Special Report

Maggie Sanger and the Human Weeds

American eugenics comes into its own.

By 6.23.04

Send to Kindle

WASHINGTON -- After a lengthy incubation, the sick dreams of Margaret Sanger are finally hatching. Against the excuses of her modern defenders, it should be remembered that the founder of Planned Parenthood's main interest in the legalization of abortion was not that women should be freed from the bonds of childbearing, but that unsavory types should be cleansed from the larger population.

In fact, Sanger only turned to abortion when her original plan to "apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation" to those with "objectionable traits" -- sometimes derided as the stronger epithet "human weeds" -- found little support. Turned out folks felt a bit queasy about sending those of certain ethnic backgrounds and with disabilities and mental illnesses off to "farm lands and homesteads" to be "taught to work under competent instructors for the period of their entire lives."

Sounds a bit like a concentration camp, no? Then again, she was a great admirer of the Nazi eugenics movement. Like Hitler, she had a long list of folks she wanted to eliminate from society, including "illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, dope fiends."

More to the point, Sanger considered non-Aryan people "a great biological menace to the future of civilization." The same woman considered a saint today by the pro-choice crowd warned supporters in 1939 that they did not want "word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population."

But look at the massive abortion rates in modern black neighborhoods and set them against, say, the merely moderate rates in white neighborhoods, and it becomes depressingly clear that Sanger helped accomplish something both depressing and far-reaching. If these high death rates were attached to a war, it would be called genocide. When it happens in a Planned Parenthood office we call it progress.

AND NOW, ABORTION ON demand, combined with ever more rigorous screening of children in the womb, has provided the perfect backdoor for other eugenic obsessions to quietly slip back into American life.

According to a front page article in Sunday's New York Times, upwards of 500 medical conditions can be diagnosed by tests on fetal cells "with more than 100 tests added in the last year alone." And, as literally hundreds of science fiction novels predicted, those of us who fail to measure up to the state of normalcy determined by society-at-large are getting the axe in utero.

The results are fairly ugly. For starters, more Down's Syndrome children are now aborted than born. Not for any lack of sentience or capacity for joy or love, they simply move too slowly for modern tastes. Unborn children at risk for cystic fibrosis, expected to live 35 to 40 years, are also increasingly not worth the trouble. Tragic as the disease might be, we never react to the death of an 18-year-old in a car accident by wishing they'd never been born. Exactly how many years must people live before their lives are considered worthwhile?

As with anything else, the moment parents are allowed to selectively eliminate their children because of flaws, we have to grapple with the fact that what constitutes an abnormality can vary greatly.

Thus, the Times tells us the story of a woman who was born with an extra finger, which she later had surgically removed. So far she has aborted two children when ultrasound scans showed they had the same extra digit.

Another woman in Manhattan recently aborted a female child because she already had three daughters and wanted a son. Her physician, Dr. Mark Engelbert, told the Times that he was uncomfortable with the situation, but what could he do?

"My feeling as a physician was that I've accepted the responsibility of being her health care provider," he said. "She's not doing anything illegal, and it's not for me to decide."

That's just it, isn't it? Those who have accepted the barbarism of abortion are forced to follow it all the way down. Any uneasiness about the reason for a particular "elimination" must be set aside for the greater good.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article