A Voice for Eugenics

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, is often hailed for her crusade to bring birth control and abortion to America early this century. But while abortion advocates laud her as a “woman of valor,” they don’t often mention her advocacy of eugenics.

Sanger’s magazine, Birth Control Review, published an article in June 1932 entitled “Eugenics for the Negro.” Editor Elmer Carter stated “that the race problem in America is infinitely aggravated by the presence of too many unhappily born subnormal, morons, and imbeciles of both races.”

Prompted by this thought, Sanger developed the “Negro Project” in 1939. This was her plan to limit the black population. It included enlisting the leadership of educated blacks to make birth control and abortion viable solutions for poor blacks.

“[Sanger] bemoaned the burden of the ‘unfit’ on the productive members of the community,” her biographer Ellen Chesler wrote in A Woman of Valor. “She [was] committed to the creation of ‘a race of thoroughbreds.’ ”

In her zeal to erase the “unfit” from society, Sanger openly advocated sterilization of the disabled and mentally challenged, as well as linking welfare benefits to birth control, abortion and sterilization. And she supported the sterilization of prison inmates — doubtlessly believing such a move would alleviate crime in the next generation.