The Democrats and the Eugenicist

Recently many Maryland Democrats have come out in support of two somewhat controversial issues; the removal of Confederate monuments as well as continued funding of Planned Parenthood. These two things have more in common than you think they might.

Earlier this week, legislative Democrats sent a letter to Governor Hogan urging him to maintain funding for Planned Parenthood in the Governor’s FY2017 budget. An interesting statement in the Democrats letter says “These services are not controversial, and it would be extremely disappointing for you to allow the radical fringe of your own Party to try to score political points at the expense of your constituents’ health.” It’s interesting in the sense that these legislative Democrats seem to not understand the radical fringe elements of what they are supprting.

Planned Parenthood was the successor organization to the American Birth Control League, which was founded by Margaret Sanger. Sanger was one of the first public champions of abortion and artificial contraception back in the 1920s.

What’s been swept under the rug, however, is that she was a eugenicist. Sanger long believed that the birthrate of African-Americans should be lowered.

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This isn’t something being reported only in conservative media, which the Democrats would try to be dismissive of. This is something readily acknowledged by the Washington Post:

Sanger certainly said and wrote things during her lifetime (1879-1966) that support or endorse the idea that certain people should not reproduce. And she founded the organization that eventually became Planned Parenthood.

When Sanger took up the highly controversial and illegal cause of making contraceptives available in the early 1900s, she aligned herself with the one wing of the overwhelmingly male-dominated medical profession that embraced contraception and its goals, said Johanna Schoen, a Rutgers University historian who wrote the 2006 book, “Choice and Coercion.” Most of these people were eugenicists, or people who believed in “improving” the human race through controlling who breeds and who doesn’t.

Schoen said Sanger used some of their language and ideas to give her work a valuable, reputation-boosting association with medicine and “science…”

 Unfortunately, Sanger’s ties go beyond just being your basic eugenicist. Because Sanger found common cause with some contemporaries in the 1920’s who, shall we say, history does not look well upon. Jonah Goldberg outlined this in chapter 7 of his book Liberal Fascism, part of which the National Review excerpted in 2008:

A fair-minded person cannot read Sanger’s books, articles, and pamphlets today without finding similarities not only to Nazi eugenics but to the dark dystopias of the feminist imagination found in such allegories as Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. As editor of The Birth Control Review, Sanger regularly published the sort of hard racists we normally associate with Goebbels or Himmler. Indeed, after she resigned as editor, The Birth Control Review ran articles by people who worked for Goebbels and Himmler. For example, when the Nazi eugenics program was first getting wide attention, The Birth Control Review was quick to cast the Nazis in a positive light, giving over its pages for an article titled “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,” by Ernst Rüdin, Hitler’s director of sterilization and a founder of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene. In 1926 Sanger proudly gave a speech to a KKK rally in Silver Lake, New Jersey. 

One of Sanger’s closest friends and influential colleagues was the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. In the book he offered his solution for the threat posed by the darker races: “Just as we isolate bacterial invasions, and starve out the bacteria, by limiting the area and amount of their food supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its native habitat.” When the book came out, Sanger was sufficiently impressed to invite him to join the board of directors of the American Birth Control League.

Read the whole thing.

If the Washington Post and the National Review aren’t enough to suit your fancy, maybe some quotes from Ms. Sanger herself will drive the point home:

“Give certain dysgenic groups in our population the choice of segregation or sterilization.”

– Margaret Sanger, Birth Control Review, April 1932

“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
– Margaret Sanger, Women, Morality, and Birth Control, 1922

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

– Margaret Sanger, Women and the New Race


Sadly, Margaret Sanger’s legacy reverberates to this very day. As Goldberg notes, roughly four out of every five Planned Parenthood “health centers” are located in predominately minority communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Abortion Surveillance for 2011 (the last year in which full data is available) indicates that 68.3% of abortions are performed (click here and here for data).


And that brings us full circle back to the Maryland Democratic Party. This party supports the idea of scrubbing every Confederate monument, Confederate reference from the books of history. And yes, we can all agree that slavery was a stain on the history of the nation. But abortion is a stain on our nation’s history too. And the roots of abortion, and particularly Planned Parenthood, share a lot of the same racial basis as did slavery proponents in the Civil War. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a eugenicist who supported suppressing the minority population of this country. She found common cause with the evil groups to push her agenda of birth control and abortion. The repercussions of her actions continue to disproportionately harm minority families today.

Yet, through either ignorance or indifference, the Maryland Democratic Party continues to support this organization. And they think your tax dollars should continue to fund an organization founded on the idea of eugenics. In a state where nearly 40% of the population belongs to a non-white ethnic group, that’s embarrassing and shameful.

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