Rachel Marie Stone wrote an article for Christianity Today urging us to “reconsider” Margaret Sanger. The point was that while Sanger was emphatic about the personal and social good that comes from freely available contraception — contraception that was under the control of women — she was also opposed to abortion.
I learned about this article through a lot of good Christians what-the-helling on Twitter and so on, and so I thought I should go take a look. Having done so, let me acknowledge an important point made by a number of respondents thus far. Sanger was a white supremacist, and she was promoting her methods as a way of keeping the human weeds under control. Her outlook was perfectly appalling, and this illustrates yet again that we shouldn’t really care how good Mussolini was with train schedules, or how disciplined and coordinated the North Korean flag-waving drill team is.
The prefix eu in eugenics was a thin code for those white folks who have now dropped the word eugenics like a hot rock, but who still continue to disproportionately target black boys and girls — with the connivance of black quislings — and it should be pointed out by somebody that they have a kill rate much higher than that of the Ferguson Police Department.
But an additional point about abortion needs be made. Let me grant (for the sake of discussion) that Sanger really was opposed to abortion, and that this was not just a PR stance. Down to our own day, pro-aborts have shamelessly argued that they want to make abortion rare while they tirelessly work to make it not very rare at all. Let me stipulate that, as bad as Sanger was, she wasn’t as ghoulish as her heirs are.
My point concerns that word heirs. Are the current denizens of Planned Parenthood actually Sanger’s heirs? They have to this point conducted, and profited greatly from, tens of millions of abortions. Have they betrayed Sanger’s vision on a massive scale, with it being the same kind of thing as a modern Lesbyterian pastor making John Knox’s bones twitch? Or was it simply a matter of the fruitlessness logic contained within the premises working its way out over time?
If it was the latter, as seems obvious to me, then available contraception doesn’t save lives, at least not the way this article was arguing. Or, put more accurately, it doesn’t save lives net. If there was something in Sanger’s Planned Parenthood that led to this Planned Parenthood, then what we have done is traded in many numerous accidental and tragic deaths for even more numerous deliberate and tragic murders.
If the survival rate for wanted children greatly increases, then we should really be happy about it — unless the price tag for this benefit is the mortality rate for unwanted children increasing even more. This is especially the case if we keep the cause of mortality in mind. There is a non-subtle difference between losing children and throwing them away.
So let us assume that Sanger was against abortion, just like most evangelical Christians currently are. If there was something that she introduced into her organization that turned them completely around on this crucial issue, shouldn’t we inquire into what that might have been before we imitate anything from her project whatever? Before we admire it or her? Before we try to rehabilitate anything about it?