Planned Parenthood on Thursday will give House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) its Margaret Sanger Award, named for a woman who advocated eugenics and who described some children as “human weeds,” while arguing that to grow a “beautiful garden of children,” you “have got to fight weeds.”
In that same speech from 1925, Sanger explained that parenthood should be legal only under certain conditions: a minimum age for parents of 23 years, a “space out between births,” “economic circumstances adequate,” and “spiritual harmony between parents.”
Furthermore, parenthood would be precluded if there were “subnormal children already in the family,” said Sanger.
Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States, is giving Pelosi the award because of her “leadership, excellence, and outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and rights movement over the course of her career,” said Cecile Richards, president of the organization, which is the largest abortion provider in the United States.
According to its website, Planned Parenthood traces its origins to 1916 when Sanger opened a birth control office in Brooklyn, N.Y. Several years later, 1922, she established the American Birth Control League to address issues such as “world population growth, disarmament, and world famine,” and in 1923, Sanger opened the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in Manhattan to provide contraceptives to women.
The American Birth Control League subsequently merged with the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau and later became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.
In 1925, Sanger expressed her support for limiting human reproduction in a speech at the Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference in New York. (Thomas Malthus was an 18th century British economist who believed in population control, particularly by limiting reproduction in the so-called lower classes of society.)
In the speech, “The Children’s Era,” Sanger first talked about how the 20th century could produce “a beautiful garden of children,” but only if the breeding and rearing of children were viewed with a gardener’s eye.
“You have got to give your seeds a proper soil in which to grow,” she said. “You have got to give them space and the opportunity (if they are to lift their flowers to the sun), to strike their roots deep into that soil. And always — do not forget this — you have got to fight weeds. You cannot have a garden, if you let weeds overrun it. So, if we want to make this world a garden for children, we must first of all learn the lesson of the gardener.”
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