December 15, 2011

Birth control does not mean abortion

By George J. Marlin Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Yet despite her harangues against the Church and her insistence that “for the welfare of children, for the happiness of husbands and wives, and for the full realization of Women’s rights, birth control by scientific methods of contraception [should] properly and wisely be exercised,” she did make one exception to an otherwise thorough pro-choice agenda: abortion.

That’s right. Margaret Sanger actually stated that: “Birth control does not mean abortion.” Here are her exact words:

“The real alternative to birth control is abortion,” wrote Dean Inge, [Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London]. It is an alternative that I cannot too strongly condemn. Although abortion may be resorted to in order to save the life of the mother, the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and vicious. [Emphasis added] I bring up the subject here only because some ill-informed persons have the notion that when we speak of birth control we include abortion as a method. We certainly do not. Abortion destroys the already fertilized ovum or the embryo; contraception, as I have carefully explained, prevents the fertilizing of the ovum by keeping the male cells away. Thus it prevents the beginning of life.

I bet you never heard that Sanger considered abortion “dangerous and vicious.” You can take it to the bank that there are no posters hanging on the walls of Planned Parenthood clinics quoting those particular words of the founder.

Margaret Sanger actually believed that abortion destroys an innocent life because she was honest enough to recognize that life begins at the moment of conception (without reference). Hence, she would have disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s conclusion in Roe v. Wade.

the rest

December 14, 2011

voice of Russia

вральная статья на голосе России
с упоминанием участия Сэнгер в программе стерилизации

November 23, 2011

likely nice facts, but badly interpreted

Eugenics - the science of improving the human population via selective breeding or reproduction - is not a concept confined to past centuries and decades, nor to locales outside the United States.

That's the finding of recent research by University of Cincinnati historian Wendy Kline, who will present a case study on the topic - a case study that examines the use of the controversial contraceptive injection, Depo-Provera, as a eugenic tool - on Nov. 11 at a conference titled "The Study of Eugenics: Past, Present and Future" to be held in Uppsala, Sweden. Her presentation is titled "Bodies of Evidence: Activists, Patients, and the FDA Regulation of Depo-Provera."

It's research that is particularly timely given that recent national news coverage has featured North Carolina's current plans to compensate surviving victims of forced sterilizations that took place there from the 1920s to the 1970s.


Kline's research into the debate surrounding Depo-Provera in the 1970s and 1980s began when she was visiting the Smith College Women's History Archive where she found a large box of materials still unprocessed and not yet catalogued. This was among 50 to 60 boxes from the National Women's Health Network.

She recalled, "The box contained hundreds of individual files, each detailing a woman's difficulties with the side effects of Depo-Provera or detailing how she had not been informed of those side effects or detailing how she had been given the injection without her consent or by means of manipulation. This coercion, lack of informed consent and testing of the drug has obviously been gathered together in preparation for a class-action suit by the National Women's Health Network that had never gone forward."

But the collection did provide Kline with a rich source of material of examining the history of this contraceptive and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's public board of inquiry on Depo-Provera held in 1983.

"The use of Depo-Provera captures all of the controversy of this century regarding controlling fertility and who's ultimately making the decision about who gets to reproduce. My research looks at coercion, risks not fully understood and how arguments were made for and against Depo-Provera at the time," she explained.

For instance, it was in the Depo-Provera hearings in Washington that the manufacturer and those in favor of the drug had to first contend with the greater organizational powers and force of the feminist movement - but where that feminist movement had to argue its case by focusing narrowly on the flaws in the scientific research methodology applied when testing Depo-Provera.

In other words, those combating the use of Depo-Provera could not make a case against the drug based on morality or sentiment even though it could easily have been argued that this was a case of eugenics since the testing of the drug in the 1970s at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital Family Planning Clinic involved mostly black women in public assistance.

Instead, because of FDA strictures related to evidence supplied at its board of inquiry hearings, opponents of the drug had to channel their arguments on the science then available on Depo-Provera.

"Of course," said Kline, "It was and is very difficult to separate science from the society that produced it. There was a reason, given the understood risks of Depo-Provera, that its testing was done on poor women in the U.S. and on women in developing countries."

Still, at the Depo-Provera hearings of 1983, those against the use of Depo-Provera were able to introduce the concept that the FDA's established cost/benefit analysis of a drug should include quality of life issues and that dismissing female patient's complaints about crippling side effects was not just "sexist," it was bad science.

Another outcome of the FDA 1983 inquiry into Depo-Provera and the publicity surrounding the hearings was the first national conference on black women's health held in Atlanta in 1983.

The larger message, according to Kline, is that eugenics is more than simply an embarrassing mistake of the past. The popular belief that technology and regulation of sexual fertility (?) would lead to healthier, stronger, more self-reliant population carried over in the 1970s, '80s and even today.

Coercive Birth Control Used As A Form Of Eugenics

it is a salad of arguments ;( 

November 20, 2011

Planned Parenthood in the Archives

the American Birth Control League (ABCL) over leadership issues in 1928. In 1938, the Clinical Research Bureau (the first doctor-controlled, legal birth control clinic) which she opened in 1923 merged with the ABCL to become the Birth Control Federation of America. In 1942, its name was changed to the less feminist, more family-friendly Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a name Sanger loathed.

E Katz correction to Birth Control in the Cabinet: Planned Parenthood in the Archives Posted by Jill Lepore

contains a nice slide show

How Birth Control And Abortion Became Politicized


Jean H. Baker book

As for her connection with the eugenics movement, Baker examines Sanger’s beliefs (along with others who espoused eugenics, such as Woodrow Wilson and Oliver Wendell Holmes) and concludes that she “embraced eugenics as a female cause with a female solution,’’ focusing primarily on a woman’s right to bring only healthy and wanted children into the world. However one parses this, Sanger’s insistence that, as she wrote, “[a] woman’s body belongs to herself alone’’ still sounds revolutionary.

MARGARET SANGER: A Life of Passion By Jean H. Baker Hill and Wang, 349 pp., illustrated, $35


Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger

November 5, 2011

A Woman with a Plan: The Real Story of Margaret Sanger

Author image
by Ellen CheslerThe Roosevelt Institute

Birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger is back in the news this week thanks to GOP presidential candidate and abortion rights opponent Herman Cain, who claimed on national television that Planned Parenthood, the visionary global movement she founded nearly a century ago, is really about one thing only: “preventing black babies from being born.” Cain’s outrageous and false accusation is actually an all too familiar canard -- a willful repetition of scurrilous claims that have circulated for years despite detailed refutation by scholars who have examined the evidence and unveiled the distortions and misrepresentations on which they are based (for a recent example, see this rebuttal from The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler).
It’s an old tactic. Even in her own day, Sanger endured deliberate character assassination by opponents who believed they would gain more traction by impugning her character and her motives than by debating the merits of her ideas. But when a presidential candidate from a major U.S. political party is saying such things, a thoughtful response is necessary.
So what is Sanger’s story?
Born Margaret Louisa Higgins in 1879, the middle child of a large Irish Catholic family, Sanger grew into a follower of labor organizers, free thinkers, and bohemians. Married to William Sanger, an itinerant architect and painter, she helped support three young children by working as a visiting nurse on New York’s Lower East Side. Following the death of a patient from a then all-too-common illegal abortion, she vowed to abandon palliative work and instead overturn obscenity laws that prevented legal access to safe contraception.
Sanger’s fundamental heresy was in claiming every woman’s right to experience her sexuality freely and bear only the number of children she desires. Following a first generation of educated women who had proudly forgone marriage in order to seek fulfillment outside the home, she offered birth control as a necessary condition to the resolution of a broad range of personal and professional frustrations.
The hardest challenge in introducing Sanger to modern audiences, who take this idea for granted, is to explain how absolutely destabilizing it seemed in her own time. As a result of largely private arrangements and a healthy trade in condoms, douches, and various contraptions sold under the subterfuge of feminine hygiene, birth rates had already begun to decline. But contraception remained a clandestine and delicate subject, legally banned under obscenity statutes, and women were still largely denied identities or rights independent of their relationships with men, including the right to vote.
By inventing the term “birth control,” Sanger brought the practice -- and by implication, women’s entitlement to sexual pleasure -- out into the open and gave them essential currency. She went to jail in 1917 for opening a clinic to distribute primitive diaphragms to immigrant women in Brooklyn, New York, and appeal of her conviction led to a medical exception that licensed doctors to prescribe contraception for reasons of health. Under these constraints she built a network of independent local women’s health centers that eventually came together under the banner of Planned Parenthood. She also lobbied for the repeal of federal obscenity statutes that prevented the legal transport of contraception by physicians across state lines, which were struck down in federal court in 1936.
Sanger sought and won scientific validation for various contraceptive methods, including the birth control pill, whose development she supported and found the money to fund. In so doing, she helped lift the religious shroud that had long encased reproduction and secured the endorsement of contraception by physicians and social scientists. From this singular accomplishment, which some still consider heretical, a continuing controversy has ensued.
Sanger always remained a wildly polarizing figure, which clarifies the logic of her decision after World War I to jettison “birth control” and adopt the more socially resonant term “family planning.” This move was particularly inventive but in no way cynical, especially when the Great Depression brought attention to collective needs and the New Deal created a blueprint for bold public endeavors.
Some have falsely charged that Sanger defined family planning as a right of the privileged but a duty or obligation of the poor. To the contrary, she showed considerable foresight in lobbying to include universal voluntary family planning programs among public investments in social security. Had the New Deal incorporated basic public health and access to contraception, as most European countries were then doing, protracted conflicts over welfare and health care policy in the U.S. might well have been avoided.
Having long enjoyed the friendship and support of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Sanger also had ample reason to believe the New Dealers would fully legalize and endorse contraception as a necessary first step to her long-term goal of transferring responsibility and accountability for voluntary clinics to the public health sector. What she failed to anticipate was the force of opposition family planning continued to generate from a coalition of religious conservatives, including urban Catholics and rural fundamentalist Protestants, that held Roosevelt Democrats captive much as today’s evangelicals have captured the GOP.
The U.S. government would not overcome cultural and religious objections to public support of family planning through its domestic anti-poverty and international development programs until the late 1960s, after the Supreme Court protected contraceptive use under the privacy doctrine created in Griswold v. Connecticut. At this time, Planned Parenthood clinics became major government contractors, since there were few alternative primary health care centers serving the poor. Today, one in four American women funds her contraception through government programs, many of them still run by Planned Parenthood -- a number likely to rise under the Affordable Care Act.
Sanger’s eagerness to mainstream her movement explains her engagement with eugenics, a then widely popular intellectual movement that addressed the manner in which human intelligence and opportunity is determined by biological as well as environmental factors. Hard as it is to believe, eugenics was considered far more respectable than birth control. Like many well-intentioned reformers of this era, Sanger took away from Charles Darwin the essentially optimistic lesson that humanity’s evolution within the animal kingdom makes us all capable of improvement if only we apply the right tools. University presidents, physicians, scientists, and public officials all embraced eugenics, in part because it held the promise that merit would replace fate -- or birthright and social status -- as the standard for mobility in a democratic society.
But eugenics also has some damning and today unfathomable legacies, such as a series of state laws upheld in 1927 by an eight-to-one progressive majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, including Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis. Their landmark decision in Buck v. Bell authorized the compulsory sterilization of a poor young white woman with an illegitimate child on grounds of feeble mindedness that were never clearly established. This decision, incidentally, was endorsed by civil libertarians such as Roger Baldwin of the ACLU and W.E.B. Dubois of the NAACP, both of whom Sanger counted among her supporters and friends.
For Sanger, eugenics was meant to begin with the voluntary use of birth control, which many still opposed on the grounds that the middle class should be encouraged to have more babies. She countered by disdaining what she called a “cradle competition” of class, race, or ethnicity. She publicly opposed immigration restrictions and framed poverty as a matter of differential access to resources like birth control, not as the immutable consequence of low inherent ability or character.
As a nurse, Sanger also understood the adverse impacts of poor nutrition, drugs, and alcohol on fetal development and encouraged government support of maternal and infant health. She argued for broad social safety nets and proudly marshaled clinical data to demonstrate that most women, even among the poorest and least educated populations, eagerly embraced and used birth control successfully when it is was provided.
At the same time, Sanger did on many occasions engage in shrill rhetoric about the growing burden of large families of low intelligence and defective heredity — language with no intended racial or ethnic content. She always argued that all women are better off with fewer children, but unfortunate language about “creating a race of thoroughbreds” and other such phrases have in recent years been lifted out of context and used to sully her reputation. Moreover, in endorsing Buck v. Bell and on several occasions the payment of pensions or bonuses to poor women who agreed to limit their childbearing (many of whom enjoyed no other health care coverage), Sanger quite clearly failed to consider fundamental human rights questions raised by such practices. Living in an era indifferent to the obligation to respect and protect individuals whose behaviors do not always conform to prevailing mores, she did not always fulfill it.
The challenge as Sanger’s biographer has been to reconcile apparent contradictions in her beliefs. She actually held unusually advanced views on race relations for her day and on many occasions condemned discrimination and encouraged reconciliation between blacks and whites. Though most birth control facilities conformed to the segregation mores of the day, she opened an integrated clinic in Harlem in the early 1930s. Later, she facilitated birth control and maternal health programs for rural black women in the south, when local white health officials there denied them access to any New Deal-funded services.
Sanger worked on this last project with the behind-the-scenes support of Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the National Council for Negro Women and then a Roosevelt administration official. Their progressive views on race were well known, if controversial, but their support for birth control was silenced by Franklin’s political handlers — at least until he was safely ensconced in the White House for a third term, when the government rushed to provide condoms to World War II soldiers.
Sanger’s so-called Negro Project has been a source of controversy first raised by black nationalists and some feminist scholars in the 1970s and later by anti-abortion foes. Respecting the importance of self-determination among users of contraception, she recruited prominent black leaders to endorse the goal, especially ministers who held sway over the faithful. In that context, she wrote an unfortunate sentence in a private letter about needing to clarify the ideals and goals of the birth control movement because “we do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” The sentence may have been thoughtlessly composed, but it is perfectly clear that she was not endorsing genocide.
America’s intensely complicated politics of race and gender has long ensnarled Sanger and all others who have sought to discipline reproduction. As many scholars of the subject in recent years have observed, much of the controversy proceeds from the plain fact that reproduction is by its very nature experienced individually and socially at the same time. In claiming women’s fundamental right to control their own bodies, Sanger remained mindful of the dense fabric of cultural, political, and economic relationships in which those rights are exercised.
In most instances the policies Sanger advocated were intended to observe the necessary obligation of social policy to balance individual rights of self-expression with the sometimes contrary desire to promulgate and enforce common mores and laws. She may have failed to get the balance quite right, but there is nothing in the record to poison her reputation or discredit her noble cause. Quite the contrary.
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. may have put it best in 1966, when he accepted Planned Parenthood’s prestigious Margaret Sanger Award and spoke eloquently of the “kinship” between the civil rights and family planning movements. Here is what he said, since it bears repeating:
There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist; a nonviolent resister. She launched a movement which is obeying a higher law to preserve human life under humane conditions. Margaret Sanger had to commit what was then called a crime in order to enrich humanity, and today we honor her courage and vision; for without them there would have been no beginning.

November 2, 2011

Eugenics, or Scientific Racism, in American Education

One of the evil fruits of the tree of evolution is the idea of eugenics, the notion that human beings can be bred to perfection by the same methods used to breed perfect cattle. Since evolution itself reduces man to the level of animal, it is not surprising that eugenics was adopted by many leaders among the educational elite as the means of solving man’s social problems. But eugenics itself poses a problem: what does one mean by human perfection, and whose definition of perfection should be adopted?
The founder of the eugenics movement, Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), cousin of Charles Darwin, found his model of perfection in the British elite. But he was painfully aware that the birthrate of the elite was far lower than that of what he considered to be the inferior classes. In this he saw a great danger to civilization. He concluded that ways had to be found to encourage the fertility of the superior stock and to discourage the fertility of the inferior stock.
In order to determine which individuals had superior traits, Galton created an anthropometric laboratory in 1884 for the measurement of man, with the hope that by means of tests he could single out those individuals who should survive. However, Galton realized that physical measurements alone were not enough to determine the criteria he needed. He began searching for ways to investigate psychological differences.
In 1886, he was introduced to James McKeen Cattell, a young American who had just completed two years of study in the laboratories of Prof. Wilhelm Wundt, the world’s leading experimental psychologist, at Leipzig University in Germany. It was there that Cattell conducted his reaction-time experiments which became the “scientific” basis for teaching children to read by the whole-word method. Cattell spent the next two years working in Galton’s lab at Cambridge University where he used experimental techniques to investigate the mental differences among normal individuals. He coined the term “mental test.” Cattell used Galton’s framework of physical and physiological anthropometry in which to conduct his experiments on individual differences.
Born in 1860, Cattell graduated in 1880 from Lafayette College (Easton, Penn.) where his father, a Presbyterian minister, was president. While at college, Cattell studied the ideas of Auguste Comte, the French philosopher who stressed the authority of scientific knowledge over religious or metaphysical forms of thought. This philosophy, known as Positivism, led Cattell to adopt a new “religion” of science.
In 1882-83 Cattell studied at Johns Hopkins University where his classmate was John Dewey and their professor was psychologist G. Stanley Hall. Hall was the first American to study at Leipzig under Prof. Wundt, and he encouraged Cattell to get his doctorate under Wundt at Leipzig.
After completing his studies in Germany and his experiments at Cambridge, Cattell returned to the United States where he became professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1891, Cattell moved to Teachers College, Columbia University, where as professor of experimental psychology he built the nation’s leading department of psychology. He trained many young psychologists who then fanned out across American academia to teach the new gospel of psychology. In 1904, Cattell arranged for his friend John Dewey to come to Columbia as professor of philosophy.
At Teachers College, Cattell’s star pupil was Edward L. Thorndike, who espoused the principles of eugenics and became America’s leading educational psychologist. He devised a new theory of learning based on conditioning techniques used in animal training. His book, Animal Intelligence (1898) laid the groundwork for the school of behaviorism.
Both Cattell and Thorndike were active in applying the principles of eugenics to education. Like Dewey, they held an organic view of society. Socialist Dewey wrote in his famous My Pedogogic Creed:
“I believe that the individual who is to be educated is a social individual and that society is an organic union of individuals…. Examinations are of use only so far as they test the child’s fitness for social life and reveal the place in which he can be of most service and where he can receive the most help.”
This was clearly the educational philosophy of a collectivist state, not a Constitutional republic in which the purpose of government is to secure the God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of the individual. The purpose of education in a free society is to provide the individual with the skills needed to make his way in the adult world, not to determine where he can be ”of most service.”
Inherent in Dewey’s creed is the notion that individual human worth is determined by social usefulness, a concept that is taught today in the lifeboat and fallout shelter survival exercises in which students must decide who to throw out of the lifeboat or kill in the fallout shelter. Dewey also wrote in that Creed:
“[T]he teacher is engaged, not simply in the training of individuals, but in the formation of the proper social life....In this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.”
It was inevitable that those who believed in eugenics would see society in racial terms and impose racist ideas on American education. The veneer of science made racism respectable among the social-radical progressives who were supposedly only interested in the future good of mankind.
Eugenics conferences were held in the United States to spread the new spirit of scientific racism within academia. G. Stanley Hall, who had become president of Clark University (Worcester, Mass.) in 1889, encouraged his students to develop tests to assess mental capacity. One of his students, Lewis Terman, devised a mental test that was to become the most famous of them all, one that measured the I.Q., or Intelligence Quotient. The I.Q. expressed the ratio of a child’s mental age to his chronological age, multiplied by one hundred. Terman believed that intelligence was a matter of genetic inheritance and that genetic superiority could therefore be determined by this test.
The Anglo-American eugenics movement grew in influence on both sides of the Atlantic. In England it was embraced by Fabian socialists because they believed that an ideal society could be produced only by “superior” people. In America, it drew such progressives as Margaret Sanger, Gifford Pinchot, David Starr-Jordan, Charles M. Eliot, Emma Goldman, and such conservatives as Herbert Hoover and Charles Davenport. Sanger was motivated by her belief in eugenics to start the birth-control movement.
The eugenics movement persuaded Congress to pass new immigration laws to curtail the influx of "inferior" peoples from Eastern and Southern Europe. In 1921, the Second International Congress of Eugenics was held at New York’s Museum of Natural History. Its president was Henry Fairfield Osborn, who wrote in the program:
The right of the state to safeguard the character and integrity of the race or races on which its future depends is, to my mind, as incontestable as the right of the state to safeguard the health and morals of its people. As science has enlightened government in the prevention and spread of disease, it must also enlighten government in the prevention of the spread and multiplication of worthless members of society, the spread of feeble-mindedness, of idiocy, and of all moral and intellectual as well as physical diseases.
It was this philosophy of government which enabled Congress to pass Prohibition, which made it illegal to drink alcoholic beverages. And we all know what a social disaster Prohibition turned out to be. Likewise, Mayor Bloomberg of New York believes that it is government’s highest duty to determine what people should be allowed to eat. It sounds benign and sensible to a statist. But nothing in our Constitution gives government such powers.
However, there was nothing benign about scientific racism which affected more important aspects of life than just eating habits. To eugenicist Thorndike, blacks were inferior and had to be treated differently in education, and he was responsible for changing “certain schools for Negroes from a predominantly literary to a predominantly realistic and industrial curriculum.”
In other words, as a result of “scientific research,” pupils were now no longer being judged as individuals, but as members of different racial groups. Scientific racism became an integral part of progressive education policy.
In 1933, Hitler’s new National Socialist (Nazi) government adopted a Eugenic Sterilization Law that resulted in the compulsory sterilization, within three years, of 275,000 people judged “unfit” by Hereditary Health Courts. In 1939, on the eve of World War II, the Nazi regime inaugurated a policy of euthanasia for the mentally diseased or disabled. Some 70,000 patients were shot and gassed to death. All of this was prelude to the mass extermination of Jews that would take place during the war years.
But all of that is in the dim past. In America today, eugenics has been replaced by multiculturalism, affirmative action, new liberal programs to help minorities advance economically, and special education in the public schools to help the mentally challenged (once dubbed "useless human beings") get a government education. The schools are now dumbing-down everyone, and functional illiteracy is now epidemic. In other words, we’ve gone from one evil to another. Scientific racism rejected Biblical religion, and today’s progressives reject the supernatural. American culture is in a state of total philosophical chaos. The future of America is uncertain because of the raging battles among competing philosophies. Only by repudiating the statists and returning to the sane political philosophy of the Founding Fathers will this nation be able to reconstruct an American future in liberty and economic freedom for all.

Written by Sam Blumenfeld

1 ocean - 1 method

Margaret Sanger Papers in the national spotlight

by erialcp
Although Margaret Sanger died in 1966, debates about her legacy still shape how politicians talk about the important issue of abortion rights. On Sunday, October 30, Republican candidate for president Herman Cain gave an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation". He claimed that if voters wanted to understand the real meaning of abortion in America, they needed to "go back and look at the history and look at Margaret Sanger's own words." But Cain's knowledge of Sanger seems more rooted in convenient myth than in historical fact. The phone has been ringing off the hook today at the Margaret Sanger Papers with journalists and commentators calling to find out the real history.
Cain claimed that early Planned Parenthood clinics were build predominately in black neighborhoods as part of a plan of racial extermination. He said, "So if you go back and look up the history--secondly, look at where most of them were build, 75 percent of those facilities were built in the black community-- and Margaret Sanger's own words, she didn't use the word 'genocide' but she did talk about preventing the increasing numbers of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born."
Although Sanger advocated the politics of eugenics that were popular in her era, Planned Parenthood in no way encouraged abortion among black communities. In fact, none of Sanger's clinics performed abortions before Roe v. Wade in 1973.  Racism in the world of family planning tended to express itself in the reverse: blacks were sometimes excluded from clinics offering birth control services. Here at the Sanger papers, we frequently write about the issue of race in our newsletters and publications. Cathy Hajo, associate editor of the Margaret Sanger papers, has recently addressed this in her book, Birth Control on Main Street (2010)< /em>. There were a handful of clinics that serviced specifically black communities, but these received little assistance from white activists. Cain's suggestion that 75% of clinics were in black neighborhoods is completely unfounded. "Whatever the activists' personal beliefs about race may have been," writes Hajo, "there was no grand program to exterminate nonwhites or the poor."
This is not the first time Cain has distorted the history of birth control in this way in order to advance his political views. In April of 2010, Cain made claims about Planned Parenthood's alleged genocide plan that earned PolitiFact's "Pants on Fire" status, meaning that they found no truth to the claim whatsoever. In fact, PolitiFact said, "Cain’s claim is a ridiculous, cynical play of the race card."
Sunday's interview is no different. In the Washington Post today, Glenn Kessler decries Cain's rewriting of birth control history, relying on the research of Hajo and others to discredit this misuse of the past for politically expedient ends. CNN and have also called the Sanger Papers looking for more informati on, and we expected to see pieces from them soon.

October 11, 2011

Pavlov's letter to Molotov

Академик И. П. Павлов- В. М. Молотову: 
"...Пощадите же родину и нас..." 

Революция застала меня почти в 70 лет. А в меня засело как-то твердое убеждение, что срок дельной человеческой жизни именно 70 лет. И потому я смело и открыто критиковал революцию. Я говорил себе: «чорт с ними! Пусть расстреляют. Все равно, жизнь кончена, а я сделаю то, что требовало от меня мое достоинство». На меня поэтому не действовали ни приглашение в старую чеку, правда, кончившееся ничем, ни угрозы при Зиновьеве в здешней «Правде» по поводу одного моего публичного чтения: «можно ведь и ушибить...»

Теперь дело показало, что я неверно судил о моей работоспособности. И сейчас, хотя раньше часто о выезде из отечества подумывал и даже иногда заявлял, я решительно не могу расстаться с родиной и прервать здешнюю работу, которую считаю очень важной, способной не только хорошо послужить репутации русской науки, но и толкнуть вперед человеческую мысль вообще. Но мне тяжело, по временам очень тяжело жить здесь – и это есть причина моего письма в Совет.

Вы напрасно верите в мировую пролетарскую революцию. Я не могу без улыбки смотреть на плакаты: «да здравствует мировая социалистическая революция, да здравствует мировой октябрь». Вы сеете по культурному миру не революцию, а с огромным успехом фашизм. До Вашей революции фашизма не было. Ведь только нашим политическим младенцам Временного Правительства было мало даже двух Ваших репетиций перед Вашим октябрьским торжеством. Все остальные правительства вовсе не желают видеть у себя то, что было и есть у нас и, конечно, во время догадываются применить для предупреждения этого то, чем пользовались и пользуетесь Вы – террор и насилие. Разве это не видно всякому зрячему! Сколько раз в Ваших газетах о других странах писалось: «час настал, час пробил», а дело постоянно кончалось лишь новым фашизмом то там, то сям. Да, под Вашим косвенным влиянием фашизм постепенно охватит весь культурный мир, исключая могучий англо-саксонский отдел (Англию наверное, американские Соединенные Штаты, вероятно), который воплотит-таки в жизнь ядро социализма: лозунг – труд как первую обязанность и ставное достоинство человека и как основу человеческих отношений, обезпечивающую соответствующее существование каждого – и достигнет этого с сохранением всех дорогих, стоивших больших жертв и большого времени, приобретений культурного человечества.

Но мне тяжело не оттого, что мировой фашизм попридержит на известный срок темп естественного человеческого прогресса, а оттого, что делается у нас и что, по моему мнению, грозит серьезною опасностью моей родине.

Во первых то, что Вы делаете есть, конечно, только эксперимент и пусть даже грандиозный по отваге, как я уже и сказал, но не осуществление бесспорной насквозь жизненной правды – и, как всякий эксперимент, с неизвестным пока окончательным результатом. Во вторых эксперимент страшно дорогой (и в этом суть дела), с уничтожением всего культурного покоя и всей культурной красоты жизни.

Мы жили и живем под неослабевающим режимом террора и насилия. Если бы нашу обывательскую действительность воспроизвести целиком, без пропусков, со всеми ежедневными подробностями – это была бы ужасающая картина, потрясающее впечатление от которой на настоящих людей едва ли бы значительно смягчилось, если рядом с ней поставить и другую нашу картину с чудесно как бы вновь выростающими городами, днепростроями, гигантами-заводами и безчисленными учеными и учебными заведениями. Когда первая картина заполняет мое внимание, я всего более вижу сходства нашей жизни с жизнию древних азиатских деспотий. А у нас это называется республиками. Как это понимать? Пусть, может быть, это временно. Но надо помнить, что человеку, происшедшему из зверя, легко падать, но трудно подниматься. Тем, которые злобно приговаривают к смерти массы себе подобных и с удовлетворением приводят это в исполнение, как и тем, насильственно приучаемым учавствовать в этом, едва ли возможно остаться существами, чувствующими и думающими человечно. И с другой стороны. Тем, которые превращены в забитых животных, едва ли возможно сделаться существами с чувством собственного человеческого достоинства.

Когда я встречаюсь с новыми случаями из отрицательной полосы нашей жизни (а их легион), я терзаюсь ядовитым укором, что оставался и остаюсь среди нея. Не один же я так чувствую и думаю?! Пощадите же родину и нас.

Академик Иван ПАВЛОВ. Ленинград 21 декабря 1934 г.

На машинописной копии письма резолюция: «т. Сталину. Сегодня СНК получил новое чепуховое письмо академика Павлова. Молотов»

АПРФ. Ф.3. Оп.33. Д.180. Л.47–50. Автограф.

one thing is unclear to me: Sanger was in SPb exactly in 1934, but she did not met Pavlov. I supposed he died before her visit, but the letter dated Dec, and she was in Summer

September 29, 2011

Happy World Contraception Day!

Bombay 1952, IPPF Conference
Sanger and other family planning leaders at the IPPF's founding meeting, theThird International Conference on Planned Parenthood, held in Bombay in 1952.
From the International Planned Parenthood Federation: today, September 26, is World Contraception Day.
On the WCD2011 website, specifically targeting youth, you can learn more about contraception and your rights when it comes to sexual and reproductive health.
The WCD2011 website includes a drop-down menu where you can select your country of residence (from a limited list) in order to get more information about where you can access contraception, background information on puberty and anatomy, types of contraception, and STIs, and other resources for teens and youth.
The other major facet of WCD2011 is their release of the results of a multinational survey of youth touching on topics of sexual and reproductive health and education, including access to and use of contraception. Some of the results, including a staggering statistic that
“42% of respondents in Asia Pacific and 28% in Europe who could not get hold of contraception when they needed it claimed it was because they were too embarrassed to ask a healthcare professional,”
are available in the press release for WCD2011. The full report is available here.
Income, location, language barriers, legal status within a country, religious/social/parental pressures, and a host of other factors can have an impact on young people’s access to contraception. The fact is that there are any number of ways which infringe upon one’s right to access safe, affordable, accessible, and non-judgmental health care, especially regarding sexual health and even more so as a minor. In the face of such inequality of access, the work that individuals and organizations in the field of sexual and reproductive health advocacy and research do is as important now as it was when Margaret Sanger was alive.
On World Contraception Day, then, it seems appropriate to both celebrate the advances – scientific and social – that generations of sexual and reproductive health pioneers have worked for, and to continue to agitate for truly equal access. So once again, Happy WCD and let’s continue the good work that Sanger began.

repost from MSPP

September 25, 2011

No More Babies

they cut the video, but it is not too often when you meet Sanger on youtube

September 16, 2011

death and birth days linx

1916 photograph of Sanger and two of her childrenКак известно Сэнгер не дожила несколько дней, чуть больше недели до своего 87го дня рождения, умерла 6 сентября (я родился 3-его, когда умру не знаю, мб, тоже в сентябре:)

Поскольку я подписчик на блоги и новости про Сэнгер к этим дням подошло кое-что позитивное в мутном потоке заурядного ежедневного дерьма, рыться в котором уже изрядно надоело :(

Итак полезные линьки (некоторые оччъ хороши):

Russian Republic

Любопытно: если верить этому источнику, 14 сентября Россия была провозглашена республикой
в чём любопытство?
это день рождения МС

September 14, 2011

more movie or what?

Then came one more summer break: after an editorial changeover at the magazine, I started writing on books, TV and movies for the thriving alternative weeklies (first The Real Paper in Cambridge, then The Boston Phoenix). In the summer of 1976, Joe Morgenstern, now the Pulitzer-prize-winning film critic for the Wall Street Journal, was in Boston with his then-wife, Piper Laurie, who was acting in a film about Margaret Sanger for PBS’ “Nova.” Unbeknownst to me, Joe started reading my stuff. When, nearly two years later, editor Jim Bellows offered him the movie critic slot at The Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Morgenstern didn’t want it himself – but he thought this guy he’d read in Boston just might. I flew to L.A. and I got the job.

source = baltimor blog

August 7, 2011

August 6, 2011

a lively and entertaining writer wrote about Wells

A Man of Parts, by David Lodge, Harvill Secker, 576 pages, $34.95The life of H.G. Wells is, in many ways, a gift to a novelist: He was a self-made man who became famous and wealthy, who knew practically everybody (Shaw! Gorky! Lenin!) and had sex with many of them (Rebecca West! Elizabeth von Arnim! Margaret Sanger! a Russian spy!), provoking no shortage of scandal....
If Wells had not existed, an enterprising novelist might have had to invent him. An outspoken champion of socialism and free love (and a formidable practitioner of the latter), Wells is already a larger-than-life character, to the point that only his intelligent, forbearing second wife can begin to match him....
Jane, the second wife, who failed to share Wells’s sexual appetite, but who not only tolerated his dalliances but offered frequent advice to all concerned, is the quiet star of the book.

The Globe&Mail: fiction review

July 27, 2011

Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility

Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female FertilityMargaret Sanger, the American birth-control and population-control advocate who founded Planned Parenthood, stands like a giant among her contemporaries. With her dominating yet winning personality, she helped generate shifts of opinion on issues that were not even publicly discussed prior to her activism, while her leadership was arguably the single most important factor in achieving social and legislative victories that set the parameters for today’s political discussion of family-planning funding, population-control aid, and even sex education.


July 19, 2011

Sex research in America

From here to eternity

When the United States thought sex was as dangerous as communism

Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America. By Christopher Turner. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 544 pages; $35. To be published in Britain in August as “Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex” by Fourth Estate; £25.

“TREAT yourself”, the advertisements say. “You’re worth it”. The image may be a woman bending over or a man with a seductive grin. As for the product, it hardly matters whether it is soap or a car: sex is being used to sell, and latent desires will move consumers to buy—or at least feel titillated by the prospect.

What a darkly ironic epilogue for the sexual revolution, observes Christopher Turner in “Adventures in the Orgasmatron”. Progressive attitudes were meant to free society from the dangers of conformity. Yet some of the most radical ideas about our primal urges have been harnessed by those who want everyone to drink the same brand of beer.

Wilhelm Reich, a charismatic and gifted psychoanalyst who trained with Sigmund Freud, coined the phrase “sexual revolution” in the 1930s. Reich had high hopes for sex. He spent his life insisting that a bone-rattling orgasm was the best way to ensure personal health and a more humane society. Human desires are natural, he argued; it is only when society represses these instincts that problems arise.

As the hero of this erudite and engaging work of social history, Reich is a fascinating subject. He was arrogant and influential, tyrannical and abusive. He fell out with Freud and alienated his peers by insisting not only that orgasms were a panacea, but also that psychoanalysis should be a tool for social change. In his mid-30s when the Nazis came to power, he saw fascism as an inevitable product of repressive social structures, such as the patriarchal family. If the instincts of children weren’t repressed, he argued, then adults wouldn’t crave being told what to do. Reich wanted to apply the revelations of psychoanalysis to reforming sex laws (by, for example, lifting bans on abortion and prostitution) and updating social mores about marriage and children. Free sex, he believed, was the best check on totalitarianism.

Freud found this naive, maintaining that psychoanalysis was not about changing the world, but about helping people to adapt to it. Repression wasn’t something to throw off, but a part of the human condition. “To Freud, misery came from within; to Reich, it was imposed from without.”

Time, however, made Reich’s grasp on reality more tenuous, particularly after he fled to America in 1939. Like a mad scientist, he grew convinced that sexual electricity was quantifiable. His big invention was something called an “orgone energy accumulator”, a box about the size of a telephone booth which collected good atmospheric energy. Time inside the box would not only improve one’s “orgastic potency”, Reich claimed, but also treat cancer, among other maladies (including his own psoriasis). Scientists refused to confirm Reich’s orgone theories, but a generation of young progressives heralded these boxes as sources of sexual liberation, something Woody Allen parodied with his “Orgasmatron” in his 1973 film, “Sleeper”. Norman Mailer had one (though he later described it as “kind of crap”). William Burroughs claimed to have had a spontaneous orgasm in the wooden shack he built.

These pleasure-seeking bohemians gave Reich pause. He rued that they were hijacking his Utopian concepts to unleash “a free-for-all fucking epidemic”. Post-war America was an all too fertile ground for his radical ideas, it seems, as leftist intellectuals flailed about for a new language of opposition to replace Marxist dogma. Reich’s theories about sex made promiscuity seem rebellious and self-affirming.

In 1947 Reich was accused in the press of starting a “new cult of sex and anarchy”. A year later Alfred Kinsey published his explosive report about sexuality, which found that American Puritanical mores were out of sync with reality. The McCarthy trials—which sought links between sexual liberation and communism—added to the hysteria. The Food and Drug Administration began a crackdown on Reich’s work, finding it menacing. The government ultimately demanded that all of Reich’s orgone boxes be incinerated along with his books, and then sent him to prison, where he died of a heart attack in 1957.

Why was Reich considered so dangerous? Though possibly a paranoid schizophrenic, who spent the last years of his life convinced that the world was under attack by UFOs, he offered an intellectual rationale for the sexual revolution. But he also came to regret opening this Pandora’s box. Reich predicted that America’s liberated excesses would be countered by repression, just like in Stalin’s Russia.

Yet Mr Turner suggests a different legacy, one that haunted Herbert Marcuse. The German sociologist, disillusioned by the sexually omnivorous 1960s, came to believe that liberated sexual desires had been co-opted to serve capitalism; advertisers had figured out how to exploit libidinal urges to inspire “false needs”. But this overlooks the benefits. The sexual revolution may not have yielded a neurosis-free Utopia soundscaped with the glorious yelps of orgasms. But a more open society and greater sexual tolerance (at least in the West) means fewer people are looking for pleasure in a funny wooden box.
from The Economist

July 16, 2011

Her aims

In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League (ABCL). (Eventually, in 1942, this is the organization that became known as Planned Parenthood.)

In her book, “The Pivot of Civilization,” Margaret Sanger herself listed the goals of the ABCL:

(1) “Research: To collect the findings of scientists, concerning the relation of reckless breeding to the evils of delinquency, defect and dependence;

(2) “Investigation: To derive from these scientifically ascertained facts and figures, conclusions which may aid all public health and social agencies in the study of problems of maternal and infant mortality, child-labor, mental and physical defects and delinquence in relation to the practice of reckless parentage.

(3) “Hygienic and Physiological: Instruction by the Medical profession to mothers and potential mothers in harmless and reliable methods of Birth Control in answer to their requests for such knowledge.

(4) “Sterilization of the insane and mentally retarded and the encouragement of this operation upon those afflicted with inherited or transmissible diseases, with the understanding that sterilization does not deprive the individual of his or her sex expression, but merely renders him incapable of producing children.

(5) “Education: The program of education includes: The enlightenment of the public at large, mainly through the education of leaders of thought and opinion–teachers, ministers, editors and writers to the moral and scientific soundness of the principles of Birth Control and the imperative necessity of its adoption as the basis of national and racial progress.

(6) “Political and Legislative: To enlist the support and cooperation of legal advisers, statesmen and legislators in effecting the removal of state and federal statutes which encourage dysgenic breeding, increase the sum total of disease, misery and poverty and prevent the establishment of a policy of national health and strength.

(7) “Organization: To send into the various States of the Union field workers to enlist the support and arouse the interest of the masses, to the importance of Birth Control so that laws may be changed and the establishment of clinics made possible in every State.

(8) “International: This department aims to cooperate with similar organizations in other countries to study Birth Control in its relations to the world population problem, food supplies, national and racial conflicts, and to urge all international bodies organized to promote world peace, the consideration of these aspects of international amity.”

from her read-between-the-lines opponent

+ how a woman respected by so many in my mother's generation could be reviled by so many today.

July 10, 2011

the most valuable contribution to the advancement of human welfare

Pictorial Review 1923-01in the year 1923
Sanger was the second

read more with lots of interesting linx

written by Cathy Moran Hajo at Margaret Sanger Papers Project Research Annex

July 5, 2011

Sanger is pro life

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger, adored and reviled as the mother of birth control, published her autobiography in 1938 when she was 59 years old. Republished in 1971 by Dover, the book is still in print. I found it while browsing the biography section of the public library, and I thought I’d like to know more about this controversial pioneer. It turned out to be the most fascinating book I’ve read so far this year.

I know that some social conservatives despise Mrs. Sanger. One of her organizations evolved into Planned Parenthood, which is hated primarily because it gives women access to abortions and secondarily because it gives unmarried women access to contraception. In reaction, some have portrayed Sanger as a eugenicist of near Nazi ferocity, eager to improve the race through selective breeding, sterilization and murder of the unfit. They accuse her of aiming to exterminate people of color. They attribute her widespread support among African American leaders to a diabolical campaign of duplicity.

It’s hard to imagine anyone quite so powerful as the monster they depict, particularly if the supposed villain is a diminutive woman in an era when women did not have the vote and were barred from most influential occupations. Indeed, much of the book is a record of the obstacles Sanger faced as she struggled to help disadvantaged women learn how to space their children and produce fewer of them. She had frequent run-ins with Catholic prelates, of course. Time and again the police raided her headquarters, destroyed her property, terrorized her clients, and hauled her off to jail. Courts usually ruled against her. Congress repeatedly refused to consider bills favoring the distribution of information about contraception.

Yet nothing could stop the hundreds of thousands of women who wrote to her begging for help, and nothing could stop Sanger from attempting to provide it.

On “one stifling mid-July day of 1912,” Sanger, a public health nurse who worked in New York’s slums, had had an epiphany. A truck driver, Jake Sachs, had called a doctor to help his 28-year-old wife, who was dying of septicemia following a self-induced abortion. The young couple already had three children, and the wife was convinced they could afford no more. The doctor sent for Sanger, and for two weeks the two of them worked to save Mrs. Sachs. At the end she pulled through, but the doctor warned that another pregnancy would kill her.
“I know, doctor,” she replied timidly, “but,” and she hesitated as though it took all her courage to say it, “what can I do to prevent it?”
   The doctor was a kindly man, and he had worked hard to save her, but such incidents had become so familiar to him that he had long since lost whatever delicacy he might once have had. He laughed good-naturedly. “You want to have your cake and eat it too, do you? Well, it can’t be done.”
   Then picking up his hat and bag to depart he said, “Tell Jake to sleep on the roof.” [91]
Three months later, Jake Sachs again called Mrs. Sanger, who again rushed to their apartment. Mrs. Sachs died within ten minutes of her arrival. That night, Sanger paced for hours through city streets.
When I finally arrived home and let myself quietly in, all the household was sleeping. I looked out my window and down upon the dimly lighted city. Its pains and griefs crowded in upon me, a moving picture rolled before my eyes with photographic clearness: women writhing in travail to bring forth little babies; the babies themselves naked and hungry, wrapped in newspapers to keep them from the cold; six-year-old children with pinched, pale, wrinkled faces, old in concentrated wretchedness, pushed into gray and fetid cellars, crouching on stone floors, their small scrawny hands scuttling through rags, making lamp shades, artificial flowers; white coffins, black coffins, coffins, coffins interminably passing in never-ending succession. The scenes piled one upon another on another. I could bear it no longer.
   … I went to bed, knowing that no matter what it might cost, I was finished with palliatives and superficial cures; I was resolved to seek out the root of evil, to do something to change the destiny of mothers whose miseries were as vast as the sky. [92]
In 1912, contraception was illegal. Doctors could not dispense contraceptive devices to women (though apparently they were allowed to give men condoms to prevent STDs). The Comstock law prohibited even speaking or writing about contraception. Somehow the rich knew how to get around those laws; their families tended to be of modest size. The poor, however, had no idea how to space their children or limit their number. As a result, many desperately poor women gave birth 12, 15, even 18 times, if they lived so long. The majority of immigrant and working-class children died before reaching adulthood, and the survivors were often malnourished, sickly, uneducated, and often brain damaged as well.

Today Americans rightly protest the cruel treatment of dogs in puppy mills. A mere hundred years ago, many urban Americans lived in conditions that were just as bad. And almost nobody dared to tell women that they didn’t have to have a baby every year, that they could limit their children to a number they could support. Nobody dared to provide them with devices that would enable them to have fewer births, but also fewer deaths and more surviving children. Almost nobody, that is, but Margaret Sanger and the people who worked with her.

Her story is more than a history of birth control in America. Much of it reads like a vivid travel memoir: Sanger visited many countries and recorded her observations and impressions. It is also a fascinating social history of the now almost-forgotten lifestyles and mores of the early 20th century. Besides, the book is fun to read: Sanger is a clever writer. She describes one newly married couple, for example, as having “little but love, faith, and hope to save them from charity.” Here is her one-sentence characterization of a lawyer she consulted: “The seeds of social service had been planted in him; his legal training only temporarily slowed down their growth.”

So what about Sanger’s supposed secret schemes of race purification? I found no evidence of them in this book. Some of her supporters were indeed eugenicists – people who thought that the mentally and morally unfit should be sterilized. That view was quite common until at least mid-20th century (my own evangelical parents said similar things) and Sanger probably shared it, but it was not her primary concern. The way she wanted to purify the race was to allow people to choose the number of children they bore, so that they could adequately feed, clothe, and educate their families. Then, she believed, far fewer children would be sickly, far fewer mothers would die in childbirth, and far more children would live to adulthood. In this way, she thought, the human race would become stronger.

Interestingly, some of Sanger’s views are at odds with the views of many Planned Parenthood advocates today. In October of 1916, she opened a birth control clinic in Brooklyn. Women were admitted in groups to learn how to plan their families.
To each group, [she writes,] we explained simply what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way – no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way – it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun. [217]
Her pro-life views conflicted with those of a prominent German gynecologist she interviewed in 1920. When she opined that abortion was a ridiculous substitute for contraception,
the doctor rose, his chest sticking out; he buttoned his coat, bowed formally, and inquired, “Where did you say you came from?”
   “New York City.”
   “Are you sure you are not from France or Belgium?”
   “Certainly not.”
   “Nobody who has the welfare of Germany at heart could talk to me as you have this morning. Only enemies could come here to give such information [about contraception] to our women.”
   I wished he would sit down; he made me nervous. But I went on. “Why is it such an act of enmity to advocate contraceptives rather than abortions? Abortions, as you know yourself, may be quite dangerous, whereas reliable contraceptives are harmless. Why do you oppose them?”
   To my horror he replied, “We will never give over the control of our numbers to the women themselves. What, let them control the future of the human race? With abortions it is in our hands; we make the decisions, and they must come to us.”
   That was not the tone of this doctor alone but also that of most of his confrères. [286]
Margaret Sanger was, I believe, pro-life. She was also pro-choice. People on both sides of today’s culture war have a lot to thank her for.

It’s easy for us older folks to complain that the world is going to hell. Whenever I get in a curmudgeonly mood, the surest cure is to watch an old movie or read an old book and notice how people lived and how women were regarded back then. Sanger’s autobiography made me profoundly grateful to live in an era when women are, comparatively speaking, respected; when most children – even of the poor – survive to adulthood; and when the Constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech is taken for granted.

June 12, 2011

Why some of America's most prominent minds fell for the wildly eccentric ideas of Wilhelm Reich

The spiritual hysteria that Reich inspired in the America of the 1940s and early '50s is as hard to explain now as the madness that 1920s crowds felt hearing Bix Beiderbecke play the cornet, especially when you consider that most Reichians were supposed to be educated skeptics and cultural critics. Even—or especially—intellectuals are not immune to America's chronic and recurring religious revivals in their various forms.

Reich was big, handsome and sexy, with a frenetic innocence about him, along with a martyred air that was emphasized by the stigmata of severe psoriasis. The German accent helped—would any American have paid attention to Freud if he'd been Seth Hawkins from Brattleboro, Vt.? Reich was greeted as a rogue saint by educated progressives who had been inspired to rebel against puritans and Victorians by sexologists such as Havelock Ellis and by birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger.

June 7, 2011

Saving Family Planning for the Next Generation

Monday, June 6, 2011| Nancy K. Kaufman | Special to the Jewish Week

For persons below a certain age, the idea that "any person" could be sent to jail for using "any drug, medicinal article, or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception" must seem preposterous.

Nevertheless, it took the Supreme Court's 1965 decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, the anniversary of which we celebrate on June 7, to toss such laws out. The court's decision reflected a broad consensus on married couples' right to privacy in accessing birth control and laid the groundwork for decisions and laws which soon followed, affirming each individual's right to privacy in family planning decisions.

Five years later, President Richard Nixon signed into law Title X, the federal program that still funds family planning programs across the nation. Introduced by then-Rep. George H.W. Bush (later president of the US 1989-1993), it had bipartisan support. Shortly thereafter, in 1972, Medicaid was established, which then provided health care, including contraception and other reproductive health care services, to eligible low-income women.

Taken together, these federally-funded programs have enabled tens of millions of women to exercise their own judgment when making private healthcare decisions, providing them the ability to control when they have, or choose not to have, children.

In March 2010, President Obama signed the landmark Affordable Care Act, which promises to provide access to health care for the vast majority of the American population. Fulfillment of this promise depends on the design of the law's implementation, and one of the many things on the table is how the Affordable Care Act will treat contraceptive services for women.

This summer, the Committee on Preventive Services for Women at the Institute of Medicine will make recommendations to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, about what preventive services for women should be covered under the law by insurance plans with no cost-sharing. That in the 21st century we have to ask whether reproductive health care services should be covered on the same basis as other health care services is a measure of the difficult times we are in.

Today 99 percent of American women who have ever had sex have used some form of contraception. Contraceptive use across members of all religious denominations is the rule, not the exception.

And by helping women plan the timing and spacing of their pregnancies, contraceptive use results in positive health, social, and economic outcomes for women, their children, and their families.

Yet somehow, we are struggling to ensure that reproductive health care is treated as an integral part of health care for women - a struggle that harks back to the efforts to prevent Margaret Sanger from distributing her pamphlet, Family Limitation, in 1912, nearly100 years ago.

Notwithstanding public opinion to the contrary, the House of Representatives recently voted to defund Title X altogether in the 2011 federal budget, a move directed primarily at Planned Parenthood, the largest single recipient of funds to provide reproductive health care and other services women need -- pelvic exams; pregnancy testing; screening for cervical and breast cancer; for sexually transmitted infections (including HIV); for high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes; as well as referrals for other services. While the Senate did not follow suit, is likely the House will try again when it votes on the 2012 budget. Some states have also debated funding cuts for reproductive health care despite public support; New Jersey eliminated all family planning funding in 2010.

In this atmosphere, guaranteeing insurance coverage of contraceptive services on the same terms as other needed preventive services governed by the Affordable Care Act is a vital step for women both practically and symbolically.

Not only would such inclusion address concerns about women's access to the birth control method that works best for them, but it would reiterate the federal government's commitment to ensuring that all women, regardless of their financial circumstances, have access to affordable reproductive health care. It would enable all women to make their own decisions about their reproductive lives, relying on their own moral, ethical, and religious beliefs. It would honor Griswold, and ensure that women will continue to enjoy the constitutional rights affirmed by the Supreme Court 46 years ago for centuries to come. Secretary Sebelius must provide such a guarantee. Anything less will be a victory for reaction and a defeat for gender equality.

Nancy K. Kaufman is the chief executive officer of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)

May 31, 2011

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….A rich friend from early days, Mabel Dodge, recalled that Margaret was the first woman she ever knew who openly propagandized the pleasures of the flesh “as a sacred and at the same time a scientific reality.” ….

By Anne Barbeau Gardiner, New Oxford Review, September 2006
Anne Barbeau Gardiner is a Contributing Editor of the NOR. She has published on Dryden, Milton, and Swift, as well as on Catholics of the 17th century, and is Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, saw herself as “The New Woman,” one emancipated from traditional religion and morality, empowered to have sex without procreation, and able to compete publicly with men. Yet behind this façade was a soul lost in emptiness and degradation.
An atheist who scorned all hope of an afterlife, Margaret Sanger lived entirely for the here and now. Born in 1879, she married twice and cheated on both spouses. Her first husband, whom she wed in August 1902 and divorced in 1921, was the socialist Bill Sanger. With him she had three much-neglected children. While married to Bill — and this is proven by letters and journals that survive — she had many affairs, some lasting for years, with such men as the Editor of American Parade Walter Roberts, the well-known English sexologist Havelock Ellis, the Spanish radical Lorenzo Portet, and the English patrician Hugh de Selincourt, as well as his wife Janet. These are facts, not rumors or suspicions, since her adulteries are well documented in the definitive biography, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America written by Ellen Chesler, who makes use of the archives in Smith College and the Library of Congress. Why did Margaret not destroy these compromising papers? Like a female Dorian Gray, she kept her scabrous self hidden away for her entire life. But perhaps she thought that was long enough and wanted to be “outed” after her death.
A rich friend from early days, Mabel Dodge, recalled that Margaret was the first woman she ever knew who openly propagandized the pleasures of the flesh “as a sacred and at the same time a scientific reality.” This is a crucial point: It was Margaret’s trademark to speak of sex with a combination of sentiment and science. Science here means the pseudo-science of eugenics, part of Herbert Spencer’s religion of evolutionism, which was a public craze at that time. Margaret and her associates wanted to legalize not just birth control, but also forced sterilization of the “unfit,” so those classes would breed less and ease the burden on rich taxpayers. In the 1920s she was subsidized by a set of wealthy people who dabbled in population control (as the ultra-rich still do today). These millionaires imagined that they were the “fit” class and that they could seize the reins from Nature and direct the evolution of the human species to a higher level. Mostly they wanted to ensure that the breeding of inferior classes would be curtailed. Angela Franks has recently published an important work, Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy, which demonstrates how deeply the founder of Planned Parenthood was implicated in eugenics and in the Spencerian faith in evolutionism.
These two ways of looking at sex — sacred and scientific — would be contradictory if not for the fact that sacred here is only a smokescreen to hide the main point — that human sex is nothing more than the crude coupling of animals. When Margaret was going around lecturing about the need for medical control of human breeding and lacing her talks with sentimental rhetoric, she was only repeating what she had learned in England in 1914 from her mentor Havelock Ellis, also an atheist. Ellis taught that sex was a matter of biology and anthropology, but it could have a spiritual dimension. A precursor of Kinsey, Ellis produced the first clinical study of homosexuals, claimed their orientation was genetic, and demanded legal protection for them. He supported co-education and sex-education for children, as well as organized feminism, and he labeled as normal even the sexual perversions of sadism and masochism. Chesler says that it is “virtually impossible to overestimate” his influence on Margaret Sanger. She imbibed his theories uncritically and formed from them the basis of her birth-control agenda. She also saw his teaching as a green light for her own misbehavior.
Later, though, when Ellis’s memoirs came out posthumously in 1940, Margaret was disappointed at the romantic nostalgia with which he wrote about his marriage to Edith, a lesbian. (Part of this was the result of guilt, since his sexual infatuation with Margaret had hastened his wife’s death.) Margaret complained that these memoirs “undermined the empirical scientific basis of Ellis’s sex research and theory,” which had been the “foundation” of “her own life and work.” Here she made it perfectly clear that a “scientific” approach to sex was the groundwork of her Birth Control League, later to be called Planned Parenthood.
Margaret’s second husband was Noah Slee, a multi-millionaire who was 20 years her senior and who left his wife within months of meeting Margaret. They were married in September 1922. At the time, Noah was unaware that Margaret — even in the weeks leading up to their wedding — was meeting secretly with multiple sex partners in England. In 1924 she would also add Harold Child and H.G. Wells to her list of playmates across the pond. Wells once flattered her by saying she had a “scientific quality of mind,” a compliment on which she preened herself even to old age. In the 1920s she also became sexually involved with three Americans: Bill Williams, Herbert Simonds, and Harold Hersey. From 1933 to 1935, in her mid-fifties, she engaged in an affair with Angus Sneed MacDonald, explaining at the end that she could not marry him because it would damage her reputation to be twice-divorced. Thus, the New Woman had to weigh private pleasures against the public appearance of virtue. Even in the 1940s, when she was in her mid-sixties, she had a six-year fling with Hobson Pittman, a landscape painter who was 20 years her junior. She told close friends that he was for fun, “not for keeps,” and that she dared not marry him, for fear of what the press might say.
Her first husband was aware of her infidelities. In response to his rebukes, she insinuated that their marriage might survive if their adulteries were mutual. It was his fault, then, if he was unadventurous, for she would accept no blame for her conduct — such being “the way of an adulterous woman, who eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no evil’” (Prov. 30:20). Her second husband, Noah, seems to have been blind to her doings. She managed to keep him in the dark by making him sign a prenuptial contract, pledging that she would have her separate residence with separate keys and that she, the New Woman, would retain full freedom to visit and entertain friends in privacy. She guarded this privacy fiercely — as well she might. Such was the founder of Planned Parenthood. And since figs are not gathered from thorns, or grapes from the bramble bush, the organization which sprang from Ellis and Sanger still keeps the same drumbeat today, now urging the privacy rights of minors — little girls lured into promiscuity by sex-education, then advised to have abortions without parental knowledge or consent.
How empty is a life spent running from one sex partner to another! St. Augustine speaks of how people like her are in endless motion, yet going nowhere — how they “go about and stand not, how they go in the circle of error, where the journeying is without end.” Again and again she confided to her journal that she was lonely, depressed, even despairing — yet she never changed. By then, maybe, she could no longer change, since vice had turned to addiction, a form of slavery. Though she found no joy in being the New Woman, she made it her life’s work to “liberate” other women, too, from chastity and “involuntary motherhood” by means of her Birth Control League…………..CONTINUED………..
Besides this, she had an addiction to vainglory. The stories she told about herself were peppered with lies meant to make her more admirable. She was the sixth of 11 children born to poor Irish parents, but she longed to be of the privileged class, at least by marriage, so she used to claim that Bill Sanger’s father had been an English merchant and his mother the daughter of a German mayor. She knew perfectly well that her father-in-law was a Jew who had immigrated in 1878 and worked in the garment district. Moreover, having little formal education but being gifted in the art of imitation, Margaret took over the feminist agenda and rhetoric of Emma Goldman, without so much as a thank you. Much of her talk about “voluntary motherhood” through contraception came from Goldman, but she pretended it was of her own devising, never acknowledging any debt in her autobiographies, and in 1934 even refusing to support Goldman’s attempt to regain U.S. citizenship. And here is another instance of how she rewrote her past life to raise herself: In 1939 she claimed that Havelock Ellis had guided her reading at the British Museum for a year and a half, when she had been under his tutelage for only a month and a half. Her fibs were meant to make her seem more ladylike, original, and educated than she really was.
In 1914, while traveling in Europe with Lorenzo Portet, Margaret sent home articles and letters in which she made her association with him public, but hid its sexual nature, intimating that she was the guest of Portet and his wife. Her biographer notes that beyond a handful of close friends — not family members or colleagues — no one knew of her Dionysian side. She rightly feared that the American public would turn in disgust from a birth-control movement championed by so disreputable a woman. From first to last, therefore, she wore the mask of virtue and pretended to fight for birth control for altruistic reasons, rather than because her private behavior made it a dire necessity. To this day, Planned Parenthood keeps up the same pretense of virtue, spreading and supporting unbridled sexuality, while purporting to be defending the rights of privacy and individual autonomy which are allegedly enshrined (though invisibly) in the U.S. Constitution.
To prove that what she really wanted was to free women from “involuntary motherhood,” Margaret would recount again and again the same sob story about a married woman named Sadie Sachs, who allegedly died in front of her as a result of a second self-induced abortion. Her story presented Sadie as the hapless victim of benighted laws that denied poor Jewish immigrants like her easy access to birth control. Never mind that such immigrants were precisely those whose fertility the eugenicists associated with Margaret wanted to limit or suppress. Margaret provoked tears over Sadie’s plight, then launched into the “scientific” side of sex and urged that the medical profession be put in control of women’s fertility. To this day, Planned Parenthood uses the same sort of sentimental ploy to preach the message of medical control over late-term abortions and experimentation with embryos.
When Noah built her an estate in Fishkill, New York, in the 1920s, she wrote to her playmate Hugh: “If only I could fly by night to London to see you & Havelock & Harold — I’d be ready to say this is paradise.” Then, when she was in England in 1924 sleeping with two new partners, H.G. Wells and Harold Child, she sent Noah effusive love letters, protesting that “England is nothing without my adorable lover husband.” She wrote to him at length about her meetings with Harold Child, but made their association look perfectly above board. In later years she would laugh about how she fooled her husband, as for instance on February 2, 1934, when she wrote to Angus MacDonald that she had lied to Noah and his guests about the flowers she had received. If her husband grew suspicious, she rebuked him sharply and then laughed about it later with her partner. Such conduct in a woman of 55 is infantile, and it is proof she had been going in a circle for a long time. No wonder Dante draws Hell as a set of closed circles.
After the stock-market crash of 1929, Noah was virtually ruined, so Margaret felt less obligated to be by his side. She pretended she was devoting herself night and day to the birth-control movement and would spend months without seeing him (he died in 1943). Even so, she would, like Thaïs the courtesan (sunk in excrement for flatteries to lovers in Dante’s Inferno), send him flattering letters about what a terrific lover he was. When her husband grieved over the length of her absences, she told him in no uncertain terms that she was the New Woman who would never compromise her freedom or put aside her public work for any man. Sometimes, too, she used another ploy: She blamed him for misunderstanding her and thus for keeping her at a distance. Before his face, she was the aggrieved wife, but behind his back, a virtual Messalina.
At Noah’s memorial service in Fishkill, Margaret gave herself a eulogy, declaring that she had always “fascinated” Noah, for she was the “quicksilver” that he could never “quite catch.” Here she drew an uncannily accurate self-portrait. For quicksilver is mercury, a poisonous substance, and a person who is mercurial is cunning, restless, and unpredictable. Another time she told a sex partner that she was a “will o’ the wisp.” Again, she chose an eerily revealing image. For a will o’ the wisp is a delusory light that dances over a swamp and leads night travelers astray, even to their death by drowning. On some level she seems to have known how destructive a woman she was.
Since Margaret was an atheist who denied the Redemption and the Resurrection, she found guilt and death nearly impossible to face. When her daughter Peggy died of pneumonia in 1915, shortly after Margaret’s return from a year of cavorting abroad, she was haunted by the sound of halting footsteps (Peggy had limped from polio) and had nightmares of losing a child. She dreamed that she was in the middle of a disaster and worried about Peggy, and then she would realize in the dream that she had neglected her child for years and had no clue of her whereabouts. For help in this crisis she turned to the occult. Havelock Ellis introduced her to Rosicrucianism so she could empower herself by connecting to a “spark of divinity” within. He explained to her that science and this type of mysticism were not in conflict. Sunk in loneliness and despair, she would thereafter seek out psychics and theosophists to try to make contact with her child. Her dabbling in the occult led to a delusory comfort: She confided to a friend that she could now talk to her dead child and that she had created a space, separate from the rest of the world, in which Peggy could grow up to maturity. This Peter Pan substitute for the Resurrection did not keep her from bouts of depression, and her sexual escapades offered only temporary reprieves from dejection.
Toward the end of her life, she confessed that she had long ago “entrusted her spirit” to the Rosicrucian Society, yet she seemed to know little about the Society. In 1951, when she was in her 70s, she enrolled in a Rosicrucian mail-order course to learn more. From that course she became convinced that she would not die because, as her biographer reports, she saw that she “embodied the aspirations of all women on earth” and was “their chosen agent of liberation.” Evidently, the Rosicrucians were not in the business of teaching humility! In 1954 she said in an interview that she liked the Rosicrucians “because of their interest in the enhanced spiritual powers of women and their sympathy for political feminism.” In this fake spirituality she found fleeting compensation for the brutal emptiness of her scientific materialism.
After all that, it is not surprising to learn that Margaret had a rabid hatred of the Catholic Church. She rightly saw the Church as the great enemy and chief obstacle of the Birth Control League. In the 1920s Catholics presented a united front and gave public warnings that were clearly inspired and prophetic. They declared that legalizing birth control would lead to refined materialism and selfish individualism, would degrade marriage, would cause husband and wife to see each other as instruments of sexual gratification, and would weaken their self-control, as well as their capacity for self-denial. Even Gandhi agreed with the Catholic view when Margaret Sanger visited him and tried to bring him around to her worldview. Archbishop Patrick J. Hayes of New York put it bluntly: Easy access to artificial contraception would lead to a “wild orgy of atheism and immorality.” These predictions have manifestly been fulfilled.
In the 1930s Catholics also gave prophetic warning that if Margaret Sanger and her Birth Control League had their way, the floodgates of pornography would be opened and abortion would soon be legalized. A generation before Roe v. Wade, they could see that legalized abortion was around the corner once easy access to birth control made immorality rampant.
In conclusion, Margaret Sanger can be compared to Semiramis, the mythical queen of Babylon who supplanted her husband and made sexual immorality the law of the land. She did this because she herself was lascivious and her abrogation of virtue brought about the ruin of her nation. Margaret Sanger’s private life was obviously the hidden spring of her public actions. This now has to be admitted. She worked tirelessly to overturn the laws against obscenity, birth control, and abortion mainly because her secret lifestyle made all these things necessary. For at the root of her agenda and that of Planned Parenthood was and is a pseudo-scientific view of human sexuality as something even lower than the coupling of animals.