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Margaret Sanger Quotes

More Margaret Sanger Quotes - and Some Common Margaret Sanger Misquotes


• A free race cannot be born to slave mothers. A woman cannot choose but give a measure of that bondage to her sons and daughters.

• Dire poverty drives this mother back again to the factory (no intelligent person will say she goes willingly). It is the fear of the loss of a job, debts and another mouth to feed that compels her to leave this newborn infant in the care of any one who has the room to keep it. Any friend or neighbor who works at home can take care of this little waif.

• Eugenists imply or insist that a woman's first duty is to the state; we contend that her duty to herself is her first duty to the state. We maintain that a woman possessing an adequate knowledge of her reproductive functions is the best judge of the time and conditions under which her child should be brought into the world. We further maintain that it is her right, regardless of all other considerations, to determine whether she shall bear children or not, and how many children she shall bear if she chooses to become a mother.

• Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most. The average working man can support no more and and the average working woman can take care of no more in decent fashion.

On Racial Issues

(original source for these four quotes: Earl Conrad, "American Viewpoint on U.S. Birth and Bias Control," The Chicago Defender, September 22, 1945)

• A sickly race is a weak race. As long as Negro mothers die in childbirth at two and one-half times the rate of white mothers, as long as Negro babies are dying at twice the rate of white babies, colored homes will be unhappy.

• Negro participation in planned parenthood means democratic participation in a democratic idea. Like other democratic ideas, planned parenthood places greater value on human life and the dignity of each person. Without planning at birth, the life of Negroes as a whole in a democratic world cannot be planned.

• What hangs over the South is that the Negro has been in servitude. The white southerner is slow to forget this. His attitude is the archaic in this age. Supremacist thinking belongs in the museum.

• The big answer, as I see it, is the education of the white man. The white man is the problem. It is the same as with the Nazis. We must change the white attitudes. That is where it lies.

Misattributed, Inaccurate, or Misleading Margaret Sanger Quotes

• A quote which Margaret Sanger did not say, but which is often attributed to her: "More children from the fit, less from the unfit - that is the chief issue of birth control."

• A quote usually taken out of context, and which should be attributed to W.E.B. duBois instead of Sanger: "The mass of ignorant Negroes still breed carelessly and disastrously, so that the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among whites, is from that portion of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly."

• A quote attributed to Sanger, but which cannot be found attributed to her in print before 1980 and which does not appear in the supposed source document: "Blacks, soldiers, and Jews are a menace to the race."

• A quote taken out of context: "We do not want word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population." (In the context, it's apparent that she didn't want such word to get out because such a characterization of her work was common -- and untrue. Then as now.)

• When Sanger used terms like "racial betterment" she was generally referring to the human race, so in looking at quotes using such phrases, check the context before making assumptions. Her opinions of the disabled and immigrants -- opinions not attractive or politically correct today -- were often the source of such sentiments as "racial betterment."

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2009. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Margaret Sanger Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/margaret_sanger.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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