Margaret Sanger Opens First Birth Control Clinic in the US

A little bit of “today in history…” thanks to the Mid-Columbia Today radio show. Quoted from Wikipedia:

On October 16, 1916, Sanger opened a family planning and birth control clinic at 46 Amboy St. in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, the first of its kind in the United States.

Wikipedia emphasizes her compassion for women whose lives were dominated by the children they bore. She herself was one of eleven children. In 1912,

Margaret and William became immersed in the radical bohemian culture that was then flourishing in Greenwich Village. They became involved with local intellectuals, artists, socialists, and activists for political reform, including John Reed, Upton Sinclair, Mabel Dodge, and Emma Goldman. Starting in 1911, Sanger wrote a series of articles about sexual education entitled “What Every Mother Should Know” and “What Every Girl Should Know” for the socialist magazine New York Call.

Besides her mission of mercy toward overburdened mothers, Wikipedia also describes a deeper agenda, “Sanger believed that through selective abortions and birth control the white race could be purified and what she termed as the ‘undesireables’ could be controlled.” For example, “The mission of the clinic in Harlem was to control and help limit the African American population.”

Sanger founded the precursor to Planned Parenthood in 1921, and was eventually president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. From her own life, it’s clear that the “planning” advocated by Planned Parenthood is meant to be done partly by the parents, and partly by social engineers like Sanger. In that respect, she was a product of her time, when communism and eugenics were fashionable even in the United States. While not all advocates of abortion today would agree with Sanger’s deeper agenda, it’s likely that many do. The reason it’s not advocated so openly today is the intervening period of Hitler and the Third Reich, with their aggressive eugenics and racial purification programs. On that scale, the world recognized this agenda for the evil that it is. The evil becomes harder to recognize when seen in the idealistic agenda of a single person, or even a “family planning clinic,” but it’s really a difference in magnitude only, not a difference in kind.

Meanwhile, here is what our Large Catechism says under the heading of the Fourth Commandment:

In addition, it would be well to preach to the parents also, and such as bear their office, as to how they should deport themselves toward those who are committed to them for their government. For although this is not expressed in the Ten Commandments, it is nevertheless abundantly enjoined in many places in the Scripture. And God desires to have it embraced in this commandment when He speaks of father and mother. For He does not wish to have in this office and government knaves and tyrants; nor does He assign to them this honor, that is, power and authority to govern, that they should have themselves worshiped; but they should consider that they are under obligations of obedience to God; and that, first of all, they should earnestly and faithfully discharge their office, not only to support and provide for the bodily necessities of their children, servants, subjects, etc., but, most of all, to train them to the honor and praise of God. Therefore do not think that this is left to your pleasure and arbitrary will, but that it is a strict command and injunction of God, to whom also you must give account for it.

But here again the sad plight arises that no one perceives or heeds this, and all live on as though God gave us children for our pleasure or amusement, and servants that we should employ them like a cow or ass, only for work, or as though we were only to gratify our wantonness with our subjects, ignoring them, as though it were no concern of ours what they learn or how they live; and no one is willing to see that this is the command of the Supreme Majesty, who will most strictly call us to account and punish us for it; nor that there is so great need to be so seriously concerned about the young. For if we wish to have excellent and apt persons both for civil and ecclesiastical government, we must spare no diligence, time, or cost in teaching and educating our children, that they may serve God and the world, and we must not think only how we may amass money and possessions for them. For God can indeed without us support and make them rich, as He daily does. But for this purpose He has given us children, and issued this command that we should train and govern them according to His will, else He would have no need of father and mother. Let every one know, therefore, that it is his duty, on peril of losing the divine favor, to bring up his children above all things in the fear and knowledge of God, and if they are talented, have them learn and study something, that they may be employed for whatever need there is [to have them instructed and trained in a liberal education, that men may be able to have their aid in government and in whatever is necessary].

And under The Fifth Commandment:

Therefore the entire sum of what it means not to kill is to be impressed most explicitly upon the simple-minded. In the first place, that we harm no one, first, with our hand or by deed. Then, that we do not employ our tongue to instigate or counsel thereto. Further, that we neither use nor assent to any kind of means or methods whereby any one may be injured. And finally, that the heart be not ill disposed toward any one, nor from anger and hatred wish him ill, so that body and soul may be innocent in regard to every one, but especially those who wish you evil or inflict such upon you. For to do evil to one who wishes and does you good is not human, but diabolical.

It should go without saying, but Luther would consider unborn human babies to be protected by this commandment just as much as any other human being. There can be do doubt about that.

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