While I’m recommending Daily Beast pieces today, check out this one from Keli Goff defending Margaret Sanger from conservatives’ latest jihad against her.
Society these days has a tough time accepting the fact that people are complicated, and that many great people also had terrible beliefs. Jefferson, arguably the greatest Founding Father, owned slaves; Henry Ford, who revolutionized industry, was a bitter anti-Semite; and Sanger was a eugenicist, who believed in the forcible sterilization of the lower class to prevent them from reproducing. All of these held their terrible beliefs in eras when such ideas were far more acceptable and widespread; the idea of eugenics never really became proscribed until after the Nazis came along, for instance.
And either way, it should not take away from her good work in promoting contraception. Far from being the mother of abortion, as conservatives want people to think, she saw abortion as a last resort, and correctly saw contraceptives as a way to reduce the incidence of abortion.
The benefit of contraceptives is incalculable. The advantage to women is obvious (and is also precisely why social conservatives are against contraceptives, since their greatest hate and fear is women having sexual agency), but the benefit to men is equally obvious. Which would you prefer, guys: springing for a box of Lifestyle condoms, or later being a guest on Maury Povich? And, as Sanger originally observed, proper use of contraceptives prevents abortion from being a consideration. Can’t conservatives at least take some solace in that?
Sanger earned her place in history, warts and all. The only reason she’s “controversial” to Ted Cruz and his ilk is not because of eugenics at all. It is because she happened to found Republicans’ most despised enemy, Planned Parenthood.