5 Reasons Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger Shouldn’t Be on the $20 Bill

Though maybe we could compromise and use her picture on death certificates.

Margaret Sanger's outspoken support of sexual liberation and "family planning" was undergirded by her belief in the quack science of eugenics.

By John Zmirak Published on March 20, 2015

The New York Times is trying to stoke demand for the replacement of Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, citing his cruel treatment of Indians. That has a certain logic to it, whether or not you agree. Besides, the Times says, it’s time we had a woman on some of our currency. Again, fair enough.

But it’s hard to take the paper’s objections to racism or its respect for women  seriously when one of the candidates presented in the Times‘ symposium is Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, a sexual libertine who fought to make birth control not just legal but mandatory — for members of racial and social groups whom she considered “inferior.”

A devotee of the then-popular pseudoscience of eugenics, Sanger used its dubious theories to stoke the fears of native-born white Americans (mostly from Northern Europe) about the “inferior” genetic stock that was flooding into America from places like Italy, Poland and Russia.

Coincidentally, Christianity Today recently ran a sympathetic defense of Sanger, so there seems to be some collective amnesia about what she believed. I collected just a few choice quotes from Margaret Sanger (courtesy of Live Action) that ought to do more than keep her face off our money; they should move us to cut off the $540 million in taxpayers’ money (as of 2013) that supports Planned Parenthood — an organization which performs one-fourth of America’s abortions, covers up cases of statutory rape and teaches teenagers “the ropes” about how to practice sadomasochism. Here’s one quote for each objection to honoring Sanger in any way.

1. She saw human beings as unwanted pets.

“The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” (Woman and the New Race, ch. 6).

2. She believed that criminal tendencies are inherited.

 “[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.” (“Plan for Peace” from Birth Control Review [April 1932, pp. 107-108]).

3. She wanted the federal government to decide how many children each couple could have.

Here are some choice suggestions from one of her policy proposals:

Article 1. The purpose of the American Baby Code shall be to provide for a better distribution of babies … and to protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.

Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit …

Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth. (“America Needs a Code for Babies,” March 27, 1934.)

4. She was a racist.

As part of her plan to reduce the size of black families, she wrote:

We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal…. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members. (Letter to Clarence Gamble)

5. She believed that the state should select who could have a family based on IQ tests.

Indeed, through her influence, some 12 states would adopt mandatory sterilization laws. Here’s how she justified that:

Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism.… [Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. (The Pivot of Civilization, Ch. V)

Now I don’t want to seem indifferent to the magnitude of the changes Sanger wrought in human relationships. Perhaps we could compromise with her supporters, and instead of putting her face on American money, we could use it on death certificates.

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  • LT Brass Bancroft

    <—–They should put this guy on the $20 bill.

    • Veritas Magnum

      Maybe a three dollar bill. (LOL, JK)

  • Ray W.

    Does this photo of M. Sanger look rather like — in her younger years — Hillary Rodham Clinton?

    • LT Brass Bancroft

      No. Not enough acne.

      • Ray W.

        Is that a photo of Ronald Reagan? How beautiful people look when they are young — minus all the wisdom wrinkles. +++ Yes, LT Brass, you might be entirely correct regarding Hillary.
        She started life at one point as a rather gangly (based on early photos) “hippie”, met and managed to please a younger Bill, who helped launch her tainted career, one dripping more and more year-after-year with scandals — hers and his.
        You know, on a purely practical level, I still cannot think of ONE accomplishment she has made, EVER; not one improvement to American life; not one unarguably positive achievement that brought useful benefits to our people. Can you? And in their combined wake we still see 1) Vince Foster, 2) a State eagerly reaching out to take hold of and control America’s children, and 3) lies heaped upon lies, a banquet of dissembling piled high upon ever more layers of carefully cultivated mendacity. What a legacy!

    • Proteios

      Her appearance is not of interest. Her own words are. Its about time the people who support abortion take ownership of her racism, her warm reception at her talk before the KKK, her contempt for ‘unregulated’ or perhaps unapproved reproduction and her legacy of exploiting women. Maybe they can also take ownership of the deplorable conditions of these ‘safe and legal’ clinics they block from any form of regulation. The emotional trauma and lets not forget…the murders. Its time the wear this horror around their necks, next to the ‘coat-hanger necklace.

  • Marie

    The last paragraph of this article is brilliant! They should put Horatio Storer on the $20 bill instead. He was a pro-life doctor in the 19th century who campaigned for stringent laws against abortion and persuaded the AMA to combat abortion. His work was so successful that I have heard that if you are a white Protestant, odds are that you have at least one ancestor who was born because of Storer.

    • Robertjm

      One BIG problem with that. The idea is to put a woman on the $20. Going to take a leap of faith that anyone named Horatio probably doesn’t qualify.

  • Proteios

    I think this debate should be had. Why? The choice of this person is an obvious farce. She was a eugenicist of the like that Adolph Hitler, Neizche and many of the time popularized. But I dont think most realize the roots of planned parenthood and the maragaret sanger aaward that so many politicians gleefully accept. A public debate would educate many. Perhaps enlightening their minds to what abortion is really about. Eugenics? Probably not anymore. Now its a business. And pp is very good at suppressing information with accomplices in the media and politics. The decrease in abortions popularity (politically) is based on information availability. When people see what is really going on and how the baby is not a blob of tissue, peoples attitude changes. Knowledge is power. Time people learn what is really behind this industry.

  • mrose

    I will reserve my comments about this woman’s nefarious influence upon society and vote instead for someone like Clara Barton-a true heroine and sacrificial patriot.

  • Veritas Magnum

    I will not reserve my comments about this. We have come a long way since the days of segregation in America, let us not return to the racist views of Margaret Sanger.

    • j anime ramen


  • Robertjm

    Since the idea is to honor someone in connection to the 19th Amendment, which expended voting rights to women it would be more appropriate to select someone actually connected with the suffrage movement. Of those on the short list I’d suggest Alice Paul.

    BTW: The article suggests it’s the NYT who is championing this movement. It’s actually a grassroots organization called Woman on the $20. You can see the other 14 candidates and vote for your choice on their site. The best way to prevent Sanger appearing there would be to vote for someone else.


  • PastorMark

    Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, my mother…could go on and on, but this is just a quick, short list of women more worthy than the ghoulish Margaret Sanger if we want to replace Jackson on the $20.

  • LeRoy Whitman

    I think she _should_ be on a fiat-money debt note. America has become an abortion culture. She was a very large influence in this. So it is appropriate. Do not misunderstand me, however. Just as valuing people more than money is essential to real economy, so repudiation of Mammon and repudiation of the false weights and measures of Fed (debt) Notes is needed. We need to get back to intrinsic value money, just as we need to get back to recognizing children as a blessing. The two are tied together.

    • LeRoy Whitman

      In other words, it is this false currency (it is not “money,” since it has no intrinsic value and is backed by nothing) that must go. Maybe putting pictures like this on the Notes would help believers see this more quickly.

  • Diana

    The sad thing is that in her day and time up till the 60’s a lot of white Americans felt the same way and you know what? i bet if we polled people today there would still be some that believe the way she believes. Scripture tells us to guard our hearts because that is where the issues of life come from, and the law cannot change mans heart. So as followers of Christ i believe that we should live what the scripture says and share it when the Holy Spirit leads us. Not everything is meant to be shared, that’s why Jesus spoke in parables to the masses. Everything is not for everyone.

  • M_Minnesota

    How about having Sarah Hale “The Woman who saved Thanksgiving” She started a letter writing campaign to have a Day of Thanks. President after President rebuffed her until Abraham Lincoln said yes.

  • I would put Madame Sanger on toilet paper – single ply, of course.

  • Michael L

    Almost 60 million killed. Hitler would have
    been proud of those numbers.
    Save the humans!

    PS. What was wrong with keeping Andrew Jackson?

  • Gail Finke

    I don’t think she was a racist as much as that she wanted to get rid of most people she considered undesirable. I think she was pretty even-handed in who that was — most people. She didnt’ care for “Negros” the same way that today’s Sangeresque elites don’t care for non-white Third World people. They don’t care enough about them to be racists. They don’t care about them at all.

  • carlos

    Remember that Hillary Clinton recently received the Margaret Sanger Award and fully endorses all of her beliefs. She seems to have set her sights on the ten dollar bill for Margaret Sanger though. It seems as if Eleonor Roosevelt has been selected for the twenty, even though there are much better choices for that too. Sacagawea would be a better choice for either one. Without her courage and resourcefulness, the Lewis and Clark Expedition would have been wiped out more than once.

  • carlos

    Hitler refined his views on eugenics via Sanger and George Bernard Shaw, among others, not the other way around as some people believe.

  • j anime ramen

    She actually kinda agred with him

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