About Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood

The article below is about Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned
Parenthood.  Lifers often enjoy making her out to be a racist
babykiller, by quoting her out of context.  I hate to think what sort
of disinformation they sent to AT&T about PP, based on their
misconstrual of her intentions.

I don't know the source, but can find out.

Erik, altmann@cs.cmu.edu

Sanger's concern for women began in her own home while growing up.
According to her own account, she had watched her mother wither and
die, largely as the result of having had too many children too close
together. Later on, as a nurse, Sanger saw more of the same:young
women, old and infirm before their time because of having more
children than they physically or emotionally could tolerate. All too
often Sanger saw their determination to control their own fertility
expressed in seeking help from back-alley abortionists or attempting
to terminate pregnancies themselves.

The turning point for Margaret Sanger, and for American women, came
on a steamy summer day in 1912 when she was summoned to a New York
City tenement house to tend a RussZ]ABORTan whowas about 28
years old. The woman's husband, Jake Sachs, had come home to the
cramped apartment and had found his three children crying and his
wife unconscious on the floor from a self-induced abortion. Sanger
did her best to patch the woman up, and after about 2 weeks it
looked as if the patient would recover. At the end of her 3rd week
of looking in on Mrs. Sachs, the frail woman said to Sanger,
"Another baby will finish me, I suppose?" Sanger gently put the
woman off, but when the doctor came, discussed it with him. The
doctor agreed and warned Mrs. Sachs, "Any more such capers, young
woman, and there'll be no need to send for me." When Mrs. Sachs
asked what she could do to prevent another pregnancy, the doctor
told her, "Tell Jake to sleep on the roof."

After the doctor left, Mrs. Sachs begged Margaret Sanger, "Please
tell me the secret, and I'll never breath it to another soul".
Sadly, Sanger did not know the secret. Yet, About 3 months after
this exchange, Jake Sachs called to say his wife was sick
again--with the same problem.  With utter dread, Mrs. Sanger pushed
herself to go to the tenement:

Mrs. Sachs was in a coma and died within 10 minutes. Mrs. Sanger
folded her still hands across her breast remembering how they had
pleaded, begging for the knowledge which was her right. She drew the
sheet over her pallid face. Jake was sobbing, running his hands
through his hair and pulling it out like an insane person. Over and
over he wailed, "My God! My God! My God!"

After leaving the young grief-stricken husband and his three
motherless children, Sanger walked through the quiet city streets
for hours before going home. She stood in her dark apartment staring
out the window, with one tragic scene after another playing itself
out in her consciousness with, as she put it "photographic clarity",
for the pathetic Mrs. Sachs was only one of many:

Quote:  "As I stood there, the darkness faded. The sun came up and
threw its reflection over the house tops. It was the dawn of anew
day in my life also. The doubt and the questioning, the
experimenting and trying, were now to be put behind me. I knew I
could not go back to merely keeping people alive.  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." Unquote

At that time there were numerous states that had enacted laws that
banned the practice of birth control. In New York, there were laws
against "pornography" that made it unlawful to disseminate any
materials that made reference to pregnancy, contraception, or
veneral disease.  Sanger's greatest adversary would prove to be
Anthony Comstock, director of the Society for the Suppression of
Vice in New York City, who invoked the law against pornography to
get Sanger arrested. Interestingly, Comstock, a never-married,
like many anti-abortionists today, was opposed to contraceptionas
well as abortion.

Ultimately Sanger went to Europe seeking effective birth control.
She went to Holland for the purpose of bringing the diaphragm to
American women and she was in for a surprise. In contrast to the
narrow-minded views regarding birth control back home, Sanger found
that not only did the diaphragm come in fourteen different sizes,
but it was sold in shops throughout the country!  Sanger's research
indicated that as a result of effective birth control, infant and
maternal mortality rates had dropped dramatically.

She devoted the rest of her life to the struggle to make birth
control available and often went to jail for the cause. At the time
of her death in 1966, although the distribution of birth control
devices was still illegal in 3 states, most American women had
access to effective contraception, including not only the diaphragm,
but spermicides and the Pill.  An interesting footnote is that the
Pill might not have come into use had it not been for Margaret
Sanger. In the early 1950s, it was Sanger who encouraged Gregory
Pincus to create the first birth-control pill and raised the money
for him to do it. As Dr. John Rock (who is often singly credited
with the development of the Pill, but was in fact a collaborator
with Pincus) has noted, there was no government or foundation
support, just Margaret Sanger's influence on a woman willing to
contribute the necessary funds.