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Sat Mar 31, 2012, 06:52 AM

Margaret Sanger...

I learnt a lot about her and read some of her books back in pre-DU days on a forum with a large population of anti-choicers. I don't know much about early American feminists, but is she considered one of the group of early feminists in the US?

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Margaret Sanger... (Original post)
Violet_Crumble Mar 2012 OP
orpupilofnature57 Mar 2012 #1
PassingFair Mar 2012 #2
iverglas Apr 2012 #6
PassingFair Apr 2012 #8
iverglas Apr 2012 #9
PassingFair Apr 2012 #10
seabeyond Apr 2012 #11
iverglas Apr 2012 #13
Scout Apr 2012 #14
redqueen Apr 2012 #15
iverglas Apr 2012 #16
PassingFair Apr 2012 #17
iverglas Apr 2012 #18
iverglas Apr 2012 #19
Warren DeMontague Apr 2012 #3
redqueen Apr 2012 #4
Warren DeMontague Apr 2012 #5
iverglas Apr 2012 #7
MadrasT Apr 2012 #12

Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 07:17 AM

1. I believe it's Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 02:12 PM

2. Sanger died in 1966

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sanger

She was a true crusader for birth control and choice.

Unfortunately, she was also into eugenics and some
of the "master race" shit in the 30's, so she is often
brought up by anti-choicers as proof of the "evils"
of choice.

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Response to PassingFair (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 07:19 PM

6. please ....

 

This forum ain't the place for all the old falsehoods about Sanger.

She absolutely did NOT have anything to do with "eugenics" as that term came to be used and applied, or with anything having anything to do with any "master race".

She isn't proof of anything the anti-choice brigade might want to say. Lies are told about her by the anti-choice brigade.

The reasons are two-fold, as were her own goals, which they oppose: women who enjoy their own sexuality without concern for right-wing "morality", and women who control their own reproductive destinies.

Martin Luther King himself praised Sanger when he accepted an award in her name from Planned Parenthood:

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are/reverend-martin-luther-king-jr-4728.htm
... There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger's early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist — a nonviolent resister. She was willing to accept scorn and abuse until the truth she saw was revealed to the millions. At the turn of the century she went into the slums and set up a birth control clinic, and for this deed she went to jail because she was violating an unjust law. Yet the years have justified her actions. She launched a movement which is obeying a higher law to preserve human life under humane conditions. Margaret Sanger had to commit what was then called a crime in order to enrich humanity, and today we honor her courage and vision; for without them there would have been no beginning. Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her. Negroes have no mere academic nor ordinary interest in family planning. They have a special and urgent concern. ...



I have just posted a thread about an event in Canadian feminist history that changed the course of Canadian history in general, by the foundation it provided for equality-seeking groups to press their cause. Women won a case againt discriminationin 1929, and 80 years later that case continued to be cited, in the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

As MLK acknowledged in 1966, this other women's battle, the struggle in the US for access to the means to plan their families, paralleled and directly benefited African-Americans' struggle for equality.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 09:01 PM

8. From the same Wiki article you linked below:

Eugenics
An advertisement for a book entitled "Woman and the New Race". At the top is a photo of a woman, seated affectionately with her two sons.
Sanger's 1920 book endorsed eugenics.

As part of her efforts to promote birth control, Sanger found common cause with proponents of eugenics, believing that they both sought to "assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit." Sanger was a proponent of negative eugenics, which aims to improve human hereditary traits through social intervention by reducing reproduction by those considered unfit. Sanger's eugenic policies included an exclusionary immigration policy, free access to birth control methods and full family planning autonomy for the able-minded, and compulsory segregation or sterilization for the profoundly retarded. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the "undeniably feeble-minded" from procreating. Although Sanger supported negative eugenics, she asserted that eugenics alone was not sufficient, and that birth control was essential to achieve her goals.

In contrast with eugenicists who advocated euthanasia for the unfit, Sanger wrote, "we believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent breeding." Similarly, Sanger denounced the aggressive and lethal Nazi eugenics program. In addition, Sanger believed the responsibility for birth control should remain in the hands of able-minded individual parents rather than the state, and that self-determining motherhood was the only unshakable foundation for racial betterment.

Complementing her eugenics policies, Sanger also supported restrictive immigration policies. In "A Plan for Peace", a 1932 essay, she proposed a congressional department to address population problems. She also recommended that immigration exclude those "whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race," and that sterilization and segregation be applied to those with incurable, hereditary disabilities.


I didn't say she was a Nazi, I said she was involved in the "eugenics" politics of the time.

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Response to PassingFair (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 11:41 PM

9. wiki is a handy reference for many things

 

That doesn't make it gospel for all things, even on a single subject.

Your post about Sanger was negative, and wholly improperly vague and unsourced:

Unfortunately, she was also into eugenics and some
of the "master race" shit in the 30's

I would suggest that if you want to defend that claim, you be the one to provide citations (primary sources) to substantiate it.

This passage from the wiki article:

Although Sanger supported negative eugenics, she asserted that eugenics alone was not sufficient, and that birth control was essential to achieve her goals.

is simply not meaningful. What goals? The goal of women having autonomy?

I couldn't make head nor tails of this bit of what you quoted from the wiki:

In contrast with eugenicists who advocated euthanasia for the unfit, Sanger wrote, "we believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent breeding."

until I went to look at the original -- and saw that the DU system had eliminated the text in square brackets in the original, which I include below, replacing the square bracket with pointy ones (and boldfacing for emphasis):

In contrast with eugenicists who advocated euthanasia for the unfit, Sanger wrote, "we <do not> believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent breeding." Similarly, Sanger denounced the aggressive and lethal Nazi eugenics program. In addition, Sanger believed the responsibility for birth control should remain in the hands of able-minded individual parents rather than the state, and that self-determining motherhood was the only unshakable foundation for racial betterment.

I assume that the sentence originally read something like "nor do we believe ...". This is rather important; the way the text appears in your post, it has Sanger believing in killing "defective progeny".

Sanger's interest in eugenics predated the Nazi era by some considerable time, and she had dissociated herself from those who pursued the issue well before Hitler took up his own version. The concept at the time she wrote about it had no more to do with Nazi "eugenics" than prenatal testing for congenital disorders today does. "Dysgenic breeding" is precisely what genetic screening of potential parents, for instance, is meant to avoid -- and it is individuals practising it for themselves, just as Sanger dreamed of happening.

She lived to 1966. Her thoughts about improving the quality of life for individuals and communities circa 1920 are hardly what she or her life's work should be judged by.

I don't think anyone today has the least clue what it was like 100 years ago to live with severe epilipsy, or any number of genetic disorders, or other conditions believed to be inherited.

And I am quite sure that you know that when she used concepts like "race" and "racial betterment", she was referring to the HUMAN race, not to the constructs of race that racists operate by.

Sanger was among the MOST enlightened of her age -- she did, as that passage states, seek to empower individuals to control their own reproduction. Most western governments, on the other hand, applied policies of involuntary sterilization to various population groups, in particular individuals with intellectual disabilities. Perhaps you are familiar with the famous decision of the great and good Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Buck v. Bell, under a forced sterilization statute similar to those in many US states, some of which have only been repealed in very recent years.

So again, please provide the substantiation for your statement:

... she was involved in the "eugenics" politics of the time.

The eugenics policies of the time were applied by governments all over the world, and Sanger's influence on those governments and their policies was pretty much nil.

She was indeed a person of her times, largely in that she did not have access to the science we have access to today, to understand some of the problems she was seeking to solve, let alone access to the solutions available to us today in the form of both treatments and social supports, for example.

To pick on Margaret Sanger, of all the people available to target for anti-human social policies advocated and applied 70 or 80 years ago, always just strikes me as rather bizarre.



edit

I should probably apologize or something for my vehemence on this issue. As Violet Crumble intimated, some of us have long experience with the vilifying of Sanger. It makes me absolutely crazy to see feminists saying Well, she did good work on that birth control stuff, but yeah, she had a bunch of nasty ideas and so we'll just add a big "but" to everything that's said about her. It does no one any good. Letting the misogynist right wing get away with lies does no one any good. Pandering to the misogynist right wing out of ignorance does no one any good.

The misogynist right wing hated and hates Sanger because she rejected every link in the patriarchal chain around women's necks. She stood for everything we stand for: women free to express their own sexuality as they choose, and control their reproductive functions as they choose. She issued the most fundamental challenge to patriarchy and women in the US especially owe her a great debt. She should be held up with pride as a woman who helped to change her times (while still being a woman of her times, as are we all), not grudgingly acknowledged for some little good she did.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #9)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 06:35 AM

10. It wasn't meant to be negative.

I, too, hate that it comes up every time Sanger is mentioned.
But it DOES come up. Maddeningly so.

I felt it was OK to express that in here.



You don't need to apologize, I get that it's maddening.



"She was indeed a person of her times, largely in that she did not have access to the science we have access to today, to understand some of the problems she was seeking to solve, let alone access to the solutions available to us today in the form of both treatments and social supports, for example.

To pick on Margaret Sanger, of all the people available to target for anti-human social policies advocated and applied 70 or 80 years ago, always just strikes me as rather bizarre."


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Response to iverglas (Reply #9)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 08:37 AM

11. for me, it is one of those, it is what it is. whatever that may be, lol

On blacks, immigrants and indigents:
"...human weeds,' 'reckless breeders,' 'spawning... human beings who never should have been born." Margaret Sanger, Pivot of Civilization, referring to immigrants and poor people

On sterilization & racial purification:
Sanger believed that, for the purpose of racial "purification," couples should be rewarded who chose sterilization. Birth Control in America, The Career of Margaret Sanger, by David Kennedy, p. 117, quoting a 1923 Sanger speech.

On the right of married couples to bear children:
Couples should be required to submit applications to have a child, she wrote in her "Plan for Peace." Birth Control Review, April 1932

On the extermination of blacks:
"We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population," she said, "if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." Woman's Body, Woman's Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon

http://www.dianedew.com/sanger.htm


It is no secret that Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist, but that statement needs to be put into historical context. The discussion of historical context is not meant to be an excuse or an apology for Margaret Sanger’s beliefs. But it is important to judge Sanger’s beliefs according to the scientific culture of her time. Eugenics was a theory about improving hereditary qualities by socially controlling human reproduction. Eugenicists were hoping to improve the human race by preventing people with genetic defects from reproducing, and limiting birth control and abortion for women who were considered “fit” or healthy. This concept got interpreted as a justification for racism, and eugenics was incorporated into the Nazi regime.

We do not want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.


Margaret Sanger was aware of concerns that birth control would pose a threat to the African American community. Consequently, she was determined to alleviate these concerns by involving the African American community in the formation of birth control clinics in the South. The quote above comes from a letter that Sanger wrote to Dr. Clarence J. Gamble, one of the financial backers of the birth control movement. In the letter, Sanger argued that African American doctors needed to be employed at birth control clinics. Sanger felt that it was important to employ black doctors and social workers in order for patients to feel that the clinics represented their community. When the Birth Control Federation of America became Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942, Sanger established the Division of Negro Service to oversee outreach to the African American community nationally. Sanger’s work was endorsed by African American leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and W.E.B. DuBois.

Many of our feminist sheroes were products of their time. Take Susan B. Anthony for example. Anthony started out in the abolition movement. She was inspired to take up the cause of women’s suffrage as a result of her experience within the abolition movement. The male leaders of the time would not let women speak at abolition meetings, and the women were segregated in the meetings. Anthony began agitating for women’s suffrage because she realized that women would not be able to fully participate in public life without first gaining the right to vote. During the Civil War, suffragists were asked to put their movement on hold. It was, they were told, “the Negroes’ hour.” Susan B. Anthony was happy to oblige. But when male abolition leaders failed to pick up the cause of women’s suffrage at the end of the war, Anthony felt betrayed. Anthony became single-minded in her later years, which is completely understandable when you consider that she had been trudging the suffrage road alone for several decades. Near the end of her life, Anthony began to make compromises with white Southern suffragists. She was willing to accept female suffrage that was limited by race if it meant that at least some women would gain the right to vote.

Grappling with Margaret Sanger’s views on race is important for feminists today, as is the acknowledgment that Susan B. Anthony embraced racist ideas near the end of her life. What does it mean for the women’s movement today that we are still overcoming the legacy of racism within this country? How can the feminist movement expand to include issues of race, class, nationality, sexual orientation, ablism, and more? For me, feminism simply means equality for everyone. Consequently, feminism incorporates so much more than simple gender parity.

http://feministsforchoice.com/was-margaret-sanger-a-racist.htm

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #11)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 11:53 AM

13. we really need to stop this

 

Okay, hold on, I see what that is. But it absolutely is not clear from the way it's presented.

The first set of little snippets are the FALSE representations of what Sanger wrote and said. Disconnected words, taken out of context, falsely described (e.g. there isn't even any reference to "blacks" in the first mishmash of cuttings). And aha, you have found that blurb that the moron at that long ago anti-choice forum misread so badly as

Founder of Planned Parenthood, <Margaret Sanger was> the largest abortion provider in the world.

Snork.


The authors of the second set of excerpts still haven't got it right, though. I'm not quite sure what they're saying about that line about not wanting "the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population" -- the plain and simple fact is that she didn't want that word to get out because it was FALSE -- and this statement is pretty problematic:

Eugenicists were hoping to improve the human race by preventing people with genetic defects from reproducing, and limiting birth control and abortion for women who were considered “fit” or healthy.

Sanger herself had always REJECTED the notion that the "fit" should breed more (while the "unfit" bred less), i.e. she rejected "positive" eugenics and favoured "negative".

Grappling with Margaret Sanger’s views on race is important for feminists today

How is grappling with straw ever more than a waste of time, let alone important? What are these "views on race"? The notion that African-American women should have access to contraception?

In 1919, she wrote:

Eugenists imply or insist that a woman's first duty is to the state; we contend that her duty to herself is her first duty to the state. We maintain that a woman possessing an adequate knowledge of her reproductive functions is the best judge of the time and conditions under which her child should be brought into the world. We further maintain that it is her right, regardless of all other considerations, to determine whether she shall bear children or not, and how many children she shall bear if she chooses to become a mother.

In fact, some early US woman suffragists like Anthony did buy into some racist policies. Racism is also alleged against Emily Murphy, one of Canada's Famous Five (as I've meant to add to my thread on that case):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Murphy#Drugs_and_race

Sanger, on the other hand, simply does not suffer that historical disability as unequivocally. Sanger opposed immigration policies based on stereotyping early on. Murphy had it in for Chinese immigration to Canada -- her failure actually lying in her blindness to all the complex mechanisms of disadvantage and exploitation that were the real problems. Few social reformers of the day were raging lefties, politically; they didn't have a class analysis (and of course were generally privileged themselves). Hardly anybody actually was, or did.


As far as feminism including or not including everyone, once again, why are we bashing feminists from a century ago, and why should feminists today have to answer for them? Why not bash the Black Panthers for excluding women's rights and interests in the 1960s, and hold equality-seeking African-Americans accountable for them today? Why not bash gay men from a little later even, because they did not join forces with feminists and reject male privilege, and hold the whole LGBT community accountable for them today? Why not bash the Taliban for the abuses committed against women right up to this day, and hold all Muslims everywhere accountable for them? Does anyone actually bash slavery abolitionists in the US for not including votes for women in their agenda? Hell, not many even bash those founders and framers who not only didn't give African-Americans and women the vote, they owned and sexually exploited slaves. Oops, I see I'm not even being original here. In its page on Sanger, PP says the same thing about those founders and framers.

In Canada, women fought in the Persons Case and won a victory that has benefited every disadvantaged, stereotyped, hated minority in Canada in the near-century since. There can be no doubt that if Emily Murphy were living today, she would be overjoyed with the society that has grown up out of equality-seeking actions like hers. She would be a woman of our times. She wasn't. She was a woman of her times, with all the disabilities that status carried.

And for fuck's sake, Margaret Sanger was writing about eugenics IN 1920. She lived nearly another half-century after that. She was getting close to 90 when she died: she was born in 1879. I wonder what most of us would have been up to if we'd been born in 1879.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 12:49 PM

14. thank you

i get so fucking sick of the Sanger bashing...

i'm going to bookmark this thread for future reference.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 12:58 PM

15. Love this post.

Hell, Sanger was anti abortion, at least at first at first, but of course that doesn't matter to those who treat her so unfairly, for such obvious reasons.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #15)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 10:34 AM

16. exactly!

 

Check out that Feminists for Life place for all the anti-abortion quotes from early US feminists. Of course they were anti-abortion -- abortion was a threat to women's lives, for starters! And it was seen by them, as the anti-choice "feminists" allege it is today, as a social failure, since all women would want all pregnancies if only they had the resources to feed, clothe and house all the babies.

On social conditions in the US when Margaret Sanger was coming of age, this is a good short introduction:
The Conscience of Place: Where the Other Half Lived

Since abortion was generally reviled, arguing that access to contraception, and empowerment of women generally, would reduce abortion was (and still is) a popular tactic. And unfortunately, that did and does leave individual women as the casualties sometimes. Emma Goldman did it too (although again, the dangers of abortion at the time were reason enough not to agree to perform them):

http://en.muvs.org/topic/emma-goldman-1869-1940-en/print/

In 1916 her campaigning for contraception resulted in Goldman’s conviction for violation of the Comstock law. The US politician Anthony Comstock (1844 – 1915) was a fervent stickler for Victorian morals and sniffed out offences everywhere; all information about birth control was therefore deemed illegal, obscene, prurient and lascivious. The law that bore his name was not taken off the statute books until 1936.

From her own experience as midwife and nurse, the feminist Goldman saw for herself the dubious methods women were using to prevent the birth of further children, whom they couldn’t afford to feed (either). Goldman was asked to perform abortions but refused because she saw that it would do nothing to tackle the social problem. She therefore fought for birth control as a positive alternative.

Emma Goldman disseminated her opinions in a plethora of presentations and a series of articles and books. From 1906 to 1916 she published the newspaper 'Mother Earth', which she filled with anarchic-feminist content. She went to prison three times for her campaigns. She died in 1940, in Toronto, Canada.

It's interesting that Goldman, whose goals and efforts were similar to Sanger's when it came to contraception, has received so much less attention. I would think that's because she was in fact overtly political and openly challenged the political order from a left/anarchist position, which Sanger didn't do as consistently.

Sanger did write under the anarchist banner in her early life though -- "No gods, no masters":

http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=420018.xml

The main cause of the social misery endured by the working women to-day lies not so much in the value of wages received as in the way they have to be earned. It is not alone the work done, but the bullying, the hustling and the submission which the wage system entails, that blights the life of the worker and creates a just hatred of the master class. And there can be no hope for the woman worker until she realizes the degradation of "work" and the injustice of a system which forces her, in order to obtain the barest necessities of life, to be snubbed and insulted and driven by a master.

... No one doubts that the ordinary working woman can get on with the capitalist system as it is--at a price. The demand of the class-conscious worker, however, is not strength enough to get along with it, but to destroy it. Can woman hate enough to do this and yet love her class enough to think it worth emancipating? Can she look upon the colossal good, the hardihood and the endurance of the wage slaves without feeling sympathy? Can she look upon the colossal evil of wage slavery without once feeling despair? Can she be a rebel woman? Can she be a fanatic? Is she prepared to sacrifice the whole race for the sake of itself?

The masters argue that because we cannot have equality in a silk factory we cannot have it anywhere. Because we cannot have good-fellowship in business we cannot have it at all. They argue that society cannot do without "labor", meaning servitude -- without the bossing and the firing and the too old at forty and all the rest of their filth. If society cannot do without masters and wage slaves, so much the worse for society. For we are prepared to sacrifice our machines, our wheels and tunnels and wires and systems and slave lives for one hour of happiness.

Do not be led astray by the towering materialism which dominates the mind of the wage earners to-day which rests upon the false assumption that because a few generations go on doing the same thing over and over again, we all live in a system of clockwork evolution. Do not let fear prevent you from leading a free life. Live up to your own ideal and to the standard inscribed on the banner of the WOMAN REBEL--No Gods, No Masters.

Now there's some intersectionality: feminism and class consciousness.

The anti-choice right wing hates her for her libertinism. We should probably celebrate her more for it.

Unfortunately, she does seem to have largely abandoned that path in favour of the "scientific" social reformism of the day.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #16)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:09 PM

17. Thank you for this, Iverglas!

Everywhere I look I see nasty quotes, I've
even heard some of these excerpts on radio
talk shows.


I'm going to have to actually READ HER BOOKS now.

A thousand thanks!

(And I'm not sorry that I brought the subject up,
since I don't mind being schooled)


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Response to PassingFair (Reply #17)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:25 PM

18. we must thank VC

 

Who I know did take a serious interest in Sanger back in the old days -- but who posted here and ran! Tsk.

I hope she'll come back and add her thoughts, because I think she's the only one of us who has read those books, so far.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #18)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:06 PM

19. Violet reports that she has the flu

 

So we will have to wait a while for her to share her wisdom about Sanger.

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Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 07:51 PM

3. People opposed to choice and freedom love to drag her name through the mud

personally, I think she took many brave, forward thinking stances and like many important players, she moved the ball forward considerably. We all owe her a great debt IMHO.

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Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 11:43 AM

4. No, not really.

She was a staunch defender of free speech and did a lot of important work in enabling women to escape the horrors of back alley abortions by championing birth control, but since that was her main focus as opposed to more of a mix of feminist issues, she is not classed as such.

It's interesting to note the double standard she's subjected to. Ford was a supporter of Hitler and way into eugenics, but you don't see him getting the kind of treatment Sanger gets for her views. Ah the joys of being a woman.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 04:05 PM

5. Ugh. Ford was a HORRIBLE anti-semite.

And Edison was a complete thug. Half the reason Hollywood is in Southern California was so filmmakers could get away from his East Coast goon squads.

Many things we don't learn in history class.

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Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 08:04 PM

7. remember that weird nun and her leaflet?

 

Well the book can be had at Amazon now, and I still haven't figured out the title. Bad translation, maybe?

Margaret Sanger: Father of modern society

I'll always remember the moron on the forum who misread the first statement in the thing as saying that Margaret Sanger had performed more abortions than anyone else on earth. Ah, how rumours begin ...


The Demonization of Margaret Sanger
The Mosher piece is typical of many anti-Sanger letters-to-the-editor written by representatives of anti-choice groups that have appeared over the past few years whenever Sanger is mentioned in the context of an article on Planned Parenthood or contraception. In fact, the Mosher piece and many others like it borrow freely from anti-Sanger materials that have been in circulation for at least twenty years, including an offensive little pamphlet entitled Margaret Sanger: Father of Modern Society written by Elasah Drogin. The pamphlet, written in 1979, "exposes" Sanger as a eugenicist, racist and war-monger, but is most intent on proving her a sexual maniac with insatiable desires. It displays a portrait of Sanger on its cover, her head rising up above a modern metropolis, war planes swirling above her and a Nazi prison camp in the foreground. While this is one of the more absurd examples of anti-Sanger material in circulation, the Drogin pamphlet and most other attacks from anti-choice groups rely on the same small group of Sanger documents over and over again, including letters she wrote in the late 1930s to birth control movement contributors and black leaders expressing her concern that blacks living in the South would view her "Negro Project" as an attempt to limit their race. ...


Sanger absolutely was an early USAmerican feminist, just not one that people usually think of in that respect, and a whole lot more radical than some of those others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sanger
n 1914, Sanger launched The Woman Rebel, an eight-page monthly newsletter which promoted contraception using the slogan "No Gods, No Masters." Sanger, collaborating with anarchist friends, coined the term birth control as a more candid alternative to euphemisms such as family limitation and proclaimed that each woman should be "the absolute mistress of her own body." In these early years of Sanger's activism, she viewed birth control as a free speech issue, and when she started publishing The Woman Rebel, one of her goals was to provoke a legal challenge to the federal anti-obscenity laws which banned dissemination of information about contraception. Sanger also wanted to publish a book that directly described contraceptive options (in contrast to the articles in The Woman Rebel which only indirectly discussed contraception), so she gathered information, much of it from Europe, and published the pamphlet Family Limitation, in direct violation of the Comstock laws. Her goal was fulfilled when she was indicted in August 1914, but the prosecutors focused their attention on The Woman Rebel articles Sanger had written on assassination and marriage, rather than contraception. Afraid that she might be sent to prison without an opportunity to argue for birth control in court, she fled to England under the alias "Bertha Watson" to avoid arrest. While she was in Europe, Sanger's husband distributed a copy of Family Limitation to an undercover postal worker, resulting in a 30 day jail sentence. During her absence, a groundswell of support grew in the United States, and Margaret returned to the United States in October 1915. Noted attorney Clarence Darrow offered to defend Sanger free of charge, but, bowing to public pressure, the government dropped the charges in early 1916.


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Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 09:10 AM

12. It seems like

Last edited Tue Apr 10, 2012, 01:03 PM - Edit history (1)

Maybe she did some great things, and she was also a product of her time.

I am not one to vilify someone whole cloth because they held some radical opinions that seem troubling a century later.

It has always seemed wrong to me to try to discard/discredit *everything* a person says or does just because we don't agree with every last one of their positions.

This is an interesting thread and I learned a lot. Thanks.

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