04 Mar, 2018 By Uyirkkural

It is quite uncommon for an average Indian to be familiar with Margaret Sanger. However, if the mainstream media is going to quote her in all their discourses as an idol of women empowerment or a goddess behind the salvation of Indian women enslaved by patriarchy then it’s time to meet the ‘real’ Sanger.

  1. Eugenicist. Margaret Higgins Sanger who is celebrated as a ‘Birth Control activist’ was very vocal about promoting Eugenics. She pioneered ‘The Negro project’ which aimed at the extermination of the African American people. It was systematically done using ‘medical eugenics’ under the guise of empowering the community by providing birth control. In her letter to C.J Gamble dated 12-10-1939 she mentions “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

Dr. Gamble is none other than one of the heir of Proctor & Gamble Company who was a pioneer in developing women sterilization techniques in U.S. He was one among several who shamelessly advocated for eugenic sterilization. Sangers lecture to Ku Klux Klan and her association with famous eugenicists makes this case undeniable.  In fact in her essay Birth control and Racial Betterment she says “Birth Control on the other hand, not only opens the way to the eugenicist, but it preserves his work”.

2. Proponent of Ableism : Sanger called for the sterilization of the ‘unfit’ and even recommended for it to be included into the national policy. In her jargon ‘unfit’ includes mentally retarded, epileptics, people with diseases, disabilities etc.. or simply whomever deemed of possessing undesirable characteristics. These people had only two choice in Sanger’s world – Segregation or sterilization. She specifies this objective in the Birth Control Review (Nov 1921) “Birth control to create a race of thoroughbreds”. “More children from the fit, less from the unfit – this is the chief issue of Birth Control.” ( Intelligent or Unintelligent Birth control, Birth Control Review, May 1919). “No more children should be born when the parents, though healthy themselves, find that their children are physically or mentally defective.” (Sanger, Margaret. (1918) When Should A Woman Avoid Having Children? Birth Control Review, Nov. 1918)

3. Aporophobic  Her propaganda for forced sterilization of the ‘unfits’ also included ‘poverty stricken’. Her book Pivot of Civilization shows her abhorrence for poor. Poor and dwellings of the poor she believed “are veritable breeding grounds of epidemics, disease, delinquency and dependency.” Again in the same book she mentions “everywhere we see poverty and large families going hand in hand. Those least fit to carry on the race are increasing more rapidly.”

4. Support for infanticide:  While some say that Sanger was against abortion and that her advocacy for birth control was indeed aimed at preventing abortion and infanticide it is important to look into the details here. First and foremost Sanger was advocating for Eugenics (race betterment) through contraception. She went as far as asking for policies to be introduced that would govern who can have children and who cannot, who can marry and should never be allowed for marriage and who have the right to have more kids and who should limit their number of children. Second of all Sanger clearly did support abortion under certain circumstances. The same trick followed by Planned Parenthood even to this day.

Her fundamental outlook of children being an obstacle to woman’s sexual freedom combined with the eugenic ideals is deeply disturbing. Her extremism is reflected in her book ‘Women and New Race’ where she mentions “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” (Margaret Sanger, The Wickedness of creating large families) . This idea is the basic of the present culture’s mentality which justifies abortion in case of unexpected pregnancy even if the parents are able to provide for the children. It comes down to the comparison of having a ‘car’ or ‘house’ or comfortable lifestyle over the life of a child in the womb. 

5. Advocate of radical feminism The entire birth control- abortion movement was built upon the false idea of liberation and empowerment of women. Liberation from what? Well, according to Sager it’s liberation from the confines of ‘Motherhood’.² While it is true that women did have poor socio economic status and did not have a say in the matters of family in 1920’s the extremism of Sanger to pitch mothers against children and women against their families under the false banner of liberation did not bring the promised ‘empowerment’. It detoured the oppression towards a much more vulnerable group. It simply became ‘the survival of the fittest’.

6. Founder of Planned Parenthood and co-founder of IPPF : Sanger’s Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood – the largest abortion chain in U.S with international affiliations all around the globe including India. The same organization that was caught selling the body parts of aborted babies in United States. In fact Mumbai, India is the birthplace of International Planned Parenthood Federation³. Margaret Sanger along with Dhanavanthi Rama Rau created the monster IPPF, which is now responsible for the mass murder of millions of children all around the world under the propaganda of population control, poverty and women’s rights.

So why should an average Indian know about Margaret Sanger?

Knowledge of the ‘real’ Margaret Sanger and her philosophy is essential for proper understanding of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights movement in India. The movement that is responsible for the slaughter of 16 million unborn children per year in our country. It is essential to understand the history of how, we Indians, turned brutal to devour the life of our own children. It is essential to decipher legalized abortion movement in our country. It is inevitable that in understand the past we clearly see the present and therefore create a different future. A future where every human person in this Indian soil is revered and treated with dignity unconditionally.

“More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.”  – Margaret Sanger, Birth Control Review, May 1919.


  1. Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization
  2. Margaret Sanger, The Woman Rebel, Volume 1, 1914
  4. Cover photo – Margaret Sangers Paper Project




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