Wednesday 1st April 2015

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

Comment on this Article:

Lying About Card. Burke

Both Michael Sean Winters of the Fishwrap and David Gibson of RNS posted intellectually dishonest hit pieces against Card. Burke. They purposely misread what Card. Burke said in order to put him in the worst light they could. At least…Continue Reading

Pope says prayers, not ‘gossip,’ needed for successful synod on family

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — No matter how weary, wounded or sinful a family has become, the church will always do everything to try to help family members heal, convert and reconcile with the Lord,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke says confusion spreading among Catholics ‘in an alarming way’

LifeSiteNews: Since the extraordinary synod on the family, we have entered a period of uncertainty and confusion over several “hot-button” issues: communion for divorced and “remarried” couples, a change of attitude towards homosexual unions and an apparent relaxing of attitudes…Continue Reading

Bishop backs Catholic school’s removal of teacher over pro-marriage Facebook comments: cites Pope Francis

SOMERVILLE, NJ, March 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic school has decided not to rehire a theology teacher who rejected the argument in favor of gay “marriage” on her private Facebook page, her family has announced. The controversy began last…Continue Reading

Creepy Catholicism.

Martin O’Malley is the latest Catholic politician to come out as a duplicitous “Catholic.” Deacon Kandra posts an excerpt here from an interview in which O’Malley displays some amazingly twisted thinking to support homosexual marriage–even though he’s a Catholic. As far…Continue Reading

Polish Bishops’ Conference rejects Holy Communion for divorced and “remarried”

The Polish Bishops’ Conference has issued a communiqué firmly rejecting the proposals that divorced and “remarried” Catholics should be admitted to Holy Communion without amendment of life. The communiqué, published on 12th March, includes the following statement: “In view of the…Continue Reading

Celtic Catholic priest and friends pile on archbishop

On Monday March 16, KALW radio’s City Visions will host a program “Can Bay Area Catholics and Archbishop Cordileone find Common Ground?” Scheduled guests are the Reverend Vincent Pizzuto; Most Holy Redeemer parishioner and teachers’ union representative Ted DeSaulnier; and…Continue Reading

The Traditional Case for Capital Punishment

A group of Catholic publishers recently issued a joint statement urging an end to capital punishment. I have great respect for all of them – I have written for all of them at one point or another. I disagree with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: Pope Is Not Above the Word of God and the Catholic Faith

Edit: Rorate tends to understate things.  They want a sober response.  We’d like to offer this translation of Giuseppe Nardi’s appreciation of their take on Cardinal Müller’s recent letter appearing in the Osservatore Romano and additional commentary from other important Italian…Continue Reading

Is the Synod Secretariat Stacking the Deck Again?

The Vatican today announced that the vice president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for the Study of Marriage and the Family will be a consulter to the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. Professor José Granados‘ appointment,…Continue Reading

Gay activist: Of course our goal is to ‘indoctrinate children into LGBTQ agenda’

TORONTO, March 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — A homosexual activist has candidly admitted that gay-themed materials and policies pushed in grade schools across North America are for the sake of “indoctrinating” children into an unquestioning acceptance of homosexuality. “I am here…Continue Reading

Pope . . . giving holy Communion to remarried divorcees “won’t solve anything”

On the second anniversary of his pontificate, the Holy Father gave a lengthy interview to a Mexican television journalist. – CNA/Bohumil Petrik VATICAN CITY — In a new, wide-ranging interview published Friday on the second anniversary of his election, Pope…Continue Reading

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 subscribe 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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy: 11 April in St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – Following the first announcement of the next extraordinary Holy Year by Pope Francis on 13 March, the Holy Father will proceed with the official indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction on Saturday 11 April, at 5.30 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica. The rite of publication will involve the reading of various passages of the Bull before the Holy Door of…Continue Reading

Pope makes Curial nominations for Education, APSA

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has named the former President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the new Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The Congregation for Catholic Education is responsible for houses of formation of religious and secular institutes; universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; and schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities. In addition, the Holy Father…Continue Reading

Pope Francis on Palm Sunday: remember persecuted Christians

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the persecuted Christians in the world on Sunday – Palm Sunday – during Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Following the proclamation of the Passion according to St. Mark, Pope Francis delivered a homily, in which he reflected on the plight of all those who endure humiliation because of their faithfulness to the Gospel, all those who face discrimination and pay a personal price for their fidelity to Christ. “We think…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday Homily

pope742

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday – Palm Sunday – the beginning of Holy Week, 2015. Please find, below, the official English translation of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks. ***************************** At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself” (2:8).  Jesus’ humiliation. These words show us God’s way…Continue Reading

Amendment By Consent

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO Here is a short pop quiz. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress in March about the parameters of the secret negotiations between the United States and Iran over nuclear weapons and economic sanctions, how did he know what the negotiators were considering? Israel is not a party to those…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Solid Scholarship On The Middle Ages

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Fried, Johannes. The Middle Ages, trans. from the German by Peter Lewis. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2015. Pp. Xi + 580. The Middle Ages are generally considered to be the period between 500 and 1500 AD. That thousand-year period in Johannes Fried’s narrative begins with Boethius under the reign of the…Continue Reading

“What Is Historical Church Teaching On Contraception?”

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 chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Part 1 “Contraception cannot be an expression of total self-giving, because in contraception, something is…Continue Reading

Transforming The St. Patrick’s Day Parades

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON St. Patrick’s Day, which is a holy day of obligation for Catholics in Ireland, has been corrupted in America by homosexual activists who flaunt their opposition to Catholic doctrine. Celebratory parades have been co-opted for dissident political purposes. Since the seventh century, St. Patrick has been revered as the patron saint…Continue Reading

How Far Can One Sink?

By DONALD DeMARCO “With [Premier] Wynne’s sex education curriculum, we have at last splashed down in a miasmal sewer in which it’s hard to sink any further.” So writes Harley Price, who has taught philosophy at a number of prestigious universities. Many, including outraged parents and indignant members of the medical establishment, agree with him.…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Message From Cardinal Burke

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

John Paul II At World Youth Day In Denver . . . “The Outcome Of The Battle For Life Is Already Decided”

(Editor’s Note: Pope John Paul II gave the following homily at the Mass at Cherry Creek State Park, Denver, for World Youth Day VIII, on Sunday, August 15, 1993, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. John Paul II died ten years ago on April 2, 2005 and we reprint his Denver WYD homily here to honor…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . The Lessons Of Holy Week On Faithful Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK As Holy Week is upon us once again, and we join in with the condemnation of the crowd, crying “Crucify Him, Crucify Him,” we relive the betrayal of sin which marks every human life. We accompany the Lord Jesus Christ on His way of the cross and journey with Him all the way to Calvary.…Continue Reading

Is Mary The Mother Of God… Or Only The Mother Of Jesus?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Responding to a common misconception among separated brethren and ill-informed Catholics: What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the divine Motherhood? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith in Jesus — even their very own lives? They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned…Continue Reading

Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

By DON FIER We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: As readers of this column know, we like to quote Fr. George Rutler from time to time because his weekly bulletin columns at the Church of St. Michael in New York City are sources of both information and inspiration. After starting his March 22 column by noting that history is “replete with the failures of famous figures,” such…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Marguerite D’Youville

By CAROLE BRESLIN By 1701 the European colonies in North America had expanded beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The Anglo population in the English American colonies had reached 275,000. The French had recently established a colony in Detroit. Catholics, however, were persecuted as Massachusetts passed a law ordering all Roman Catholic priests to leave or face execution. New York passed a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Faustina And Divine Mercy

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Divine Mercy Chaplet had never been one of my favorite devotions until my aunt died. As she lay in the hospital during her final hours, I sat in the room, visiting with the endless stream of visitors who stopped in to see their fellow volunteer. By six o’clock, the room was quiet. I decided to read…Continue Reading