Sec. Clinton Stands By Her Praise of Eugenicist Margaret Sanger
1:25 PM, Apr 15, 2009 • By KEVIN VANCE
Last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger Award, named after the founder of the American Birth Control League, which changed its name to Planned Parenthood in the 1940s.
In her remarks, Clinton singled out the namesake of the award for praise:
Clinton lamented that "Margaret Sanger's work here in the United States and certainly across our globe is not done."
Mrs. Sanger, of course, wasn't the benevolent advocate for human rights that Clinton's remarks make her out to be. In fact, Sanger's "vision" for birth control seems to be united to a eugenic vision. In the October 1921 issue of The Birth Control Review, Sanger wrote that "the campaign for Birth Control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal with the final aim of Eugenics."
Sanger laid out the "principles and aims" of the American Birth Control League in an appendix to her 1922 work, The Pivot of Civilization. Two and a half pages are devoted to the principles of the American Birth Control league, which begins:
Of the 11 aims of the American Birth Control League outlined by Sanger after an explanation of its principles, only two are not directly related to the problem that Sanger called "dysgenic breeding." One of the most shocking "aims" of the ABCL is the "sterilization of the insane and feeble minded and the encouragement of this operation upon those afflicted with inherited or transmissible diseases with the understanding that sterilization does not deprive the individual of his or her sex expression but merely renders him incapable of producing children."
PDFs of these works are available here.
When asked for clarification about Clinton's admiration of Sanger's "vision" and whether the secretary wished she had mitigated her praise with a mention of the more seedy aspects of Sanger's legacy, a State Department spokesman told The Weekly Standard yesterday that Clinton's speechwriters said Clinton's words "stand on their own."
New Jersey representative Chris Smith, the co-chair of the congressional pro-life caucus, said that he doesn't think it's possible to separate Sanger's eugenicist aims from a greater vision. "If you read the books--I've read the books--[eugenics] is absolutely the pillar of everything Sanger did," said Smith. "Look at what movement she spawned in terms of getting rid of the 'undesirables,' and that could be the disabled, African Americans, and just about every other group of people. I mean, Catholics, Italians, and Irish. I mean, that is a very pathetic and sick perspective towards the human race, and yet she's idolized by, of all people, our secretary of state."