Here’s a not-too-recent favorite from the archive of a Myspace blog I’ve been running for the last couple of years. Enjoy.
Just to make sure we have an understanding, I’d like to start this one off by clarifying a couple of points. I generally do not enjoy having to present my potential readers with information that many of them already possess. Centering a blog around said knowledge makes me feel like less of a peer and more like a pretentious dickhole who likes to rattle his own cage.
Having said that, I very much intend to compromise my own judgment today by focusing on a well-known and controversial figure – Ms. Margaret Sanger, Countess of Contraceptive. I’ve seen some pretty nasty things being said about dear old Margie during my recent escapades here in the People’s Republic of Myspace, so now I’m taking it upon myself to clear things up a bit.
Note: If you are one of those people who opted to sleep or pick at your ass during American History class, now would be a good time to perk up and put your ears on.
Don’t stare too long into her fiery and paralyzing gaze, ladies and gentlemen, as you have had the most perilous misfortune to come face to face with the harbinger of genocide
. Although most “official” sources would have you believe that this seemingly fragile little woman lived from September 14, 1879 until September 6, 1966, the horrible truth is that no one really knows
Some of the earliest indicators of her demonic presence do indeed trace back to the mid-1800’s. However, recent studies indicate that she could have been stalking her way through rural American towns for a period of about 240 years. Only under the cover of darkness could she travel from place to place, sleeping in farmers’ fields and woodland caves during the day and rising at dusk to steal the breath of young soon-to-be mothers
while feasting heartily upon the flesh of newborn babies
(That’s what they’d like you to believe, anyway.)
In reality, Margaret Sanger was an important social and political figure who is most notably credited with the widespread acceptance of conventional contraceptive methods in the United States. She was an outspoken advocate of free speech, and in 1916 she established the first family planning and birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. Although the facility was raided by police only nine days after opening, two years later this controversial first step inspired a New York Court of Appeals decision that allowed doctors to legally prescribe contraceptives.
Concerning her exploits in the arena of free speech, Sanger published the first of what would become a series of books in 1916 which dealt with such taboo topics as menstruation and the sexuality of adolescents. She then went on to publish monthly periodicals with the intent of spreading information about general health issues and new methods of birth control to women who did not or could not have access to such material.
In 1921 Margaret Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which we now know as Planned Parenthood. The creation of this organization would prove to be the first step into what would become a lifelong career for her. By forming the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control she helped bring about the legalization of birth control under medical supervision in several states. She traveled consistently and lectured about the importance of safe and accessible contraceptive methods to audiences both stateside and abroad. She received millions of letters from concerned women who wanted to learn more about contraceptives and dedicated her entire life to seeing real change come about in the United States on this issue.
All of this, and today we usually only see her name recklessly thrown about by zealous pro-lifers who want nothing more to characterize her as a racist and a proponent of genocide. In light of this I think there are a few facts about dear old Margaret that deserve consideration.
In “A Plan For Peace” (1920), Sanger wrote, “While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.”
Roger Streitmatter has claimed that Sanger’s opposition to abortion stemmed primarily from a concern for the dangers to the mother rather than moral issues. Nonetheless, in her 1938 autobiography, Sanger notes that her 1916 opposition to abortion was based on the taking of life.
“To each group we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way—no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun.”
In a 1916 edition of Family Limitation, Sanger advised women douche with boric acid and to take quinine to prevent implantation. She wrote further, “No one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable but they will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception. This is the only cure for abortions.”
Sanger remains a controversial figure. While she is widely credited as a leader of the modern birth control movement, and remains an iconic figure for the American reproductive rights movements, pro-life groups condemn Sanger’s views, attributing her efforts to promote birth control to a desire to “purify” the human race through eugenics, and even to eliminate minority races by placing birth control clinics in minority neighborhoods. Despite allegations of racism, Sanger’s work with minorities earned the respect of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.
In their biographical article about Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood notes:
In 1930, Sanger opened a family planning clinic in Harlem that sought to enlist support for contraceptive use and to bring the benefits of family planning to women who were denied access to their city’s health and social services. Staffed by a black physician and black social worker, the clinic was endorsed by The Amsterdam News, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Urban League, and the black community’s elder statesman, W.E.B DuBois.
As much as I’d love to conclude this message with some sort of fantastically elaborate expletive aimed in the general direction of the people who would see the positive aspects of this woman’s legacy forgotten, I’m just a little too disappointed to even bother. It really is a shame to see how easily people who claim to believe in infinite love can be brought to hate with such vehemence.
Expect new stuff from me in the works sometime in the next couple of days. Thanks to Eric and Cara for contributing to the site over the last couple of days. You...complete me.