The Obama Watch

Obama’s Racial Eugenics Award?

Sanger wins Presidential Medal of Freedom.

By 12.3.13

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Feminist icon Gloria Steinem has received America’s highest honor. President Obama bestowed upon Steinem the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In so doing, he honored the work of not only Steinem but Margaret Sanger, liberalism’s iconic racial eugenicist. Celebrating her award at the National Press Club, Steinem said she hoped Obama’s action would be “honoring the work of Margaret Sanger.”

It indeed has done just that.

Margaret Sanger longed for a more enlightened time when birth control would be (as she put it) “part of the regular welfare service of the government.” In this, she was inspired by Stalin’s Soviet Union — literally. In 1934, she undertook a fact-finding pilgrimage to Moscow, where she, like many American progressives, believed the Bolshevik government might well have discovered the Brave New World. Many American progressives — public education father John Dewey among them — thought the Soviets were perhaps merely a few steps ahead of us. We needed to look there. We needed to go there.

Upon her return, Sanger reported her findings in the June 1935 edition of her organization’s flagship publication, Birth Control Review. In an article titled, “Birth Control in Russia,” Sanger noted, “Theoretically, there are no obstacles to birth control in Russia. It is accepted… on the grounds of health and human right.” She said of America: “[W]e could well take example from Russia, where there are no legal restrictions, no religious condemnation, and where birth control instruction is part of the regular welfare service of the government.”

Sanger could not have known it, but she was speaking of Barack Obama’s America, where birth control is being thrust upon us as a basic “human right” and form of “health care” with no obstacles in its way. In fact, it’s even easier than Sanger could have imagined: Not only do contemporary progressives want no obstacles, but Obama wants all Americans to forcibly pay for birth control. He is even forcing the religious to do so via his HHS mandate. He and his progressive cohorts are rolling right over any “legal restrictions” or “religious condemnation.” If you as a religious believer disagree, they will see you in court. You will be penalized and demonized.

Under Obama, we have arrived at Sanger’s new world, where birth control is a regular service of the federal government.

And thus, Gloria Steinem honoring Margaret Sanger with Obama’s Presidential Medal of Freedom is so perfectly fitting. It really is. In fact, if Obama thought about all this more deeply, perhaps he’d consider a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom for Margaret Sanger. She was way ahead of her time. A veritable progressive prophetess.

But there’s something even more significant and ironic at work here.

Margaret Sanger not only championed Bolshevik birth control services, she also championed racial eugenics. The Planned Parenthood matron wanted to advance what she called “racial health” and “race improvement” in America. She lamented America’s “race of degenerates.” This meant purging the landscape of its “human weeds” and “the dead weight of human waste.” This included the “feeble-minded,” the “imbeciles,” the “morons,” and the “idiots,” but it also included a “Negro Project” that Margaret had in mind for another group of Americans.

The Negro Project was close to Sanger’s heart, as shown by a remarkable December 10, 1939 letter she wrote to Dr. Clarence Gamble of Milton, Massachusetts. (The letter is today held in the Sanger archives at Smith College. I have a photocopy.) The Planned Parenthood foundress alerted the good doctor: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

That eye-opening assertion has been disputed and defended by liberals. And, to be fair, what Sanger meant isn’t entirely clear, though I personally lean to a decidedly negative interpretation. But one group with no ambivalence about Sanger’s intentions with black Americans was the KKK.

Add the Klan to the list of those deeply grateful for Sanger’s work. They were so grateful that the boys in the white hoods invited the progressive heroine to one of their celebrations. They asked her to speak at one of their rallies. Sanger accepted. She addressed her brethren at a KKK rally in Silver Lake, New Jersey, in 1926.

What do Barack Obama and Gloria Steinem think of that? Like most leftists, either they’re totally ignorant of the fact or they look the other way as they extol the magnificence of Sanger’s other “achievements” that outweigh the more sinister ones in their ever-evolving progressive calculus.

Among Sanger’s other achievements is another bitter pill: Her Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider, and one of the greatest killers of black Americans. No other organization comes close. Planned Parenthood’s bloodletting of unborn black babies has been in the countless millions.

And yet, Obama and Steinem and liberals/progressives insist we fund that, too, with our tax dollars. Those of us who beg to differ are accused of favoring a “war on women.”

How sadly surreal that Gloria Steinem, who hopes her Presidential Medal of Freedom honors Margaret Sanger, has been so honored by Barack Obama, America’s first black president. It almost seems a cruel joke. But, alas, so does progressive liberalism.

It reminds me of the women at Planned Parenthood bestowing their first annual Margaret Sanger Award on no less than Martin Luther King, Jr.

No, that’s not a joke. King was the first in a long line of Sanger Award recipients. Other recent winners have included Hillary Clinton, who glowed as she expressed her “awe” of Sanger as she received the crown.

The whole thing smacks of a plot out of The Screwtape Letters, cooked up by the Evil One and his accomplices down under. Come to think of it, that might be the only place where they’re really laughing.

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About the Author

Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His latest book is 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative.