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Margaret Sanger (14 September 1879–6 September 1966) founded the American Birth Control League, led by Lothrop Stoddard, which later became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Since Planned Parenthood became pro-choice after her death, the Religious Right works itself into a lather itself by quote mining her speeches into portraits of a racist eugenicist madwoman. A few examples of quotes that have been misattributed to Sanger can be found on Wikiquotes.
Sanger appeared to support white supremacist, repressive laws restricting immigration such as the Johnson-Reed Act, lauding Congress in 1926 for taking "certain steps to control the quality of our population through its drastic immigration laws, whereby our gates are closed to those she considers undesirables."
Speech to the Ku Klux Klan, 1926
Enter the mid-1920s, when the racist, pro-eugenics Ku Klux Klan was at a national peak. Sanger unified progressive activists in both birth control and eugenics supporters, and received an invitation by the Klavern of Silver Lake, New Jersey, for a speech about birth control, which she accepted. No evidence of actual KKK membership exists, although her autobiography describes arrival at the city to speak to the Klan.
Some right-wingers claim the existence of a picture showing Sanger's speech given to the KKK, an assertion thoroughly debunked.
It should also be noted that the KKK was involved in much of the early feminist movement, including the Nineteenth Amendment. This does not make the 19th Amendment a bad thing, nor would a hypothetical connection between them and Sanger make what she supported bad. Despite this, many on the right have attempted to connect abortion with the Ku Klux Klan and eugenics because of Sanger's ties, even though the KKK has historically been a far-right group who, even when they support goals that are similar to those of modern progressives, did so for very different reasons. (For example: Supporting abortion because you believe it's the right of a woman to decide if they should have to remain pregnant or not vs. supporting abortion because you want to forcefully abort all non-white children.)
Sanger said some pretty kooky shit in regards to the eugenics woo that was a popular pseudoscience trend in the 1930s. She believed that people with hereditary disabilities should be encouraged to use birth control. This was not the same as Hitler's state-enforced eugenics program and she decried the Nazi euthanasia programs.
She and other abortion proponents wrote for the Eugenics Publishing Company.
- Margaret Sanger Wikiquote.
- Ellen Chesler, "Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America," p. 614.
- The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition.
- Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion, pp. 183-84.
- Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash · Volumes 1-2, p. 457.
- The Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey, p. 92.
- Purity, Pornography and Eugenics in the 1930s (Part I) by Ronald Ladouceur