has been laid to economic pressure It has asserted itself among the rich and among the poor, among the intelligent and the unintelligent. It
has been manifested in such horrors as infanticide, child abandonment and abortion.
It is apparent that nothing short of contraceptives can put an end to the horrors of abortion and infanticide.
As I look back upon my life, I see that every part of it was a preparation for the next. The most trivial of incidents fits into the larger pattern like a mosaic in a preconceived design.
Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives.
The most successful educational approach to the Negro is throgh a religious appeal. We do not want 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.
The mother memories that are closest to my heart are the small gentle ones that I have carried over from the days of my childhood. They are not profound, but they have stayed with me through life, and when I am very old, they will still be near.
Life has taught me one supreme lesson. This is that we must--if we are really to live at all, if we are to enjoy the life more abundant promised by the Sages of Wisdom--we must put our convictions into action. My remuneration has been that I have been privileged to act out my faith.
Eugenics, which had started long before my time, had once been defined as including free love and prevention of conception... Recently it had cropped up again in the form of selective breeding.
To give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.
g. to apportion farm lands and homesteads for these segregated persons where they would be taught to work under competent instructors for the period of their entire lives.
Give dysgenic groups people with 'bad genes' in our population their choice of segregation or compulsory sterilization.
No despot ever flung forth his legions to die in foreign conquest, no privilege-ruled nation ever erupted across its borders, to lock in death embrace with another, but behind them loomed the driving power of a population too large for its boundaries and its natural resources.
The most serious charge that can be brought against modern benevolence is that it encourages the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents and dependents. These are the most dangerous elements in the world community, the most devastating curse on human progress and expression.
Through sex, mankind may attain the great spiritual illumination which will transform the world, which will light up the only path to earthly paradise.
It is ... marvellous ... to have a period of apparent fanaticism. No obstacle can discourage you. The single vision of your quest obscures defeat and lifts you over mountainous difficulties.
The greatest issue is to raise the question of birth control out of the gutter of obscenity ... into the light of intelligence and human understanding.
Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying ... demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism.
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.
Apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.
The most far-reaching social development of modern times is the revolt of woman against sex servitude. The most important force in the remaking of the world is a free motherhood.
Eugenics is ... the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.
We should not minimize the great outstanding service of Eugenics for critical and diagnostic investigations. It demonstrates ... that uncontrolled fertility is universally correlated with disease, poverty, overcrowding and the transmission of hereditable traits.
It now remains for the United States government to set a sensible example to the
world by offering a bonus or a yearly pension to all obviously unfit parents who allow
themselves to be sterilized by harmless and scientific means.
Woman was and is condemned to a system under which the lawful rapes exceed the unlawful ones a million to one.
Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon American society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupid, cruel sentimentalism.
Covertly invest into non-White areas, invest in ghetto abortion clinics. Help to raise
money for free abortions, in primarily non-White areas. Perhaps abortion
clinic syndicates throughout North America, that primarily operate in
non-White areas and receive tax support, should be promoted.
No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.
How are we to breed a race of human thoroughbreds unless we follow the same plan? We must make this country into a garden of children instead of a disorderly back lot overrun with human weeds.
Woman must not accept; she must challenge.She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.
Dire poverty drives this mother back again to the factory (no intelligent person will say she goes willingly).
A mutual and satisfied sexual act is of great benefit to the average woman, the magnetism of it is health giving. When it is not desired on the part of the woman and she gives no response, it should not take place.
War, famine, poverty and oppression of the workers will continue while woman makes life cheap. They will cease only when she limits her reproductivity and human life is no longer a thing to be wasted.
Diplomats make it their business to conceal the facts, and politicians violently denounce the politicians of other countries.
She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it.
Against the State, against the Church, against the silence of the medical profession, against the whole machinery of dead institutions of the past, the woman of today arises.
Woman must have her freedom, the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she will be a mother and how many children she will have. Regardless of what man's attitude may be, that problem is hers -- and before it can be his, it is hers alone.
Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most. The average working man can support no more and and the average working woman can take care of no more in decent fashion.
When motherhood becomes the fruit of a deep yearning, not the result of ignorance or accident, its children will become the foundation of a new race.
Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.
No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.