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The Autobiography of Margaret Sanger Paperback – May 11, 2004
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I learned a great deal about the fight for birth control than I had ever thought possible. I learned that Sanger abhorred abortion while embracing contraception as a means to prevent conception. Ironically, I think this would exclude her from both of today's pro-life and pro-choice sides. An interesting autobiography of a remarkable woman and an important document on the public health struggles at the turn of the twentieth century.
Her battle against Anthony Comstock's puritanical Comstock Law--which made it illegal to give a pamphlet to a woman explaining basic menstruation--is legendary. Her article "Comstockery in America," written in 1915 and discussed in this book, highlighted the campaign by government officials to keep basic information out of the hands of the average person.
Special interest groups have created a campaign over the past 20 years to smear Sanger as a eugenicist, writing books that are published by biased publishing companies as part of a clear agenda. This autobiography stands on its own as one woman's story about her work to spread basic information to families who asked for it.
On page 366 she says she welcomed the opportunity to speak at the woman's branch of the KKK in New Jersey. Yes...you read that right....the KKK. If you need a refresher on who the KKK is....they hung Black Americans like animals from trees, burned their churches and houses....and Sanger welcomed the invitation so she could espouse her doctrine of eugenics.
In a letter she wrote in 1939 to a Dr. C.J. Gamble she told the doctor...."We can't let the negroes know we want to exterminate them.....".
And this woman is considered a "hero".
On one hand, Sanger had a genuine desire to reduce unwanted births and, indirectly, reduce the population of the poor and mistreated. That's an admirable goal, and we read that here.
On the other hand is the ungirdings of her beliefs: that African-Americans were second-class citizens. Backing what she believed was a growing acceptance of eugenics, that to have a better world, the population needed to be genetically purer. For Sanger, not too different than Hitler, this meant encouraging abortions among African-Americans. A harsh truth that isn't popular today, thankfully.
To read Sanger's auto-biography alone might mislead the reader into believing her views were founded in cleanly laid-out welfare theories and of women's rights. That was part of it. But deeper still, and the reason I'm not comfortable fully recommending this book, is her core racial prejudice under the guise of freedom.
I understand my review might offend fans of Sanger, but read it in the context of the era.
Pick up Killer Angel: A Short Biography of Planned Parenthood's Founder, Margaret Sanger, George Grant's book on it. Get past his over-emphasis and extreme bias of his own conservative views, and read his analysis of her own comments. Better yet, if you can find one, read Doug Scott's "...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book leaves out way too much...See the book; Killer Angel for the real story of Margaret Sanger. Read morePublished 6 months ago by mom to many
She was way ahead of her time when it came to family planning.Published 7 months ago by Crazy Gardener
I wanted to read about Margaret Sanger as I had interest in the birth control movement as a whole. Being of the age where birth control was considered a "given", I was... Read morePublished on June 11, 2013 by MichelleB
Margaret Sanger was a racist hateful person bent on exterminating blacks, and according to her, other "unfit" races.. Read morePublished on November 2, 2012 by Tonya V