WASHINGTON, March 27, 2014 – House minority leader Nancy Pelosi received the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s (PPFA) highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award. It’s fitting that the award go to the modern day reincarnation of Margaret Sanger: rich, white, progressive Nancy Pelosi. No one pushes contraception and abortion harder than Pelosi.
Beyond being the founder of PPFA, just who was Margaret Sanger? How does she compare to Nancy Pelosi? In her own words, Sanger tells us that eugenics, not women’s rights, was the cornerstone of her crusade for population control.
Eugenics is “a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed,” according to Webster’s dictionary. Margaret Sanger was a member of the American elite. Her second marriage — to oil tycoon Noah Slee — provided much of the financial backing for her activism. As a progressive, Sanger proposed that America must control the “weeds” of society: the poor, the uneducated, and the unfit.
Before she founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, later to become PPFA, Sanger founded the magazine Birth Control Review in 1917. Eugenics-themed articles abounded in Birth Control Review, including “Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” (June 1920), “The Eugenic Conscience” (February 1921), “The purpose of Eugenics” (December 1924), “Birth Control and Positive Eugenics” (July 1925), and “Birth Control: The True Eugenics” (August 1928).
Sanger believed that charity for the poor only exacerbated what was, in her mind, a social crisis. In chapter five of The Pivot of Civilization, she wrote:
“Organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease. … Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks [of people] that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant.”
Sanger believed in a different approach. In “Plan for Peace” (April 1932, vol. 26, number 4), she called for “a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted … to apportion farm lands and homesteads for these segregated persons where they would be … for the period of their entire lives.”
Bankrolled by wealthy American moguls like Clarence Gamble, Sanger countered empathy and charity with The Negro Project in 1939. Developed by white birth control reformers, it convinced black leaders such as Mary McLeod Bethune, W.E.B. DuBois, and Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. that birth control improved the situation of blacks. At least that’s what they were sold.
However, “Influenced strongly by both the eugenics movement and the progressive welfare programs of the New Deal era, the Negro Project was, from the start, largely indifferent to the needs of the black community and constructed in terms and with perceptions that today smack of racism,” says the NYU Margaret Sanger Papers Project.
Today, abortion apologists claim this is not what was envisioned, but they have to ignore Sanger’s continued promotion of birth control to advance eugenics to do so:
“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 defective” (Margaret Sanger, Women and the New Race).
In a live 1957 interview, Mike Wallace confronted Sanger with a direct quote from her pre-show interview: “It is not only wrong, it should be made illegal for any religious group to prohibit the dissemination of birth control, even among its own members.” Sanger at first denied making the statement but when Wallace pressed, she could only say that she didn’t believe she said it quite that way.
Although her mother was a Catholic, Sanger considered the Catholic Church an enemy of women’s progress and acknowledged that her father was an atheist. As one of 11 children, Sanger wrote in her first autobiographical book, My Fight for Birth Control, “I associated poverty, toil, unemployment, drunkenness, cruelty, quarreling, fighting, debts, jails with large families.”
Like Sanger, Pelosi believes that it should be illegal for religious people to reject that philosophy. Questioned about Catholic bishops suing the Obama administration over contraception and abortion mandates, Pelosi inexplicably retorts, “I am going to stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration on this.”
In 2014, Pelosi’s delusions have gone even further. Pelosi recently stated, “As a mother of five children … as a practicing and respectful Catholic, [abortion] is sacred ground to me.” Pelosi says that when life begins “shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.”
“The biggest sin is to bring a diseased child into the world,” Sanger told Wallace in 1957. Sanger explained that we are divinity; we determine sin, not some god or church teaching or the Bible. Only Sanger’s philosophy could explain Nancy Pelosi statements discarding both Church and science in 2014.
Like Sanger, Pelosi is a white elite married to a financial tycoon. Pelosi is among the 15 richest members of Congress. She lives in the 12th Congressional District, among the richest in the nation — ranked 7th of 436 other districts in income per capita. Pelosi believes abortion is sacred ground, that it betters the lives of poor people, at least the lives of those that might otherwise turn into those weeds of society.
Yes, Pelosi truly deserves an award that marks her as a Margaret Sanger disciple.
Paul Rondeau is an independent social commentator. He is president of Synapse Associates, a conservative communication, training, and consulting firm.