Planned Parenthood, engulfed in a scandal following the release of two undercover videos, is the largest abortion provider in the United States.
On its website, the organization compliments Margaret Sanger as one of the pro-choice movement’s “great heroes.” Sanger started the American Birth Control League in 1921; it became part of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.
Planned Parenthood praises Sanger for “providing contraception and other health services” and “advancing access to family planning in the United States and around the world.”
In addition to Planned Parenthood, Sanger also founded the Birth Control Review, a journal about contraception and population control.
Here are 13 things Sanger said during her lifetime.
1) She proposed allowing Congress to solve “population problems” by appointing a “Parliament of Population.”
“Directors representing the various branches of science [in the Parliament would] … direct and control the population through birth rates and immigration, and direct its distribution over the country according to national needs consistent with taste, fitness and interest of the individuals.” —“A Plan for Peace,” Birth Control Review, April 1932, pages 107-108
2) Sanger called the various methods of population control, including abortion, “defending the unborn against their own disabilities.” —“A Plan for Peace,” Birth Control Review, April 1932, pages 107-108
3) Sanger believed that the United States should “keep the doors of immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race, such as feebleminded, idiots, morons, Insane, syphilitic, epileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes, and others in this class barred by the immigration laws of 1924.” —“A Plan for Peace,” Birth Control Review, April 1932, pages 107-108
4) Sanger advocated “a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.” —“A Plan for Peace,” Birth Control Review, April 1932, pages 107-108
5) People whom Sanger considered unfit, she wrote, should be sent to “farm lands and homesteads” where “they would be taught to work under competent instructors for the period of their entire lives.” —“A Plan for Peace,” Birth Control Review, April 1932, pages 107-108
6) She was an advocate of a proposal called the “American Baby Code.”
“The results desired are obviously selective births,” she wrote.
According to Sanger, the code would “protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.” —“America Needs a Code for Babies,” March 27, 1934, Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of Congress, 128:0312B
7) While advocating for the American Baby Code, she argued that marriage licenses should provide couples with the right to only “a common household” but not parenthood. In fact, couples should have to obtain a permit to become parents:
Article 3. A marriage license shall in itself give husband and wife only the right to a common household and not the right to parenthood.
Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit for parenthood.
Article 5. Permits for parenthood shall be issued upon application by city, county, or state authorities to married couples, providing they are financially able to support the expected child, have the qualifications needed for proper rearing of the child, have no transmissible diseases, and, on the woman’s part, no medical indication that maternity is likely to result in death or permanent injury to health.
Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.
“All that sounds highly revolutionary, and it might be impossible to put the scheme into practice,” Sanger wrote.
She added: “What is social planning without a quota?” —“America Needs a Code for Babies,” March 27, 1934, Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of Congress, 128:0312B
8) She believed that large families were detrimental to society.
“The most serious evil of our times is that of encouraging the bringing into the world of large families. The most immoral practice of the day is breeding too many children,” she wrote.
“The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it,” she continued. —“Woman and the New Race,” 1920, Chapter 5: The Wickedness of Creating Large Families
9) She argued that motherhood must be “efficient.”
“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 defectives,” Sanger wrote. —“Woman and the New Race,” 1920, Chapter 18: The Goal
10) Population control, she wrote, would bring about the “materials of a new race.”
“If we are to develop in America a new race with a racial soul, we must keep the birth rate within the scope of our ability to understand as well as to educate. We must not encourage reproduction beyond our capacity to assimilate our numbers so as to make the coming generation into such physically fit, mentally capable, socially alert individuals as are the ideal of a democracy,” Sanger wrote. —“Woman and the New Race,” 1920, Chapter 3: The Materials of the New Race
11) Sanger wrote that an excess in population must be reduced.
“War, famine, poverty and oppression of the workers will continue while woman makes life cheap,” she wrote.
Mothers, “at whatever cost, she must emerge from her ignorance and assume her responsibility.” —“Woman and the New Race,” 1920, Chapter 1: Woman’s Error and Her Debt
12) “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” Sanger wrote. —Letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble on Dec., 10, 1939
13) In an interview with Mike Wallace in 1957, Sanger said, “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world, that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically.”
“Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin—that people can—can commit,” she said.