10 Facts About Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger is a well known women’s rights activist and was one of the most influential women of all time. She is best known for her actions in support of birth control and helping women learn and understand more about contraceptives.

1. Sanger was a nurse during her career and was very dedicated to the cause of getting inexpensive birth control for all women who wanted access to it. She was a practicing nurse until 1912 when she left the profession to devote her time to helping other women with birth control. She decided to be a nurse because she wanted to help other people, especially women. She was also concerned about the general health of women after the death of her mother from tuberculosis.

2. Sanger was considered by many people to be a radical and published a paper called The Women Rebel. It was a newspaper that advocated birth control for women. People accused the publication of being obscene which lead to Sanger fleeing the country and going to Europe for sanctuary. Several states including New York outlawed the paper because of the radical views that were expressed in it.

3. In 1916, she founded a clinic in Brooklyn which people said was against state law. She was arrested, along with several other people including her sister, and served a 30 day sentence in prison for distributing information about contraceptives. After this event occurred, she took leadership of the fight for free access to birth control for women.

4. Sanger wrote a series of articles for the New York Call called What Every Girl Should Know. These articles were later published together as a book in 1914. Many of her publications were suppressed and accused of being lewd and sexual in nature and it was illegal in many places to distribute this type of information.

5. While she was in exile in Europe and England, she met with British feminists and other radical thinkers of the day and further developed her ideas and promoted her cause. These Europeans influenced her ideas on sexual politics; Havelock Ellis influenced her most.

6. Margaret Sanger helped found the American Birth Control League in 1921 which eventually became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942. Planned Parenthood is a very well know organization today and is present in many different countries all over the world.

7. Margaret achieved a small victory when the state of New York Appellate Court amended the Comstock law which allowed physicians to legally distribute contraceptive information and medications.

8. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, Margaret lectured across Europe and Asia advocating women’s public health, rights and access to birth control. She communicated that birth control was an effective way to prevent the spread of birth defects and other degenerative problems.

9. Margaret Sanger died in 1965 at the age of 86, a few months after the Supreme Court decided on the Griswold v. Connecticut case which legalized contraception for married couples. She was able to see much of her life work culminate with that decision.

10. In 1927, Sanger became world famous when she spoke at the first World Population Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Her support of freer laws for women regarding birth control brought her fame and renown all over the world. She is also considered one of the most influential people of all time and is listed on the TIME 100 list of the 100 most influential people from the last 100 years. It is a significant achievement to be on this list and to receive the recognition that was awarded to Margaret Sanger.

Cite This Page

"10 Facts About Margaret Sanger." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 28 Feb. 2009. Web. 31 Aug. 2015. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/go/1162/margaret-sanger/ >.

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  • BrigidBernadette

    Sanger was a racist whose desire was to exterminate the Negro, the Jew, all lower classes. She spoke for the KKK and met with Hitler.

    In a letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble in December, 19, 1939, Sanger exposited her vision for the “Negro Project,” a freshly launched collaboration between the American Birth Control League and Sanger’s Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau. The letter echoes the eugenic ideologies still visible within the corporate vein of Planned Parenthood today.

    “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

    “It seems to me from my experience…that while the colored Negroes have great respect for white doctors they can get closer to their own members and more or less lay their cards on the table which
    means their ignorance, superstitions and doubts.”

    “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious

  • BrigidBernadette

    Sanger wrote the goal of abortion was to exterminate Blacks: “They are…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ’spawning… human beings who never should have been born.”

    In “Pivot of Civilization,” Sanger penned her thoughts regarding immigrants, the poor, and the
    error of philanthropy. Sanger’s ideology of racial and social hygiene bleeds through her writings on breeding an ideal human race:

    “They are…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ’spawning… human beings who never should have been born.”

    “Organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease…Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks [of people] that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the
    world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant.”

  • BrigidBernadette

    Sanger famously coined the term “birth control” with the intention of eliminating the reproduction of human beings who were considered “less fit.” In her writings from “Morality and Birth Control” and “Birth Control and the New Race,” the Planned Parenthood founder noted that the chief aim of the practice of birth control is to produce a “cleaner race.” Sanger’s vision for birth control was to prevent the birth of individuals whom she believed were unfit for mankind:

    “Knowledge of birth control is essentially moral. Its general, though prudent, practice must lead to a higher individuality and ultimately to a cleaner race.”

    “Birth control is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defective.”

  • BrigidBernadette

    In “The Pivot of Civilization” and “A Plan for Peace,” Sanger describes the eugenic value of eliminating persons – minorities, the sick, and the disabled – through sterilization or segregation:

    “Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism …[Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste.”

    “Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant … We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”

    “The main objects of the Population Congress would be to apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring[;] to give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.”

  • BrigidBernadette

    In her interview with Mike Wallace, available on youtube so you can hear her in her own words: “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world – that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin – that people can – can commit.”

  • BrigidBernadette

    Sanger wrote: “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

    “Plan for Peace” from Birth Control Review (April 1932, pp. 107-108)

    “Article 1. The purpose of the American Baby Code shall be to provide for a better distribution of babies… and to protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.”

    “Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit…”

    “Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.”

    “America Needs a Code for Babies,” 27 Mar 1934

    “Give dysgenic groups [people with “bad genes”] in our population their choice of segregation or [compulsory] sterilization.”

    April 1932 Birth Control Review, pg. 108

    “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”