Margaret Sanger, fully Margaret Higgins Sanger Slee

Margaret
Sanger, fully Margaret Higgins Sanger Slee
1879
1966

American Sex Educator, Nurse and Birth Control Advocate, Founder of Planned Parenthood

Author Quotes

The mother memories that are closest to my heart are the small gentle ones that I have carried over from the days of my childhood. They are not profound, but they have stayed with me through life, and when I am very old, they will still be near? Memories of mother drying my tears, reading aloud, cutting cookies and singing as she did, listening to prayers I said as I knelt with my forehead pressed against her knee, tucking me in bed and turning down the light. They have carried me through the years and given my life such a firm foundation that it does not rock beneath flood or tempest.

When motherhood becomes the fruit of a deep yearning, not the result of ignorance or accident, its children will become the foundation of a new race.

The real hope of the world lies in putting as painstaking thought into the business of mating as we do into other big businesses.

While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.

The submission of her body without love or desire is degrading to the woman's finer sensibility, all the marriage certificates on earth to the contrary notwithstanding.

Woman must have her freedom; the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she shall be a mother and how many children she will have. Regardless of what man's attitude may be, that problem is hers; and before it can be his, it is hers alone. She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it. That right to decide imposes upon her the duty of clearing the way to knowledge by which she may make and carry out the decision. Birth control is woman's problem. The quicker she accepts it as hers and hers alone, the quicker will society respect motherhood. The quicker, too, will the world be made a fit place for her children to live.

The third group [of society] are those irresponsible and reckless ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers. Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.

Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.

There is only one reply to a request for a higher birthrate among the intelligent, and that is to ask the government to first take the burden of the insane and feeble-minded from your back. [Mandatory] sterilization for these is the answer.

Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most. The average working man can support no more and and the average working woman can take care of no more in decent fashion.

Thousands of little children occupy sleeping quarters with parents and boarders whose every act is visible to all. Morality indeed! Society is much like the ostrich with its head in the sand. It will not look at facts and face the responsibility of its own stupidity.

You caused this. Mother is dead from having too many children.

Thus we see that the second and third children have a very good chance to live through the first year. Children arriving later have less and less chance, until the twelfth has hardly any chance at all to live twelve months. This does not complete the case, however, for those who care to go farther into the subject will find that many of those who live for a year die before they reach the age of five. Many, perhaps, will think it idle to go farther in demonstrating the immorality of large families, but since there is still an abundance of proof at hand, it may be offered for the sake of those who find difficulty in adjusting old-fashioned ideas to the facts. The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it. The same factors which create the terrible infant mortality rate, and which swell the death rate of children between the ages of one and five, operate even more extensively to lower the health rate of the surviving members.

She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it.

Today eugenics is suggested by the most diverse minds as the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems. I think you must agree... that the campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics... Birth control propaganda is thus the entering wedge for the eugenic educator. As an advocate of birth control I wish... to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit,' admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.

Such parents swell the pathetic ranks of the unemployed. Feeble-mindedness perpetuates itself from the ranks of those who are blandly indifferent to their racial responsibilities. And it is largely this type of humanity we are now drawing upon to populate our world for the generations to come. In this orgy of multiplying and replenishing the earth, this type is pari passu multiplying and perpetuating those direst evils in which we must, if civilization is to survive, extirpate by the very roots.

Usually this desire [for family limitation] has been laid to economic pressure.... It has asserted itself among the rich and among the poor, among the intelligent and the unintelligent. It has been manifested in such horrors as infanticide, child abandonment and abortion.

The basic freedom of the world is woman's freedom. A free race cannot be born of slave mothers. A woman enchained cannot choose but give a measure of that bondage to her sons and daughters. No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.

War, famine, poverty and oppression of the workers will continue while woman makes life cheap. They will cease only when she limits her reproductivity and human life is no longer a thing to be wasted.

The big answer, as I see it, is the education of the white man. The white man is the problem. It is the same as with the Nazis. We must change the white attitudes. That is where it lies.

We are failing to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying? a dead weight of human waste? an ever-increasing spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.

The campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics.

We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.

The main objects of the Population Congress would be... to give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.

We explained simply what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way ? no matter how early it was performed it was taking a life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way ? it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun.

Author Picture
First Name
Margaret
Last Name
Sanger, fully Margaret Higgins Sanger Slee
Birth Date
1879
Death Date
1966
Bio

American Sex Educator, Nurse and Birth Control Advocate, Founder of Planned Parenthood