January/February, 1998 Volume XII Number 10
In the past few years there has been a frantic effort on the part of Planned Parenthood ideologues to revise their own history. Much of the effort has been waged in an attempt to distance the organization and it's founder, Margaret Sanger, from charges of radical racial bigotry. Mike Richmond draws from a selection of authors to demonstrate that Sanger and Planned Parenthood are rooted in eugenics, and have earned a despised place in history along with Adolph Hitler and the German Third Reich were.
Margaret Sanger's eugenics
by Mike Richmond
In The Science and Politics of Racial Research (pp. 126-127), Rutger's psychology professor William H. Tucker informs us that, American eugenicists [such as Margaret Sanger] even made their own modest contribution to the plight of Jews in the Reich. In the late 1930s there were last-ditch attempts to waive some of the restrictions in the 1924 Immigration Act in order to grant asylum to a few eventual victims of the Holocaust. These efforts were vigorously opposed by eugenicists, especially by [Harry Hamilton] Laughlin, who submitted a new report, Immigration and Conquest, reiterating the biological warnings against the "human dross" that would produce a "breakdown in race purity of the ...superior stocks." While almost one thousand German Jews seeking to immigrate waited hopefully in a ship off the coast of Florida, Laughlin's report singled them out as a group "slow to assimilate to the American pattern of life," and he recommended a 60 percent reduction in quotas, together with procedures to denationalize and deport some immigrants who had already attained citizenship. For the eugenicists, Nordic purity was as important in the United States as it was in Germany. The ship was sent back to Germany.
1924: A year of infamy
Since 1933 was the year Adolf Hitler became leader of Germany, why would 1924 be a year of infamy? 1924 was the year the U.S. government passed the Immigration Restriction Acts. Pennsylvania State University professor Robert N. Proctor in his book Racial Hygiene (p.173) tells us about the effects of these acts:
In the United States, immigration of Jews (along with other "undesirable" groups) had already been drastically curtailed by the 1924 Immigration Restriction Acts. In the period 1900-1924, immigrants were accepted into the United States at a rate of about 435,000 per year. In the period 1925-1939, however, after quotas were imposed, this figure dropped to 24,430 per year, a tiny fraction (5 percent) of the former rate. (In 1934 Harry H. Laughlin of the Eugenics Department of the Carnegie Institution proposed stronger immigration restrictions against Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Today we know that thousands of Jews seeking asylum in the United States were turned back from Ellis Island in the 1930s after quotas had been filled; some of these were later killed in concentration camps in the countries from which they had tried to flee.)
Did Margaret Sanger oppose the 1924 Immigration Restriction Act? Proctor writes,
German racial hygienists looked to the United States as an example of a country effectively dealing not only with the problem of the genetically unfit but also with immigration policy. In August 1932, at a course organized by the Nazi Physicians' League to allow physicians to brush up on their racial hygiene, organizer Heinz Kurten called attention to the trail blazed by America in the field of racial hygiene. America, according to Kurten, had been invaded by a flood of immigrants, 10 million in the first decade of the twentieth century, largely of the "dirtier southern European stocks." Kurten argued that these immigrants threatened to spoil the achievements of the whites, "who had originally discovered and conquered the land." But thanks to the "educational activities" (Aufklarungsarbeit) of men such as Lothrop Stoddard [whom Margaret Sanger appointed to the board of her Birth Control League], Madison Grant, and Harry Laughlin, the tide might be turned, especially if immigration restriction rules could be enforced.
Kurten was not alone in this view. In 1933 Physicians' Fuhrer Gerhard Wagner praised American for her stringent racial policy and implored his countrymen to follow her example. Wagner praised American restrictions that, according to Wagner, had allowed the U.S. government to send some 30,000 violators of immigration rules back to their country of origin over the two-year period 1929-1930.
In a word, No. Margaret Sanger strongly supported these acts. In her own words: "c. to keep the doors of immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race, such as feebleminded, idiots, morons, insane, syphilitic, epileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes, and others [!!!] in this class barred by immigration laws of 1924." ("A Plan for Peace," Birth Control Review, April 1932).
Sanger asked for no relief for Jews fleeing Germany.
But how many Jewish refugees were accepted by the U.S. during World War II? David S. Wyman writes in The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-1945, that during the war the United States admitted only 21,000 Jewish refugees, and describes how Britain did all it could to prevent Jews fleeing the Holocaust from settling in Palestine.
Lothrop Stoddard and Margaret Sanger
Perhaps, Margaret Sanger hardly knew Lothrop Stoddard (racist and eugenicist). In Margaret Sanger, an autobiography, Sanger herself writes,
"I fairly flew up the aisle but halted in front of the footlights; they were as high as my head and another blue uniform was obstructing the steps leading to the stage. Suddenly Lothrop Stoddard, the author, tall and strong seized me and literally tossed me up to the platform. A messenger boy was aimlessly grasping flowers which were to be presented after my speech. Stoddard grabbed them briskly, handed them to me and shouted, "Here's Mrs. Sanger!" (page 302)
Margaret Sanger appointed Lothrop Stoddard as a board member of the Birth Control League, the forerunner of Planned Parenthood. And as we will see later, Stoddard was an avid supporter of eugenics, forced sterilization, and Germany's Adolph Hitler.
Eugenics, a definition
Professor Tucker's book is certainly an excellent primer on the history of eugenics, but what exactly is it? Eugenics postulates that both physical and mental problems are primarily caused by inferior or defective "inheritance" (what we would now call genes) and that people with good genes should be encouraged to reproduce; people with bad genes should be discouraged from reproducing. Believers in eugenics even believed that poverty was caused by poor "biological inheritance" (i.e. genes).
More on Margaret Sanger
Life Magazine has ranked Sanger as one of the most important persons of this century. She is the founder of Planned Parenthood and an "outstanding" proponent of eugenics. In April of 1932 she advocated an option "to give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation [concentration camps] or sterilization." ("A Plan For Peace," Birth Control Review; see 'appendix' for this full unabridged semie with bad genes. She and others pioneered forced sterilization in the 20th century. The Swedish sterilization was in place by 1935. The German program began in January 1934, but the U.S. state of Indiana passed a forced sterilization law (for "mental defectives") in 1907 (when Adolf Hitler was only 18 years old). Before the German program began, at least seventeen U.S. states, including California, had forced sterilization laws. Before 1930 there were 200-600 forced sterilizations per year in the United States, but in the 1930s the rate jumped to 2,000-4,000 per year. (1)
American architects of the German sterilization law
"The leaders in the German sterilization movement state repeatedly that their legislation was formulated after careful study of the California experiment as reported by Mr. Gosney and Dr. [Paul] Popenoe. It would have been impossible, they say, to undertake such a venture involving some 1 million people without drawing heavily upon previous experience elsewhere." (2)
Dr. Paul Popenoe
Author William H. Tucker identifies Paul Popenoe as a researcher who favored eugenics. Says Tucker:
The biologist Paul Popenoe, author of the most widely used American eugenics text and editor of the Journal of Heredity, also reviewed the new German law. Noting that Hitler had read the definitive German work on heredity by Baur, Fischer, and Lenz, Popenoe judged the Fuhrer's program to be based "solidly on the application of biological principles to human society." (p. 123)
In the April 1933 Birth Control Review, Paul Popenoe tells us:
Eugenic sterilization is one of the many indispensable measures in any modern program of social welfare. It is an integral part of a general system of protection, parole, and supervision, for those who by reason of mental disease or deficiency are unable to meet the responsibilities of citizenship.
Popenoe was more than a researcher. He was a leader in the U.S. eugenics movement and Margaret Sanger enthusiastically supported his thinking.
It promotes eugenics by cutting off some of the lines of descent that are spreading mental disease and mental defect throughout the population. It is conservatively estimated that there are approximately five million people in the United States who will at some time be committed to state hospitals as insane and that there are approximately five million more who are so deficient intellectually (with less than 70% of average intelligence) as to be, in many cases, liabilities rather than assets to the race. The situation will grow worse instead of better if steps are not taken to control the reproduction of the mentally handicapped. Eugenic sterilization represents one such step that is practicable, humanitarian, and certain in its results.(3)
Ernst Rudin was director of the foremost German eugenics research institute (Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Genealogy, in Munich, Germany). "On June 2, 1933, [German] Reich Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick announced the formation of an Expert Committee on Questions of Population and Racial Policy .... to plan the course of Nazi racial policy. The committee brought together the elite of Nazi racial theory: Alfred Ploetz, ..... Ernst Rudin, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Genealogy in Munich...." (4) On July 14, 1933 this committee's recommendations regarding forced sterilization became known as the "Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring." The start date for exercising the law was January 1, 1934.
Tucker (The Science and Politics of Racial Research, 1994, University of Illinois Press) writes about Ernst Rudin (p. 121):
In an address to the German Society for Rassenhygiene [Race-hygiene], Ernst Rudin, a professor of psychiatry who was one of the organization's original members and now its head, recalled the early, fruitless days when the racial hygienists had labored in vain to alert the public to special value of the Nordic race as "culture creators" and the danger of "unnatural" attempts to preserve the health of heredity defectives. Now Rassenhygiene was finally receiving the attention it deserved, and Rudin virtually slavered over the man whose efforts produced this change: "The significance of Rassenhygiene did not become evident to all aware Germans until the political activity of Adolf Hitler and only through his work has our 30 year long dream of translating Rassenhygiene into action finally become a reality."
So, how many Germans were forcibly sterilized? Most estimates are in the range of a quarter to one half million. The Germans started twenty-seven years later that the United States, but within a few years they greatly outpaced them. And German eugenicists like Rudin worked closely with American eugenicists like Sanger. Three months before the German 'sterilization law' was passed, Rudin's "Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need" article was published in the Birth Control Review (BCR) and continued to influence sterilization in the States until 1940 when the BCR (also referred to as The Review) ceased publication.
Terming it a "duty of honor" (Ehrenpflicht) for the society to aid in implementing Hitler's program, Rudin proclaimed, "We can hardly express our efforts more plainly or appropriately than in the words of the Fuhrer: 'Whoever is not physically or mentally fit must not pass on his defects to his children. The state must take care that only the fit produce children. Conversely, it must be regarded as reprehensible to withhold healthy children from the state'" (E. Rudin, "Aufgaben and Ziele der Deutschen Gesellschaft fur Rassenhygiene," Archiv Fur Rassen-und Gesellschafts-biologie 28 (1934): 228-29).
In addressing an American audience Rudin is circumspect with his choice of words:
The following essay is concerned only with sterilization as a voluntary practice, that is, when undertaken with the consent of the patient himself or his statutory guardians......
But as the essay wears on, the mask begins to slip:
My experience has led me to the conclusion that systematic and careful propaganda should be undertaken where sterilization is advisable. Such propaganda should, of course, be gradual and should be directed in the first instance at the medical directors in institutions and schools, medical officers of health, and finally at private practitioners.....
Margaret Sanger corresponded with Ernst Rudin and never once renounced his eugenic views.
Author Stefan Kuhl writes of American Lothrop Stoddard's interest in Nazi eugenics(5):
When the Nazis came to power, argued Stoddard, they started to increase "both the size and the quality of the population." They coupled initiatives designed to encourage "sound" citizens to reproduce with a "drastic curb of the defective elements."(7) Stoddard personally witnessed how the Nazis were "weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way."
And it is no secret that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis favored Jews be more subject to induced abortion and sterilization than other groups. Again Stefan Kuhl writes (pp. 61-62):
He [Lothrop Stoddard] even met personally with Adolf Hitler. William L. Shirer, an American colleague who had been in Germany since 1934, complained that the Reich minister for propaganda [Joseph Goebbels] gave special preference to Stoddard because his writings on racial subject were "featured in Nazi school textbooks." (8)
Stoddard claimed in 1940 that the "Jew problem" is "already settled in principle and soon to be settled in fact by the physical elimination of the Jews themselves from the Third Reich."
As was noted earlier, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, made Lothrop Stoddard a board member of the forerunner to Planned Parenthood, the Birth Control League. Why was the Birth Control League reconstituted as Planned Parenthood? The 'Nazi smell' of the Birth Control League was so bad, that some 'cosmetics' were required.
High praise from Adolf Hitler
Margaret Sanger was a prominent proponent of eugenics and forced sterilization. Stefan Kuhl writes:
In 1934 one of Hitler's staff members wrote to Leon Whitney of the American Eugenics Society and asked in the name of the Fuhrer for a copy of Whitney's recently published book, The Case for Sterilization. Whitney complied immediately, and shortly thereafter received a personal letter of thanks from Adolf Hitler. In his unpublished autobiography, Whitney reported a conversation he had with Madison Grant [another prominent American eugenicist] about the letter from the Fuhrer. Because he thought Grant might be interested in Hitler's letter he showed it to him during their next meeting. Grant only smiled, reached for a folder on his desk, and gave Whitney a letter from Hitler to read. In this, Hitler thanked Grant for writing The Passing of the Great Race and said that "the book was his Bible." Whitney concluded that, following Hitler's actions, one could believe it. (unpublished autobiography of Leon F. Whitney, written in 1971, Whitney Papers, APS, 204-5) (6)
Sanger's siren song of sterilization
Earlier we quoted Margaret Sanger's goal "to give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization." To assure yourself that this is not an 'out of context quote', read the full article "A Plan For Peace". Although Margaret Sanger may have been unaware of it, one possible side-effect of an induced abortion is sterility. If only 4% of women undergoing an induced abortion suffer sterility as a side-effect, then the U.S. has had over one million sterilizations (from induced abortion alone), easily topping the Nazi 'record'.
(1) The Surgical Solution, Philip R. Reilly
(2) "Legal and Medical Aspects of Eugenic Sterilization in Germany," American Sociological Review, Marie E. Kopp, 1936:763
(3) "Eugenic Sterilization," Birth Control Review, Dr. Paul Popenoe, April 1933
(4) Racial Hygiene, Robert N. Proctor, p. 95
(5) The Nazi Connection (Eugenics, American Racism, And German National Socialism), Stefan Kuhl, Oxford University Press, 1994, p... 62
(6) The Nazi Connection, p. 85
(7) Into The Darkness: Nazi Germany Today, Lothrop Stoddard, 1940, pp. 190-191
(8) Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, William L. Shirer (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1941):257