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Eugenics, Links to Planned Parenthood

Ethical or Not?



Eugenics Then --- Historical Look

Planned Parenthood --- The Founder's Agenda

Eugenics Now --- The Return of Eugenics





This paper deals with Eugenics, Planned Parenthood, and Margaret Sanger, as well as various issues concerning other social concerns. My attempt in writing this paper was to give some historical background concerning eugenics and to show how perversions of eugenics and thought led nations to allow programs that may be unethical. I leave that decision up to the reader. I must admit I tried to be as objective as possible and show both sides of these issues with out allowing my own views and opinions to cloud the issue of ethics, but it was very difficult considering some of the attitudes on both sides. My hope is that this paper will bring to light the misconceptions that are often associated with the term eugenics and to show Planned Parenthood for the racist monster that it is. Sorry, I told you it was difficult being objective. However, in my own defense I think that it is a far greater sin to remain silent when injustices are occurring on such a grand scale.

This paper I am sure will have some arguments that are not completely logical and perhaps a little ridiculous, but bare in mind that some of these arguments are put forth not by myself but by some very well educated people. The part that bothers me is that in my opinion my arguments may actually hold more water than some more educated people. Being a first philosopher I am only now learning how formal logical argument is to take place so I ask your indulgence if some seem a bit off.

The goal of this paper is to allow you the reader to make up your mind concerning the ethics of eugenics and planned parenthood with the information provided. I must add however, that I hope that you will see that you see your way clear to adopting my opinion on this matter which will be covered in the conclusion. Happy reading!

Eugenics Then - Historical Look

Eugenics is the study of heredity improvement by genetic control. What do we mean by genetic control? Why would we want to control heredity? Where did it come from? How does it affect me now? These are but a few of the questions that came to mind as I wrote this paper. Through these pages hopefully the answers to these questions will be apparent. The term eugenics comes from the Greek ╬mg╬nhV meaning well born. Early in the twentieth century science dealt with the influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race. More particularly science dealt with those qualities that would develop the race to have a greater advantage, which generally meant to be better at dissemination of knowledge and encouraging action in perpetuating a higher racial standard.

The "science" of eugenics has said to been introduced by Sir Francis Galton circa. 1883. Galton did a great deal to further the study of eugenics, not only by his writing of such books as Natural Inheritance (1889), Human Faculty (1883), and Hereditary Genius (1892), but he also established research fellowships and scholarships in eugenics at the University of London. Galton's aim appeared to be to allow the "upper class" to contribute more than their proportion to the next generation scientific racism", which eugenics used improperly appears to be. These ideas however were not new on the scene. The beginning of the nineteenth century had its own kind of "an essay from Professor Thomas Malthus: "instead of recommending cleanliness the poor, we should encourage contrary habits… we should… crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague…. But above all, we should reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases; and those benevolent, but mistaken men, who have thought they were doing a service to mankind by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders. If by these and similar means the annual mortality were increased from 1 in 36 or 40, to 1 in 18 or 20, we might possibly every one of us marry at the age of puberty, and yet few be absolutely starved." This statement rings in my ears as similar to Scrooge's statement in Dickens, A Christmas Carol, where Scrooge says "are there no jails, are there no work houses … we should let them die and decrease the surplus population." The idea of eugenics shows up even early than Malthus in writings of Plato. Plato advocated death for those who feeble, diseased, or other deemed inferior. Plato even spoke of "superior men and women having sexual relations specifically for the production of offspring." So, it should be apparent that the ideas put forth by Galton were not new. In fact, over the centuries humans have desired to improve their genetic dispositions. Historically, eugenics have been thought of 'positively' and 'negatively.' Positive eugenics usually took the form of encouraging reproduction of mentally or physically superior individuals. Negative eugenics or at least what was thought of eugenics involved attempts at preventing or discouraging the reproduction of among 'unfit' individuals. 'Unfit' individuals were always determined by the society in which they lived. Those decisions were generally made by the more affluent and more educated in those societies. The more affluent and educated felt that they were the more physical and morally superior and concocted tests that would determine physical and mental superiority. An example of this is the immigration practices of late 19th and early 20th centuries in America. The immigration services adopted the Binet intelligence test in 1912. According to the scores, more than 80 % Jewish, Italian, Hungarian, Russian, Polish, and other non-Nordic peoples tested were 'feeble minded defectives.' These 'scientific' findings led the 'highly educated scientific racists and barely literate gut-racists' to unity and try to end all non-Nordic immigration to this country. The United States immigration service from the French professor Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon adopted the Binet scale. Obviously, what was neglected in these testings was the fact that the people being tested had journeyed great distances on crowed vessels and in most cases in less than ideal traveling conditions. These people were in a foreign land were they did not speak the language or know the customs of the country of which they came. These testing biases in and of themselves should have been seen as a 'red-flag', however, these were over looked. Consequently, over the years the scientific communities through their so-called 'scientific' findings have aided in the destruction of numerous human lives. At the turn of the century, many of the immigrants coming to this country believing it to be a land of opportunity found racism and bigotry rampant. These types of tests and attitudes among peoples led to a variety of human atrocities ranging from the Holocausts perpetuated by Nazi Germany, to the killing fields in Cambodia, to the events which to some people have called the Second Holocaust of the 20th century, which is abortion. In the next section, you will read of several figures that contributed to these events.

Planned Parenthood - The Founder's Agenda

Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood. First, a little background on Margaret Sanger. Sanger seemed to be from the beginning a fighter. She was born one of eleven children and whom her father raised at the beginning after her mother pasted away bearing the last child. An example of her being a fighter is when as a student, a teacher bullied her and Sanger refused to continue school and began to educate herself. After nursing school, she married William Sanger, an architect, and bore three children. After her first child, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and a family doctor advised her to leave her husband, home, and her child, or she would probably die. She made her choice and did not follow her doctor's advice and returned home and eventually having two more children. Sanger began to be involved in social concerns of her times. Many people, at the early 20th century, had not heard of her. Yet, in many ways she has been one most of the most influential Americans of this century. Sanger has been credited with inventing the phrase 'birth control.' She was married a number of time and one of her husbands, Havelock Ellis, with the coining of the phrase 'birth control' laid the foundation for today's promiscuous and disposable lifestyle. She once made the statement, "The marriage bed is the most degenerating influence in the social order." Her lifestyle advocated the values that she held. In the founding of what is now called Planned Parenthood had some very strong and heinous ideas. She has been called a complete racist, not being just anti-black. She was anti-human in that she believed in eliminating all unfit members of society, so that a "superior race" might evolve. These two slogans summarized her philosophy: "more children from the fit, less from the unfit; that is the chief aim of birth control." The second was, "birth control, to create a race of thoroughbreds." Dr. Harry Hamilton Laughlin assisted both Hitler and Sanger, Sanger directly as an assistant on various projects, and Hitler indirectly in that, Hitler adopted the sterilization laws written by Laughlin. Laughlin was a supervisor of the Eugenics Record Office in Cold Spring Harbor, New York who convinced eight of the nine Supreme Court justices that bad heredity had created "a malignant sub-population," categorized in his "scientific analysis" as "the shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of anti-social whites of the South," who sheer existence gravely imperiled the biological integrity of the entire American human gene pool. This type of inflammatory language was used to convince others to pass laws to maintain the integrity of the human gene pool. Dr. Laughlin, and I use the term doctor loosely, actually convinced people that someone failed to inherit wealth or did not achieve high I.Q. test scores that America had a "constitutional responsibility" to subject that person to compulsory "eugenic" surgical sterilization - on the eugenic grounds of "pauperism" in (poverty begets poverty) and illiteracy on the parent's part leads to illiterate children and so on until the end of time. Again, it reminds me of ancient Greek polis which thought if you were a slave, a laborer, rich, or whatever it is you are you were that and could be nothing else and your children would never achieve more than you. Sanger wrote many articles, books, speeches in which she attempted, quite successfully, to influence American social and political ideas. Sanger called the sterilization program put forth by Laughlin "polite genocide." But her agenda was to eliminate the "unfit" amongst human kind. Sanger worked diligently to achieve her means. The fighter in her fought and fought hard to push her agenda on a relatively unsuspecting population. Margaret Sanger worked very closely with Clarence Gamble, who was the founder of the Pathfinders Fund. In a personal letter to Gamble, dated October 19, 1939, Sanger describes her plan to reduce the Black population of the United States. She recommended that, "three or four colored ministers, preferably with social services backgrounds and with engaging personalities" should be hired to spread birth control in the Southern states. She continued the most successful educational approach to the Negro is through religious appeal. We do not want the 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 occurs to any of their more rebellious members. She organized this and established a committee to hand pick the ministers and supervise them. Not to again believe that Sanger was just anti-Black and to realize that she was a total racist, Sanger came up with the American Baby Code. Because of its significance, I am including it in its entirety. This code outlines Planned Parenthood plan to rid the world of "inferior" human groups:

The American Baby Code

Article 1. The purpose of the American Baby Code shall be to provide for a better distribution of babies. To assist couples who wish to prevent overproduction of offspring and thus to reduce the burden of charity and taxation for public relief and to protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.

Article 2. Birth control clinics shall be permitted to function as services of government health departments or under the support of charity, or as non-profit, self-sustaining agencies subject to inspection and control by public authorities.

Article 3. A marriage license shall in itself give husband and wife only the right to a common household and not the right to parenthood.

Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit for parenthood.

Article 5. Permits for parenthood shall be issued by government authorities to married couples upon application, providing the parents are financially able to support the expected child, have the qualifications needed for proper rearing of the child, have no transmissible diseases, and on the woman's part no indication that maternity is likely to result in death or permanent injury to health.

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

Article 7. Every county shall be assisted administratively by the states in the effort to maintain a direct ratio between county birth rate and its index of child welfare. When the county records show an unfavorable variation from this ratio the county shall be taxed by the State…. The revenues thus obtained shall be expended by the State within the given county in giving financial support to birth control…..

Article 8. Feeble-minded persons, habitual congenital criminals, those afflicted with inheritable diseases, and others found biologically unfit should be sterilized or in cases of doubt should be isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their afflictions by breeding.

C.S. Lewis speaks about the "abolition of man", he was not referring to the obliteration of the human race by nuclear war or some other catastrophe. He meant, rather, the technological redesign of human nature in such a way that "human nature" would be lost. Thankfully, we as a nation have not adopted all of these ideas but there are countries such as China where you must have the governments permission to have a child, especially if that child is a girl.

Hitler looked as Sanger did to develop a race of thoroughbreds, the "master race" and used what was thought to be both the "positive" and "negative" eugenics during a time prior to and during World War II. Hitler looked as "positive " eugenics as most people did at the time as a means of breeding good human stock in order to improve the race by increasing the number of physically and mentally fit. This just boggles my mind, how someone could believe that this was possible, yet it took place. Hitler also used what was deemed as "negative" eugenics to prevent the birth of the unfit. This occurred not only with the Jews, but also with people not of Jewish heritage especially prior to the war. He had started the sterilization and destruction of the "unfit" amongst the German people first. The term ethnic cleansing comes to mind here. That eradication of those unlike ourselves or that we perceive ourselves as better than. Hitler and Sanger were much alike in the manner. Sanger wanted to eliminate the unfit and purify the human race.

Sanger appeared to have believed whole-heartedly in Malthus central dogma of the naturally ordained and permanent gap between man's dual capacities to father babies and feed them or at least believed them inasmuch as it would sway public opinion to her agenda. Now it would be unfair and uncharitable on my part to have you believe that Sanger was the only person responsible for some of programs and agendas put forth, but she as I said earlier had a great deal of influence on people in areas of decision making. An example of this is a letter written by Sanger as chairperson of the Sixth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference to Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States. The letter requests that the president and the country look at the economic and biological waste to the nation by being involved in the segregation and maintenance at the public expense of the delinquent, defective, and criminally unfit classes of our population. The Conference points out that there is an organic correlation between an uncontrolled birth rate and the great national problems of maternal mortality, child labor, poverty, mental defect, and crime, and the vast national expenditures necessary to meet these problems. This appears to me to be a classic use of the logically fallacy "straw man." She does have success in her influencing in that now planned parenthood is federally funded. The years pass, the names change, but no matter how we look at it racism is racism regardless of disguise.

Eugenics Now -- The Return of Eugenics

It's all about the 'good' life. Richard John Neuhaus stated "We nonetheless witnessing the return of eugenics and with it come questions, inescapable moral questions, for which we appear no good answers." As seen in the 1920s, more than half of the states had mandatory sterilization laws applicable to people who fell in various categories of "unfitness." Again, those determining the 'unfitness' come into question. At present, eugenic research focuses on the detecting and remedying of genetic ills and ailments by removing or adding genes. It is more genetic engineering, and Neuhaus says we intervene to restructure human beings genetically, technicians and their apologist assume the tone of Thomistic philosophers explaining the self-evident truths of natural law. They assure us that they recognize and respect what is natural, inherent, and essential to the human being. Alan Bloom calls this "debonair nihilism." More likely, Neuhaus says, "it is a desperate effort to conceal from others and themselves the consequences of what they do; of what they cannot bring themselves not to do…" Regardless of how we look at it, this still appears to be racism. There's a story of Cecil Partee who became a prominent politician in Chicago and how he had gone to the University of Chicago Law School because his home state, Arkansas, did not have a separate law school for Blacks. Partee benefited in this particular instance because Arkansas discriminated against him and allowed him to go to a far more prestigiously academic institution - and the State paid for it. This is one case where the human person benefited in some way from discrimination. Unfortunately, in our time, that happens all to infrequently. Today, we look at legal protection of an individual's rights and life and how they should be determined. We tend to quantify life rather than basing it on human nature. Modern eugenics is looking to phase out natural pregnancy and phase out family attachments and find new and better ways to have people participate in eugenic efforts. The new eugenics cannot be disarticulated from the wider cultural and social surround. We see evidence of this with the breakdown of the family, with alternative lifestyles and families, with moral degradation and a desire to control one's own body without the care of anyone else. The radical feminist movement, as well as Planned Parenthood, has backed ideas of this nature and, have in fact sold not only the women of the world, but the world in general, a faulty bill of goods. Although a small number opt for such robust independence, there are tens of thousands of women who are displaced homemakers or client-dependence of an intrusive welfare-state bureaucracy. These women would prefer to be part of an intact family. What is the totum bonum for these women? Is the ethics of this social agenda by some, in fact ethical? There are many cases in history in which this argument is paramount. There is an explicit assumption that the ultimate aim of medicine is to cure or rehabilitate, an assumption which lies at the very core of the quality of life ethic. In 1949, Leo Alexander, an observer at the Nuremberg Nazi War Crimes Trial, wrote that allowed the terror to begin was a shift in the medical profession view of the purpose of medicine. This shift has continued to the present in areas such abortion and assisted suicide. Medicine has long since attempted to manipulate decisions of men and women concerning their offspring. The agenda of an industry appears to be dictating the morals of the nation. Yes, science is trying to improve hereditary qualities of human life. But the negative aspects of eugenics is found in birth control to prevent those yet unborn, sterilization, or abortion. These different methods of conception or birth can be used for a variety of purposes and a number of different motives. One reason is the disproportion in size of families born to parents who are able to give their children a good start in life - whether judged by their intellectual and cultural background, financial circumstances or geographical area in which they live. Who decides this? I know of several friends that would not be here today had their parents listened to doctors who were misinformed by an industry who makes billions of dollars a year by the ignorance of others. One friend who had cancer was told that if she had children she would surely die. She became pregnant and she and her husband decided that they could not kill their child even if it meant her death. Today, my friend and her husband have four beautiful children and her cancer is in remission. That's only one example of man trying to play God. The Holocaust of our time has resulted in the filling of the coffers of the abortion industry. We look at assisted suicide as a means, in some cases, to end pain but, in other cases, it could be a step towards the removal of those who are unfit. The science fiction book, Soilent Green, dealt with the issue of over population in a very interesting way. In the book, once you reach a certain age, you were killed to provide food for others. Actually, in the book, people were not aware of the situation. The people were lulled into a sense of "that is how things are." Another example of this is the distribution of birth control in many of our high schools, something that would have Margaret Sanger applauding. Genetic engineering has many valuable aspects, most deal with food production and animal population control. Science in these areas have contributed greatly to the world.


We have covered a wide variety of issues in which eugenics plays a major role. I think what is more true is that some human beings have a propensity to enslave their fellow man. The slavery may not be the traditionally thought of slavery but it is a more insidious slavery. The slavery that has brought about agendas that control people through their emotions, fears, and desires. Fear has been used throughout history to manipulate behavior in individuals and societies. It is a great motivator and someone who is skilled in rhetoric generally can convince those who wish to be convinced quite easily. The topics covered were done so with brevity because of the vastness of the information available. I only hope that in the future I will have the opportunity to bring to light more fully the amoral agenda of Planned Parenthood and organizations like them. The question remains, given the information provided, whether eugenics, as used by Planned Parenthood and other organizations, is ethical or not? My answer is that the agenda set forth by Margaret Sanger and her constituents is not only unethical, but in fact evil because it provide no totum bonum and only an apparent good (the purification of the race) for those who hold to this agenda. I however will allow you to decide for yourself.




Anderson, Norman. Issues of Life and Death. Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1976.

Chase, Allan. The Legacy of Malthus, the Social Costs of the New Scientific Racism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1976.

Neuhaus, Richard John, et al. Guaranteeing the Good Life: Medicine and the Return of Eugenics. Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990.

Packard, Vance. The People Shapers. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977.

Pickens, Donald K. Eugenics and The Progressives. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. 1968.

Reed, James. From Private Vice to Public Virtue. New York: Basic Books, Inc. Publishers, 1978.

Sanger, Margaret. My Fight for Birth Control. New York: The Ferris Printing Company, 1931.

Soukhanov, Anne H., et al. Webster's II, New Riverside University Dictionary. Boston: The Riverside Publishing Company, 1984.


Marshall, Robert G, and Donovan, Charles A. Blessed are the barren: The Social Policy of Planned Parenthood. Review. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 39:512-515 S 1996.

Golden, Michael. Margaret Sanger and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Review. African Ecclesial Review. Vol. 27 # 2 April 1985.


URL:, December 4, 1999 URL:,

December 4, 1999.

URL:, December 4, 1999.



Br Jordan Mary Turano, OP Seminarian, General Ethics PH 1008, January, 2000

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