More thoughts on Margaret Sanger’s obsession with “human weeds” as we approach the 110th anniversary of the founding of Planned Parenthood

By Dave Andrusko

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger

As we discussed last week, we have a near confluence of the 40th anniversary of the life-affirming Hyde Amendment, which we celebrated on Friday, and the 110th anniversary of the life-denying Planned Parenthood Federation of America, October 16.

Today we’ve already discussed, “The importance of continuing to focus on life-saving Hyde Amendment and Clinton’s pledge to eliminate it.” Here I would like to continue posting about PPFA founder Margaret Sanger which we began last week.

Sanger wrote countless outrageous things . The following two examples are taken from a 1925 book to which she contributed an essay and a recent tone-deaf “debunking,” the results of which, inadvertently, were very harsh on Sanger.

Both focus on Sanger’s habit of referring to people whom she didn’t approve of as “weeds” which must be cleared away.

Here’s a passage from, “The Need for Birth Control in America,” which appeared in Birth Control: Facts and Responsibilities, ed. Adolf Meyer, M.D., 1925.

“In his last book, Mr. [H. G.] Wells speaks of the meaningless, aimless lives which cram this world of ours, hordes of people who are born, who live, who die, yet who have done absolutely nothing to advance the race one iota. Their lives are hopeless repetitions. All that they have said has been said before; all that they have done has been done better before. Such human weeds clog up the path, drain up the energies and the resources of this little earth. We must clear the way for a better world; we must cultivate our garden.”

“Hopeless repetitions” that are “clog[ging] up the path” that “we must clear away” so as to “cultivate our garden”?


Sources sympathetic to Sanger delight in making tortuous distinctions without differences. (By the way, our friends at Wikipedia note, “It is particularly used when a word or phrase has connotations associated with it that one party to an argument prefers to avoid.”)


Snopes tried to defang Sanger’s frequent use of “weeds” by “debunking” an assertion that Sanger specified a “particular race or ethnicity.” In other words, if she wrote something really, really ugly but did not mention a particular people, well, no harm, no foul.

Really? Here’s a quote from an April 8, 1923 New York Times article “attributed” to Sanger that Snopes thinks makes it all right. The quote ends thusly:

Succinctly and with telling brevity and precision “Birth Control” summed up our whole philosophy. Birth Control is not contraception indiscriminately and thoughtlessly practiced. It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.

THIS is supposed to make us look at Sanger more favorably, to see her as unfairly picked upon?!

It is eugenics on steroids– eliminating and eventually extirpating “defective stocks” while we “release” and “cultivate” what Sanger believed were “the better racial elements in our society.”

It is telling that one definition of extirpate is “to pull up as if by the roots” which is what you must do if you are to totally eliminate all those human “weeds.”