Margaret Sanger is a renowned scholar, writer, nurse, birth control activist, a sex educator who contributed significantly to the management of sexual complications. Margaret is credited for her dedication and zeal towards the elimination of “unfit people” in the society as Eugenic advocated. She was a strong advocate for family rationalization through birth control initiative. Her view was that only potential and capable individuals should have babies. She wanted the right to having babies be limited to those who are fit and can take care of the babies. She noted that there was no point to give birth to babies who will suffer due to deficiencies of food, shelter and other basic needs.
Sanger was born in New York in the year 1879 from a humble family background. Her father who was an Irish stonemason and mother were called Michael Hennessey and Ann Purcell respectively. Apart from being a stonemason, Michael was a free thinker, while her mother was an Irish-America Catholic. Her father joined the army during the civil war at the age of 15 years and later studied medicine. However, he ended up being or working as a stonecutter. The salary the father was getting could not satisfy the family needs that was comprised of 11 children with Margaret being the sixth born. The situation deteriorated due to the poor health condition of the mother who died at the age of 49 after having over 18 pregnancies with only 11 being successful. The death exposed Margaret to additional complications, as she had to step up and provide for the children. This paper explores Sanger’s advocacy move to reduce the impact of the challenges that women face including the influence Eugenics idea had on her mission.
Reasons why Margaret launched the advocacy
Sanger’s birth control advocacy is attributable to the suffering that they were facing. The challenges ignited a deeper thought and passion in Margaret to advocate for the birth control. Out of the experience she had, she developed the view that was similar to that of Eugenics that people should only give birth to children that they can provide for. She also developed an opinion that people should only be allowed to give birth to ascertain some children even if they are well off. She never interested in witnessing more people suffering because of poverty.
Sanger also developed the passion for advocating for birth control when she was working as a nurse. During the period, she witnessed how many families especially women were facing difficulties in raising children and giving birth. She met many women who underwent frequent childbirth, faced several discourages including abortion that are self-induced. The abortions were attributable to lack of information on how to avoid unwanted pregnancy among women. They had insufficient information on how they could use contraceptives effectively.
The sufferings the women were facing and the urge to help the women, Sanger embarked on executing sex education programs and birth control campaigns. She started active advocacy of birth controls in the year 1911. She started by writing two informative articles on sexuality matters. The articles were titled “what every mother should know” and what every girl should know”. The articles were geared towards educating women on pertinent issues relating to abortion, use of contraceptives effects of discourages among others.
The birth controls policy
Sanger started active advocacy for feminist ideals and birth control policy in the year 1911. The advocacy was to facilitate reduction or limit childbirths in the nation especially by those who could least afford children. The main purpose of the birth control policy was to ensure that the children who are born can receive the best treatment and services from their parents. It was also to ensure that their needs can be catered for promptly. Sanger held that view that those who are capable of taking care of children to be allowed to give birth but to a limited number while those who cannot as described as “least unfit” to be restricted. She also noted that women with serious health complications should be relieved of pregnancy.
In the advocacy mission, Sanger was motivated and further became influenced by Eugenics rationale that was widely practiced in the US. The practice fueled Sanger’s mission since it aimed at improving the genetic quality of human race through the set of beliefs that are similar to those informing the birth control policy. As described, Eugenics was a widely practiced racist pseudoscience that focused on wiping away all human beings that are deemed unfit for the society. The practice has played a significant role in the improvement of human quality especially in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The influence of Eugenics practices to birth control mission
The Eugenics enabled Sanger’s advocacy for a birth control policy to run smoothly and gain acceptance in various settings. The aspect is evident since some people had resonated with the practice because it had been part of the US system for a while. The practice although racial, advocated for the elimination of the “least fit” or unfit people in the society. The term “unfit” here means incapability, deficiency, poverty, severe physical condition among others. The practice holds that those who cannot do certain jobs should not be considered, and those were experiencing financial and physical complication especially women should not be allowed to bear children or have children. The existence of the practice influenced the understanding of Sanger’s position and intention among the US citizens. They came to understand the birth limits is for the common good of the public and those who are unfit, as they would be saved from daily stress in search of various valuables for survival.
In her clandestine style, Sanger presented quality facts about birth limits in many of her speeches and books including the book titled “The Pivot of Civilization”. In the speeches and the books, she affirmed the need for birth control as it is the viable way of correcting the socio-economic imbalances experienced in the US economy. He proposes various solutions as affirmed by the Eugenics practice towards dealing with the situation. They include immigration policy, family planning in full scale, and compulsory segregation of irresponsible including unintelligent persons. She equally proposed the adoption of free access to various methods of birth control by women in the nation. Sanger stated in one of her speeches that she believed and convicted that her advocacy mission including Eugenics practice aimed at achieving a common purpose that is the elimination of the unfit in the society.
In her study, she established that socio-economic undertakings were affecting the society differently. She categorized the groups into three namely the educated and informed group”, the responsible and intelligent group” and those who are irresponsible and reckless.” In particular, the irresponsible and reckless people are the ones who suffer a lot and are unfit to give birth to many children. They lack the requisite capacity to offer moral, financial, and physical support to young ones.
How Sanger strived to achieve the objectives
In her work, Sanger was concerned about reducing the population of the less fit” in the society. To achieve the objective Sanger used various approaches to sensitization, education and advocacy. In particular, she used written articles and books to reach out to women and other people with basic information on how to maintain good health and deal with sexual complications. The articles continue to enlighten people about the use of contraceptives to avoid giving birth to unwanted babies including issues of courage. She also sensitized women on the need to stop giving birth when suffering from various health conditions.
To offer first-hand assistance, Sanger opened birth control clinics with the first clinic being in operation by the year 1916. The clinics enabled her to contribute to controlling the problem “over-breeding”. Many clients visited the clinics for advice and professional care of some issues of great concern. She offered quality training on how to use contraceptives, educate women on how to deal with diverse forms of sexuality issues. Additionally, her advocacy organization played a significant role in the reduction of less fit” individuals who were mainly Negroes in the society. They were enlightened and transformed for the better.
Indeed, Margaret Sanger played a critical role in improving the wellbeing and welfare of the Negros socially. She assisted them through her birth control advocacy since they were the major group of people characterized by numerous challenges. Most of them were economically challenged to the point that they could not afford decent lifestyle including meals. This used to worsen when they gave birth to children. The children would end up suffering unfairly as evident in most families. Therefore, Sanger’s initiative enlightened them on how to use contraceptives and other precautionary measures to avoid bearing many children. Her mission was highly fueled by Eugenics practice that focused on the systematic elimination of unfit people in the society.
Baker, Jean H. Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion. (New York: Hill and Wang, 2011), 1.
Bergman, Jerry. Birth control leader Margaret Sanger: Darwinist, racist, and eugenicist. (Viewed on 30th Nov. 2015), 1.
Chesler, Ellen. Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007), 3
Franks, Angela. Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility. (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2005), 3.
Lombardo, Paul A. A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era.( Indiana University Press, 2011), 3.
Sanger, Margaret. Motherhood in Bondage. (Elmsford, N.Y.: Maxwell Reprint Co, 1956), 204.
Stern, Alexandra. Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America. (Berkeley [u.a.]: Univ. of California Press, 2005), 2.
Get a verified expert to help you with any urgent paper!Hire a Writer
from $10 per-page