Thursday 26th May 2016

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Strange World Of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review”

August 20, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By BRIAN CLOWES

(Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of 900 of the best quotes from The Birth Control Review, organized by topic, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.)

+    +    +

Introduction

About 25 years ago, I bought a complete set of Margaret Sanger’s journal The Birth Control Review and ambitiously set out to read every one of its 5,631 pages.
The strange experience left me just a little uncertain about what is real and what is not. Sanger’s world has that effect on a person, because it is so completely different from the one we are accustomed to. Sanger associated with racists and anti-Semites, people who despised everyone who was not a Nordic god or goddess, and those who demanded coercive eugenics programs to eliminate “lesser” humans. The whole bunch, of course, participated in continuous vicious attacks on the Catholic Church.
Most pro-lifers have a vague feeling that Margaret Sanger, the founder of the American Birth Control League (later Planned Parenthood), is somehow “bad,” but they really have no idea. The malignant influence of Sanger and similar thinkers not only has ruined the West to the point that it is dying, but seems Hell-bent on corrupting the rest of the world as well.

Above All, Eugenics

Breed, little mothers,
With the tired backs and the tired hands,
Breed for the owners of mills and the owners of mines,
Breed a race of danger haunted men,
A race of toiling, sweating, miserable men,
Breed, little mothers,
Breed for the owners of mills and the owners of mines,
Breed, breed, breed!
— Birth Control Review, April 1930

Margaret Sanger’s journal was primarily devoted to the legalization and spread of voluntary birth control. However, the main theme running through The Birth Control Review was eugenics, thus the masthead “Birth Control: To Create a Race of Thoroughbreds.” The pseudo-science of eugenics was taken very seriously in the first half of the 20th century and was taught in hundreds of colleges and universities using scores of textbooks written by distinguished scholars.
A.P. Pilloy, writing in the BCR, describes both negative and positive eugenics: “Broadly speaking, the aims of eugenics are two: To prevent the unfit from leaving any descendants, and to encourage the multiplication of the more fit and useful citizens.”
The Birth Control Review frequently highlighted the mission of its parent organization: “The American Birth Control League. Its Aim: To promote eugenic birth selection throughout the United States so that there may be more well born and fewer ill born children — a stronger, healthier and more intelligent race.”
Sanger neatly summarized the intimate relationship between the eugenics and birth control movements:
“Before eugenists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for Birth Control. Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. . . . Birth control of itself, by freeing the reproductive instinct from its present chains, will make a better race. . . . Eugenics without birth control seems to us a house built upon the sands. It is at the mercy of the rising stream of the unfit.”
Some of the writers for The Birth Control Review waxed positively poetic on this theme. One said: “Voluntary control of pregnancy and childbirth is a great torch on one side of the gateway through which intelligent humanity is moving toward a civilization based on human quality. . . . On the other side of that gateway stands the torch lighted by Eugenics.”
Another enthused that the combined forces of birth control and eugenics would “speed the day when woman shall be free! Then, too, shall man be free and they together, emancipated from the degrading ignorance and superstition of the past, shall walk the highlands of vision, mate in perfect love, and people the earth with a race of gods.”
Sanger followed eugenic reasoning to its logical conclusion — that charity is “dysgenic,” leading to a degradation of the human race. She said that “we are now in a state where our charities, our compensation acts, our pensions, hospitals, and even our drainage and sanitary equipment all tend to keep alive the sickly and the weak, who are allowed to propagate and in turn produce a race of degenerates.”
One BCR advertisement proclaimed, “Giving to charities merely perpetuates the evil — Birth Control means prevention!”
And Edward East proclaimed: “Well-intentioned philanthropy and social service is nothing but a brutal gesture to posterity.”
As Sanger saw it, the fundamental source of problems in society was that “[woman’s] instincts are fundamentally creative, not destructive. But her sex bondage has made her the dumb instrument of the monster she detests. For centuries she has populated the earth in ignorance and without restraint, in vast numbers and with staggering rapidity. She has become not the mother of a nobler race, but a mere breeding machine grinding out a humanity which fills insane asylums, almshouses, and sweat shops, and provides cannon fodder that tyrants may rise to power on the sacrifice of her offspring.”
Of course, then as now, if the lowly do not immediately embrace the Utopian plans of the elite, they must be whipped into line by greater and greater degrees of coercive pressure. Sanger herself said: “Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupidly cruel sentimentalism.”
She also opined: “To meet this problem [of dysgenics], as a great scientist has recently pointed out, we need not more of the fit, but fewer of the unfit. The propagation of the degenerate, the imbecile, the feeble-minded, should be prevented.”
One of the most enthusiastic supporters of eugenics in the pages of The Birth Control Review was Professor Doktor Ernst Rüdin, Adolf Hitler’s director of Genetic Sterilization and founder of the Nazi Gesellschaft für Rassenhygiene (Society for Racial Hygiene). In fact, Rüdin’s boss, Adolf Hitler, avidly read American eugenics journals and developed his ideas of an Aryan “master race” from their writers.
Like the Nazis, writers for The Birth Control Review advocated positive eugenics. C.C. Little said that “the eugenist is very clear on the two facts which have been given you this morning: That the production of the unfit should be discouraged or stopped, and that the production of the fit should be encouraged and possibly forced.”
This was the first mention in modern times of an idea that evolved within a decade into the Nazis’ grotesque Lebensborn program, which bred the “highest-quality” Aryan men and women like cattle.
The doctors who wrote for The Birth Control Review openly advocated what they called a “medical utopia with birth control.”
J. Walter Carr, MD, wrote that “the community would have to take suitable precautions in self-defense and might decree that all adolescents should be examined at puberty and steps taken to sterilize those who could not reasonably be expected to beget healthy children.”
Another physician, Anna Blount, wrote: “There they are, a motley group, from the gay, light-hearted moron, who cannot make an intelligent plan, even to do mischief; to the doddering idiot, the crafty paranoiac, the wretched epileptic, the moral imbecile, the chronic criminal with hereditary taint, and even the village ne’er-do-well. What do they cost us, in wealth, in labor, and in misery? They must be eliminated. Eugenics makes birth control imperative. . . .
“But whatever the means this stream of human waste must be deflected from the melting pot. . . . Godspeed the day when the unwilling mother, with her weak, puny body, her sad, anemic unlovely face, and her dependent whine, will be no more. In that day, we shall see a race of American thoroughbreds, if not the superman.”
This loathing of the less fortunate saturates the pages of The Birth Control Review. Frequent contributor George Kilpatrick wrote:
“Unsentimental and rigid examination revealed him [‘the moron’] to be so inadequate and incapable that he was worthless even for cannon fodder. Mentally meager, culturally nothing, socially as selfish as a shark, sexually as eager as a rabbit, careless as a crow and prolific as a rat, the moron now in astonishing numbers confronts society as a grinning, scoffing brute in boots — and in full possession of sovereign political rights. . . .
“He breeds with Biblical abandon, and is not discouraged by the religious in his industrious reproduction of his personally and socially worthless self.”
What a contrast to the attitude of St. Lawrence, who said of the blind, maimed, and leprous: “These are the treasures of the Church!”
Of course, then as now, Sanger’s opponents were smeared with every vicious label the writers for The Birth Control Review could muster, including “enemies of humanity” and “savage traitors.” This leads into a discussion of the battle between the Catholic Church and the American Birth Control League, which we will examine next.

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

34% of “Pro-Choice” Women Who See This Viral Video Turn Against Abortion

A new four-minute viral video is causing over a third — 34 percent — of “pro-choice” women surveyed to view abortion “less favorably.” And 28 percent of pro-choice women who watched the video stated there should be more restrictions on…Continue Reading

‘Biblically wrong’: Oklahoma lawmakers urge Obama’s impeachment over transgender bathrooms

Lawmakers in Oklahoma have introduced legislation calling for President Barack Obama to be impeached because of his administration’s support for transgender bathrooms. Another bill calls for a declaration of emergency in the state. In a measure called Senate Concurrent Resolution…Continue Reading

Oklahoma legislature passes bill making it a felony to perform abortions

Lawmakers in Oklahoma approved a bill Thursday that would make performing abortions a felony and revoke the medical licenses of most physicians who assist in such procedures. This sweeping measure, which opponents described as unconstitutional and unprecedented, now heads to…Continue Reading

Unanimous Win for Little Sisters of the Poor at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government cannot fine the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Supreme Court vacated the lower court rulings against the Little Sisters, accepting the government’s admission that it could meet…Continue Reading

Conservatives outraged over Obama transgender directive to public schools

The Obama administration’s directive Friday that every public school provide transgender access — or face the loss of federal funds — drew swift and strong condemnation from conservatives, with one public official blasting it as presidential “blackmail.” The administration’s directive…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Leaders Decry Scandals, Urge Catholic Colleges to Reject Culture of Death

Concerned by recent high-profile events at Catholic colleges featuring pro-abortion leaders — including Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Bill Clinton, Wendy Davis and Vice President Joe Biden — 31 Catholic and pro-life leaders joined a statement urging Catholic colleges to “stand firm…Continue Reading

ACLU launches campaign to strip Catholic hospitals of federal funds

NEW YORK, May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic hospitals across the U.S. are “withholding emergency care” and denying “essential health services,” the ACLU is alleging in a new campaign. They also inflict harm on “transgender and gender-non-conforming patients” “when seeking…Continue Reading

Harvard Law Professor Says Pro-Life Christians Should be Treated Like Nazis

Every day, it seems, the United States is becoming a more hostile environment for people with pro-life and conservative positions. Abortion activists constantly challenge pro-life laws, stall abortion industry investigations, force religious objectors to pay for abortions and attack life-affirming…Continue Reading

Obama plans new push for transgender rights in schools

The divisive and politically combustible issue of bathroom access for transgender individuals is about to become further inflamed, as the Obama administration is expected in coming weeks to aggressively reinforce its position that transgender student rights are fully protected under…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Notre Dame is Wrong

Notre Dame’s Great Scandal: Honoring Vice President Biden By Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family: The University of Notre Dame has announced that they intend to confer the Laetare Medal, an honor given to Catholics “in…Continue Reading

DoJ to North Carolina: You Have Until Monday to Reverse Bathroom Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory received a letter from the Department of Justice that gives him until Monday to reverse his state’s controversial bathroom bill, reports The Hill. The DoJ said the law is in violation of the federal Civil…Continue Reading

Lavender Graduations Harmful to Students at Catholic Colleges

At least eight Catholic colleges across the country are hosting “lavender graduations” this spring — many of them as part of an annual campus tradition — to celebrate and honor students with same-sex attraction (SSA) or who identify as lesbian,…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Commentary

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .      

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Perseverance in prayer needed, but not “magic wand”

pope908

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday said “prayer is not a magic wand.” He was speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope was discussing the Parable of the Unjust Judge – also known as the Parable of the Persistent Widow – from the Gospel of Luke. In the parable, the persistence of a widow forces the unjust judge to grant her request for justice, “so that she will not eventually…Continue Reading

Catholic College Presidents Hopeful for Resolution in HHS Mandate Challenge

The presidents of two Catholic colleges involved in the U.S.Supreme Court challenges to the HHS mandate applauded the Court’s recent decision to vacate all lower court rulings and expressed their hope that a positive resolution for religious freedom would soon be reached. “I am pleased that Supreme Court has offered us a way forward which doesn’t require us to participate in the provision of the services which – See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/4914/Catholic-College-Presidents-Hopeful-for-Resolution-in-HHS-Mandate-Challenge.aspx#sthash.MOQCZdCV.dpuf

Pope Francis: Christians live God’s love with joy, astonishment

(Vatican Radio) No Christian can exist without joy: that’s what Pope Francis said in his Homily at Mass Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse. The Pope stressed that even through life’s difficulties, the Christian knows he can trust in Jesus and find hope. The Pope also reminded the faithful they should not allow riches to dominate their lives because they ultimately lead to sadness. Christians live in joy and amazement because…Continue Reading

Pope Angelus: The Holy Trinity, where there is love there is God

(Vatican Radio) “The feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to engage in the daily events to be the leaven of communion, of consolation and of mercy.” Those were Pope Francis’ words during his Angelus address on a sunny Trinity Sunday from his studio above St Peter’s Square. Drawing inspiration from the Gospel of St. John, the Pope said that Jesus knew how to be close to the realization of the Father’s plan, which will…Continue Reading

Pope emeritus: Third Secret of Fatima was released in full

popeben

(Vatican Radio) Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said he never told anyone the publication of the “Third Secret of Fatima” in the year 2000 was incomplete, and confirmed the document was published in its totality. A Communiqué was published Saturday by the Holy See Press Office on various articles regarding the “Third Secret of Fatima.” “ Several articles have appeared recently, including declarations attributed to Professor Ingo Dollinger according to which Cardinal Ratzinger, after the…Continue Reading

Is Scarborough Shoal Worth A War?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight. Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.” And what is Scarborough Shoal? A cluster of rocks…Continue Reading

Cicero In An Election Year

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY In the midst of the turmoil that characterized the mid-decades of the last century, the English jurist Sir Patrick Devlin wrote, “If a society’s laws are based on a particular worldview and that worldview collapses, the laws themselves will crumble.” His 1965 book, The Enforcement of Morals, is still worth reading…Continue Reading

Eastern Orthodoxy And The Particular Judgment

By JAMES LIKOUDIS In previous articles (The Wanderer, July 3, 2014; June 25, 2015), it was observed that: “Perhaps to the surprise of some Catholic ecumenists, Catholic doctrine regarding the Particular Judgment remains obscure, confused, or even denied among the Eastern Orthodox. They have no clear official teaching that the just go to Heaven immediately…Continue Reading

Obama To Visit The Land Of State-Owned Enterprises

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + President Barack Obama will visit Vietnam, which his own State Department last month certified is still controlled — four decades after the fall of Saigon — by the Communist Party.…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Why Should Pro-Lifers Be Concerned About Dissent?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of the book Call to Action or Call to Apostasy, consisting of a detailed description of the current forms of dissent and how to fight them, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

God’s Prophet

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Tenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: 1 Kings 17:17-24 Gal. 1:11-14a, 15a, c, 16a, 17, 19 Luke 7:11-17 In the first reading today we hear about the death of the son of a widow with whom the Prophet Elijah stayed when he was passing through that region. The woman had been very good to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Mueller Reminds The Church Of Her Marriage Doctrine

By MAIKE HICKSON Part 2 (Editor’s Note: We are publishing this commentary from Gerhard Cardinal Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as reported by Maike Hickson, in two parts. The first part appeared in last week’s issue. (OnePeterFive graciously gave The Wanderer reprint permission for this article. All rights reserved. See: www.onepeterfive.com/cardinal-muller-reminds-church-marriage-doctrine/. (Dr. Hickson, born…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Spiritual Exercises

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The way the human body physically works can teach us something about virtue and the way God’s grace works spiritually for each of us: We must use it to grow it. As I reminded our Life Teens and their families at Mass recently, if they slack off on physical exercise during the summer, come fall…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church . . . One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 1 After investigating the Inquisition, now we take a good look at the greatest marvel on this side of eternity: the Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. To rule a country is not an easy job. That is why no head of state these days can…Continue Reading

The Seven Sacraments — Categories And Effects

By DON FIER Each of the seven sacraments, according to the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, was personally instituted by Christ during His visible stay on Earth. As we saw last week, the details of institution for some — even the precise words for administration — are taken directly from Scripture. However, as Christoph Cardinal Schönborn states in Living…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustine Of Canterbury

By CAROLE BRESLIN A Celtic cross erected in 1884 marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where St. Augustine of Canterbury is said to have landed in 597. While some form of Christianity in England may be traced back to the times of the Roman occupation, it did not become a strong presence until the arrival of St. Augustine,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Crispin Of Viterbo

By CAROLE BRESLIN In March 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of the Vine (Oak) located in Tuscany, Italy, to proclaim our Lady patroness of the Diocese of Viterbo. The tradition of visiting the image of Our Lady of the Oak began 600 years ago in 1417 when Mastro Baptist Magnano Iuzzante commissioned an image…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading