How I Lost My Fear of Margaret Sanger

Growing up in the pro-life movement, I was taught that birth control originated as an attempt to eliminate “unfit races,” and that the chief instigator in this was Margaret Sanger. In my circles, Planned Parenthood carried a stigma because it was founded by that eugenicist, Margaret Sanger. Yesterday I wrote about Teddy Roosevelt and suggested that antifeminists may want to look elsewhere for an endorsement of childbearing, because Teddy’s endorsement was rooted in his racist and classist eugenicist beliefs. As a child, I was given to believe that Margaret Sanger’s endorsement of birth control, like Teddy’s endorsement of childbearing, was rooted in her belief in eugenics. But then, as an adult, I happened upon Sanger’s own explanation of why she became such a storng advocate for birth control. Hint: It wasn’t because of eugenics.

Instead of our charity organizations instituting baby nurseries—Better Baby leagues, Little Mother leagues—which at their best are simply alleviations for their present distress, would it not be better to help these women to help themselves by giving them the knowledge to control birth, thereby preventing their bringing into the world children to fill the orphan asylums and other institutions of charity?

I have never felt this more strongly than I did three years ago after the death of a patient on my last nursing case. This patient of mine was the wife of a struggling working man and the mother of three children. She was suffering from the results of an attempted abortion performed on her by herself. She lived on Grand St., the main thoroughfare of New York down-town Ghetto. I found her in a very serious condition and for three weeks both the attending physician and myself labored night and day to bring her out of the valley of the shadow of death. We finally succeeded in restoring her to her family circle. I remember well the day I was leaving. The doctor, too, was making his last call. As the doctor put out his hand to say good-bye to her, I saw that she had something to say to him, but was timid and shy about saying it. I started to leave the room to leave them both alone, but she said “No, don’t go. How can both of you leave me without telling me something that I can do to avoid a future illness such as I have just passed through?” I was interested to hear the answer of the physician, and came back and sat down beside her. To my amazement he answered her question lightly and jokingly, put her aside by telling her that there was nothing that she could do as long as there were laws upon the statute books, and he advised her to get her husband to change the laws.

Three months later I was aroused from my sleep at midnight. A telephone call from the husband of the same woman, requested me to come immediately, that she was dangerously ill. I arrived to find her beyond relief. Another conception had forced her into the hands of a cheap abortionist and she died at 4 o’clock the same morning, leaving behind her three little children and the frantic, helpless husband.

I arrived home as the sun was coming up from the roofs of that human beehive and I realized how futile my efforts and my work had been. I, too, like the philanthropist, the social worker and the quack had been dealing with the symptoms rather than the disease. I threw my nursing bag into the corner and announced to my family that I would never take it up again, that I would never take another case until I had made it possible for the working women in America to have the knowledge to control birth. I decided I had no moral right to respect a law—a worn out piece of parchment—obsolete in every respect, I had no right to respect this above human life, and I decided to violate it wholesale.

Sanger was a nurse. She personally watched poor women go through unwanted pregnancy after unwanted pregnancy, unable to care for the children they already had and sometimes dying from self-induced abortions. These women were unable to access to birth control because even spreading information about birth control was against the law. Sanger went to jail for her work in spreading information about birth control to poor women who desperately wanted it. In other words, it was the empathy she felt while watching poor women struggle to raise families while facing unwanted and unintended pregnancies and more mouths than they could possibly feed that made Margaret Sanger beat the drum for birth control, not a desire to eliminate the unfit.

Further, Sanger knew that if poor women had fewer children they would be able to give each child more attention and resources and thus have a greater chance of moving their families out of the grinding poverty in which they were trapped. In other words, Sanger believed that birth control would give women in difficult circumstances a way to better their situations and enable them to prepare their children for better lives. Sanger wasn’t perfect, but her desire to make birth control available was based not in eugenics but in a desire to help the poor. Sanger’s birth control advocacy was about uplift, not elimination.

Am I saying we should quote Sanger uncritically? No. Nor should we quote Jane Addams uncritically, or any other progressive-era reformer. All were products of their time, and that context should not be ignored. But the idea that Sanger’s birth control advocacy sprang from her belief in eugenics is wrong. In actual fact, Sanger came to birth control advocacy after watching poor women struggle and die from lack of access to birth control. And I happen to think that distinction is important.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Yoav

    I was never a fan of these lines of argument. Even if it turn out that Sanger was the most horrible person to ever live, and made Joe Stalin look like a fluffy kitten in comparison, so what, does it make the rights of women to control their own reproductive future any less worthy of support? It’s like creationists making up stories about Darwin as if whether or not he was pro-slavery or whatever make any difference regarding the evidence for evolution.

    • centaurie

      It’s like creationists making up stories about Darwin as if whether or not he was pro-slavery or whatever make any difference regarding the evidence for evolution.

      See Vision Forum’s “What I teach my children about Darwin”.

      Nothing in there about the theory itself. Just ‘Darwin was bitter and didn’t believe in God (anymore) and therefore his theory is false’.


      That’s not you teaching your children science. That’s ranting about a historical person you disagree with.

      • Sally

        Creationists think they’re uncovering bias when they find this kind of information about the scientists they’re refuting. When you say Darwin’s personal beliefs didn’t affect the facts of what he found scientifically, they say they show his bias which affects his *interpretation* of the facts. And the key is the interpretation. Then they say how can you know whose interpretation to trust? They’d rather trust a biblical interpretation, because what reason is there to trust the atheist’s interpretation who has a “there is no God” agenda?

        Of course, they’re not worried about an atheist bias from the scientists in the lab finding cures for diseases … well, those who trust doctors that is.

        But anyway… back to Sanger.

      • centaurie

        Of course, they’re not worried about an atheist bias from the scientists in the lab finding cures for diseases … well, those who trust doctors that is.

        Oh yeah….these guys are champions at denying that science has brought anything positive to society in the last say….150 years. Yet they continue to use so many applications of that same science.

      • Niemand

        If they dislike science so much, one wonders why they risk their souls by accessing the 100% unnatural and science-derived internet. Not to mention that Alan Turing, who was critical to the development of modern computing, was a gay atheist.

      • Rosa

        Not to mention that telephony is the underlying technology of most modern communications, and Alexander Graham Bell was an undeniable, official-office-holding eugenicist (who was partly motivated by seeing hereditary deafness in his own family, but also by the same “bad people reproduce and produce criminals!” nonsense that lead to mandatory sterilization laws.)

      • Niemand

        Right. And Shockley, one of the inventors of the transistor, was a eugenicist. (Though he seems to have been more of the “let’s get smart people like me to reproduce more” sort than the “kill the unfit” sort.) Computers are definitely tainted.

      • NeaDods

        I like to let people rant about the evils of the man who invented evolution and then ask why they hate Alfred Russell Wallace so much. If I’m really lucky, I get to point them at Answers in Genesis exploding their gotcha argument, because there are some anti-Darwin stories so dumb even other creationists can’t bear them.

      • Shaenon K. Garrity

        The other popular creationist myth about Darwin is that he recanted his belief in evolution and/or converted to Christianity on his deathbed. Which, again, has bupkis to do with whether or not his theories were right.

      • Niemand

        I heard that Christopher Hitchens made a death bed conversion: as he was dying he called for a priest and converted him to atheism.

    • Rosie

      It’s an argument ad hominem either way, but fundigelicals typically argue everything ad hominem and from authority. And they tend to think everyone else does too; it seems inconceivable to most fundigelicals that one might have any other kind of evidence for an argument.

      • Jayn

        The frustrating thing is that they don’t seem to necessarily hold non-eugenics ideas themselves, what with the whole “outbreeding the unbelievers” thing. It strikes me as a way to try and convert outsiders to the cause by hitting on an issue that they know is considered ‘bad’, rather than something they actually care about themselves.

      • centaurie

        I’m noticing that kind of thing in right wing politics too (note: I live in Western Europe, but I like to follow the political news -federal politics anyway- from the US ):
        “Don’t vote for the Democratic Party, they’ll turn the country into a communist paradise.”
        Their own campaigns never seem to have any original ideas/content. Or at least anything positive. It’s always “We wont do what the other group is doing”.

  • JivinJ

    Also in Sanger’s public papers from the same link:

    We also find from records concerning the women of the under-world that 85% of these come
    from parents who also average nine children, and later discoveries have found that 50% of these girls have been found to be mentally defective. Many of them at the age of 22 or 23 years have the intelligence of children not over 8 or 9 years. Can we not see how difficult it is for this girl with the ↑an↓ adult body and child’s mind to compete in the struggle of life against the more intelligent and better born? We know too that the fertility of the mentally defective parent is four times that of the normal parent. In New York City ↑all larger cities↓ today there are 10,000 ↑thousands↓ feeble-minded girls living in prostitution, clamoring at the doors of charities ↑the State↓ to take them in and care for them and protect them from the life of degradation which they have been leading. The institutions for the feeble minded are full and overcrowded. There is no room for these. Are not our feeble minded institutions and insane asylums monuments to careless and reckless breeding? Is it not time that our physicians, scientists, social workers and sages, is it not time that they face this array of facts and stop quibbling in hair-splitting debates over woman’s morality. I say this because you all know that the principal objection in the minds of these people against the idea of birth control for the working woman, is that it may have a tendency to decrease her standards of morality. Solicitude for woman’s morals has always been the cloak that authority has worn in its age-long conspiracy to keep her in bondage ↑!!suffrage–young girl–pest↓

    I’m not sure it’s entirely correct to claim that eugenics had nothing to do with why she became a strong advocate for birth control.

    • The_L1985

      And again:

      1. Eugenics was a popular view at the time, and difficult to avoid. It would be a bit silly to argue that eugenicist thoughts would have never entered the mind of someone who spent her life steeped in a society that embraced such thoughts.

      2. Whether Sanger herself was a good or bad person still doesn’t say anything about whether birth control or Planned Parenthood are good or bad. Hitler loved dogs, but only a crazy person would then use that fact to say that my loving care for my little dog somehow makes me a Nazi.

      • Conuly

        No joke, I actually have seen people say you shouldn’t be a vegetarian because Hitler was.

      • Anat

        And I suppose you should smoke because he was opposed to it?

      • Conuly

        I never said they were smart people.

      • The_L1985


      • AnonaMiss

        Stephen Colbert had a great take on this. It was a throwaway line so I’m not finding it by searching, so I’ll have to paraphrase:

        “When I want to annoy vegetarians, I tell them Hitler was a vegetarian. And when I want to annoy white supremacists, I tell them Hitler was a vegetarian. It works both ways.”

      • Hawker40

        Hitler the “Vegetarian” had sausage with every breakfast, enjoyed beef broth soups and ham slices, eggs, turtle soup….
        Like many things about Hitler, it was a propaganda myth, like the stories about him not drinking (He liked his beer), not fooling around (his mistresses would be surprised) and not smoking (OK, that one is true.)

      • Conuly

        Please, let’s not confuse the issue with facts.

    • Niemand


    • Petticoat Philosopher

      I don’t know for sure, but that quote probably comes from later in her life. Sanger did embrace eugenics but she did so later on and that was likely a largely strategic move. Birth control was hugely controversial and if she couched her advocacy of it in terms of eugenics arguments, she could make it acceptable to a new group of people–people like Teddy Roosevelt. Is it awesome that she capitalized on racism, ableism, anti-immigrant sentiment etc. to promote her cause? No. But that was not her original or her main motive behind her work and she probably wouldn’t even have seen it as necessary if she hadn’t had to kiss the asses of the very same conservatives that today’s anti-birth control zealots apparently hold up as heroes.

    • Fledgeling Feminist

      it makes me ask several questions
      1) Is she referring to women who had limited education or limited intelligence?
      2) Is “reckless breeding” referring more to the “wrong people” having children, or to having extremely large numbers of children that can’t be cared for?

      She makes an interesting argument…they are obsessed with “female virtue,” but lack of birth control and crushing poverty were pushing women into prostitution.

      I so not doubt that eugenics were part of her beliefs, but I am interested to see this other side of concern for the women she cared for

    • Trollface McGee

      Do you know what insane asylums were like at that time? I mean, I know it’s “pro-life” to make sure a person is kept alive to endure as much suffering as possible but they were pretty bad.. like horror movie bad. There was also no social safety net, no labour protections, no child labour laws. A kid born into poverty was likely going to be working in a factory or a farm at a very young age. Health care was limited, and poor and people living in crowded cities tended to succumb to outbreaks of nasty diseases quite frequently. So, even if was totally for the mainstream eugenic view at the time that the poor and mentally handicapped needed to be bred out of existence – there’s still a context behind that.

      • stacey

        This is the world the GOP looks back on, fondly. They want to send us right back here, to a place with no safety net or worker protections.
        I know its better now, but lets not pretend the “safety net” will keep a family off the streets. It will not. And the “right” wing fight to eliminate even this little bit of assistance, as well as BC.
        We have to stop them.

    • Conuly

      Many people in the past advocated eugenics. To say that birth control is evil because some people would like to use birth control for that purpose is rather like saying that democracy must be bad because Jefferson had slaves.

    • wmdkitty

      ” Many of them at the age of 22 or 23 years have the intelligence of children not over 8 or 9 years.”

      That, right there. These women could not give informed consent to sex, and 100% should NOT have been forced to be pregnant.

  • The_L1985

    The anti-Sanger types are also experts at twisting her words around. For example: “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.” I’ve seen this twisted into “Sanger told ministers to lie to black people so she could kill them off.”

    I have yet to see any proof that Sanger meant it in this way, nor have I ever seen any reasoning to convince me that an entire concept is evil, just because of one person who endorsed it. Hitler was a vegetarian, but that doesn’t make vegetables evil.

    • valarltd

      Vegetables are evil all by themselves.

      I have found that just looking at people who haul that out and saying “Yes, and most people of the era believed in eugenics. So what?” tends to leave them gaping enough that they don’t argue much. If they persist, I point out that they themselves have practiced eugenics by choosing an attractive, intelligent and compatible partner, rather than just anyone.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Well, no. Making individual choices about partners and childbearing is not eugenics. It would be eugenics if those people not only chose intelligent and attractive partners but also insisted that everyone else had to choose intelligent and attractive partners too and then defined “intelligence” and “attractiveness” for the whole society.

      • valarltd

        The value is in the apathy toward their statement. “Motive does not negate the objective good we do.” (I can’t remember if that’s an actual theologian or a fictional priest)

        It sets them back when they realize not everyone thinks the same way they do.

        The jiu jitsu is the equivalent of saying “Well then have a crummy New Year” upon receiving a weaponized “Merry Christmas.”

    • Bobbie

      Hitler wasn’t a vegetarian. He ate meat sparingly, this is true, but he wasn’t a vegetarian :)

      • Niemand

        If I understand correctly (and I may not), Hitler liked to think of himself as being a vegetarian and thought of eating meat as something he did as an exception. I’m not sure where that gets one in terms of the argument though. If I’m right, do vegetarians have to claim Hitler or can they say he wasn’t a “real” vegetarian and therefore his evil doesn’t “count” against vegetarians? (Assuming, as the argument against Sanger does, that any evil done by someone supporting a certain cause should be attributed to that cause.)

      • tsara

        I tend to go with ‘Hitler was a crappy vegetarian, just like he was a crappy everything else except megalomaniacal genocidal tyrant.’ Otherwise we’re making a No True Vegetarian argument; I don’t accept that from Christians, so why would I accept that from vegetarians?

        (Possibly relevant: I’m a vegetarian.)

        Hitler doesn’t count against vegetarians the way he does against Christians because nobody’s arguing that vegetarianism makes you a better person (though I have seen the claim that all decent people are vegetarian; this is bullshit, obviously, but Hitler would still not be an argument against this, because statistics and outliers are both things that exist).

        I think the argument against Sanger and Planned Parenthood is that people are unwittingly participating in eugenics by supporting the organization (due to the higher rates of abortion by PoC and for genetic defects, or something), and are pointing to Sanger’s views as evidence. It’s mostly an ad hominem, but I have seen it used in a way that was a legitimate argument. That required a descent into full-on conspiracy theories about how she shaped the organization into a Bene Gesserit breeding program thing, though.

      • Niemand

        I think the argument against Sanger and Planned Parenthood is that
        people are unwittingly participating in eugenics by supporting the
        organization (due to the higher rates of abortion by PoC and for genetic
        defects, or something),

        Well, then, am I supporting eugenics by not having a child at 45, partly because of concerns about greater risk of genetic illness with higher maternal and paternal age? Note: not aborting pregnancies, just not getting pregnant. But it’s all the same to the DS baby that’s not here because I haven’t conceived it, for example. (Leaving aside the high risk that neither of us would make it to term for the moment.)

        Eugenics is not what happens when a bunch of individuals make their own decisions about when, how, and with whom to reproduce. Even if most people come to the same conclusion, i.e. that a baby with Tay-Sachs is likely to suffer so severely that it’s not a good idea to have that baby. It’s what happens when a central power tells people how and with whom to reproduce. When Planned Parenthood starts trying to arrange genetic matches I’ll worry about them getting eugenic. Until then…not so concerned.

      • tsara

        “Well, then, am I supporting eugenics by not having a child at 45, partly because of concerns about greater risk of genetic illness with higher maternal and paternal age?”
        Of course not, because eugenics is not about individual choices. The people making those arguments (in my experience) tend to be of the sort that doesn’t seem able to comprehend the idea that an organization could genuinely support individuals making their own decisions, and concludes that Planned Parenthood must be pressuring or outright forcing people into abortions or into using contraception (with the intention of rendering them infertile).
        I never said that they were good arguments.

      • Niemand

        Of course not, because eugenics is not about individual choices.

        I agree and was just trying to emphasize that the effect is the same whether we’re talking about someone making the choice to be abstinent to avoid conceiving or using birth control to avoid conceiving or having an abortion. There’s no real reason to condemn one if you accept the other and yet somehow the “pro-life” movement glorifies abstinence, is ambivalent at best about contraceptives, and vilifies abortion. It simply makes no sense.

      • The_L1985

        Indeed. When I was anti-abortion, there was a very strong implication that the women who chose to have abortions were either stupid, coerced, or evil, because clearly no good, intelligent person would willingly kill Teh Baybeez.

      • Niemand

        Also, I tend to think of Hitler’s vegetarianism (even imperfect) as evidence against the general statement “X makes people good. Life would be much better if everyone were X.” where X is any position, any position at all, from vegetarianism to a given religion to feminism to any other philosophical position. No position can make a person good and no sociopolitical position proves that someone is a good person.

      • tsara

        “No position can make a person good and no sociopolitical position proves that someone is a good person.”

      • Anat

        Hmm, if every person engaged in a certain good habit the world might be a better place directly out of the effects of said habit. This does not mean people in general would be ‘better’ (though we might all be ‘better off’).

      • Hawker40

        “Hitler liked dogs, therefore…”

  • persephone

    Go to and there are still people leaving virtual flowers on Comstock’s grave, praising him. I leave a virtual item and a curse to go with it.

    • Rosa

      that is astonishing. Really astonishing. I mean other than his family.

    • Gillianren

      I find the idea of virtual flowers on graves weird at the best of times. This? Not the best of times.

  • Trollface McGee

    The idea of someone being all good or all bad makes for poor fiction and fictional reality. Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man, and slave owner, who kept his own children as slaves. Charles Dickens was a brilliant writer and lived up to his surname in his personal life. And really evil people like Hitler and Pol Pot? It’s not like they spent all day and night plotting the destruction of people, rubbing their hands together and going “mwahahaha.” They did plenty of normal stuff and were even nice to some people.
    Margaret Sanger did a great thing by fighting for the right of women to have reproductive health. She made it possible for a woman’s life to be more than a cycle of endless pregnancies and health complications from those pregnancies. The fact that she may or may not have endorsed what at the time was a mainstream view, doesn’t change that.

    • Gail

      Exactly. Hitler was a pretty good artist, and he did a lot to support art in Germany. Doesn’t make him a good person.

  • lollardheretic

    Sanger was right on some things, wrong on others. It’s that simple. You don’t dismiss her utterly out of hand. The problem with comparisons to folks like Turing is that turing wasn’t talking about something that could be used for genocide. Sterilization, birth control, abortion, all of those used wrongly (either too much, forced, banned, not at all, etc) can go really bad places. So it’s silly to dismiss her as horrible, but it’s equally silly to dismiss her problematic rhetoric, too. Recently (like two weeks ago) there was an article about forced sterilization. Where you might ask? Some third world country? An oppressed state? Nope! California penal system. Female inmates. Supposedly they had consent, but not really. So let’s not pretend that this whole eugenics thing isn’t a very real issue.

    All that said, do remember, I’m 100% reproductive control!

    • smrnda

      Turing was developing technologies that certainly *could* have had (and actually do) have very nasty applications so the comparison is just a bit off there.

      The problem is that eugenics is a big issue still, but it’s largely tied up with the whole anti-choice agenda. The sterilizations in prisons are a violation of choice, and the anti-contraception arguments are part of the whole anti-choice thing. Sterilization of women occurred at the American Cyanamid plant in the 1970s – the company would only offer jobs to women if they got sterilized, and the supreme court ruled in favor of the company (thanks justice Bork.)

      I don’t think anybody dismisses anyone’s rhetoric, but anything Sanger said is really totally irrelevant as to whether women should control their own reproductive functions. Nobody these days who is promoting birth control is doing so because of eugenics, and the ‘birth control == eugenics’ is only brought up by anti-choice people to equate the two dishonestly.

      • Rosa

        That’s unfortunately not 100% true – there are still individuals, some of them in positions of power, sterilizing women against their will and trying to pass laws preventing poor or incarcerated women from having babies. It pops up in news stories a few times a year when a judge or lawmaker makes an egregious statement.

        Eugenic thought is surprisingly common in our culture (surely you’ve seen someone griping about “smart people should have more babies” or the “culture of poverty”). We should be on guard against it. But the best way to prevent public eugenic policies is an absolute commitment to personal reproductive freedom.

      • John Alexander Harman

        Bork was never on the Supreme Court, fortunately; Reagan tried to appoint him, but the Senate voted not to confirm the appointment, so the seat went to the much less ideological Anthony Kennedy. Perhaps you’re thinking of an appellate decision he wrote that the Supreme Court let stand?

    • Niemand

      Turing’s work led to the NSA spying, drone assassinations, and internet porn.

      • Niemand

        Not to mention that if you were a power which wanted to commit genocide computers make it much easier to find everyone of your target group and kill them. There are few technologies that can’t be used for evil.

      • Kat

        “There are few technologies that can’t be used for evil.”

        I very rarely speak in terms of absolutes, but I think that sentence would still be accurate if you changed the word “few” to “no.” Admittedly, you may have to get a bit more creative with some of them, but I think the potential is always there.

        For example, I could go about purposely running people over with my car if I wanted to. Clearly both the internal combustion engine and the wheel are evil inventions that should be banned for the sake of humanity.

      • NeaDods

        Precisely! And Alexander Graham Bell’s work led to the obscene phone call. There is NO technology that can’t be used for evil, so I’m not sure what the original point is.

      • Whirlwitch

        The telephone also led to telemarketing. Eeeeeeeeevil!

  • Abby Normal

    I did a report on her back in (Catholic!) college.

    Sanger herself was one of the middle children in a large, not-very-well-off family and had already seen some of her siblings die in infancy. So a good bit of her cause was rooted in personal experience.

    In some of her early research she also found that wealthy women, especially in Europe, had been using various contraceptives for generations, often with instructions being passed from mother to daughter. She just thought poor women aught to have access to that knowledge, too.

  • NeaDods

    I get this all the time at the clinic, from Catholics as well as Protestants. “Margaret Sanger was a racist and Margaret Sanger approved of abortion. Ergo, everyone who approves of abortion is a racist.”

    • Whirlwitch

      Emily Murphy was a racist, and she fought hard to get women legally considered “persons”. I still think of myself as a person and am glad that’s my legal status.

      ETA: Although any women making the line of argument you cite are welcome to consider themselves non-persons in order not to be tainted, as long as they speak for themselves only.

  • Gillianren

    You know, even if she did believe in sterilizing all people not of European ancestry, something I’ve never seen supported, that doesn’t mean that Planned Parenthood is only working in communities where the people are not of European ancestry. If they did, there wouldn’t be one literally like two miles away from me right now.

  • Saraquill

    This post has me thinking… could QFers be described as pro- eugenics? They want the “right” sort of people to have piles of children, in the hopes of outnumbering the “wrong” kind.

    I don’t know if this line of thinking is accurate, as they argue against any sort of birth control, no matter who’s having coitus, and they also want to shape people through behavior.

    • Nancy Shrew

      Maybe in some ways, but at the same time I doubt they would take genetic counseling, etc. into consideration.

  • TLC

    Thank you for this great reminder why we must continue to fight for the rights and freedoms of all women. Some people — a great proportion of them in state legislatures and Congress! — still don’t get it.

  • Rilian Sharp

    Maybe the disease is women being pressured into PIV sex. Why did that women keep doing PIV? Was it her choice?

    • stacey

      Maybe she LIKED it.

      Or maybe, she was unable to say no, because she was her husbands property. Remember marital rape didn’t even exist legally until a very short while ago. Most women of that era had to submit to sex or risk having their men leave them and have nothing at all.

      The solution for both of those things is freedom for women to control their own bodies. Its not reasonable to assume a woman will never want PIV sex, or that the desire for it must come with a baby.

      • Rilian Sharp

        Maybe she liked it, maybe she chose it for any reason. But if she doesn’t have access to birth control, that’s a pretty stupid decision.

        Given how much she hated the situation she was in, I don’t think she chose to do PIV. Her husband was painted in a positive light, so, to give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe it wasn’t his choice either. Maybe they both kept doing it because they thought they didn’t have a choice.

      • chgo_liz

        If they were Catholic, they would have been taught that they were REQUIRED to keep producing babies, no matter what.

      • Barry_D

        Sanger or another pioneer once stated that she heard a woman ask a doctor how to keep from getting pregnant again (she’d been pregnant about a dozen times). The doctor replied ‘sleep on the roof’.

    • lowtechcyclist

      And even through most of the 20th century, oral and anal sex were “crimes against nature” that would at least theoretically earn you five to ten in the state pen.

      (Virginia AG (and GOP candidate for governor) Ken Cuccinelli is currently spending Virginia citizens’ tax dollars to try to keep that statute on the books, incidentally.)

  • CrabbyHermit

    Thank you so much for this. No matter how long I’m free from the indoctrination and information bubble, I still am only human and find swaths of subjects which the truth about I haven’t thought to find out; only new knowledge like this can help me purge of the remnants which cloud my progress in self actualization, whether I’m actively aware of the info gap or not.

  • pagansister

    I, too, have heard that Margaret Sanger fought for birth control information for women because she wanted to eliminate, as you put it, “unfit races”. She was a brave woman who was indeed ahead of her time, fighting strong odds. Thanks for the article above.

  • gabi532