The Margaret Sanger mentality

Margaret Sanger

Those of us involved with pro-life blogging have all stumbled upon a particular “pro-choicer” online: the one who has designated himself the ultimate judge of who should be allowed to have children.

You know the type. It’s gay activist Dan Savage, who said in November that women should be forced to have abortions as he sees fit: “There’s too many goddamn people on the planet. You know, I’m pro-choice, I believe that women should have a right to control their bodies. Sometimes in my darker moments, I’m anti-choice. I think abortion should be mandatory for about 30 years.” This type of pro-choicer is scolding and self-righteous, castigating parents for being “selfish” and bringing children into less-than-perfect circumstances – instead of choosing their preferred option, abortion.

And it’s always been a part of the pro-abortion mentality. This type of pro-choicer often singles out young women, poor people, and people of color as the ones who shouldn’t be having children. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, described poor immigrants as “human weeds,” “reckless breeders,” “spawning … human beings who never should have been born.”

This mentality rears its ugly head when the topic is abortion, of course. But it pops up in subtler ways. Consider what happened to Doyin Richards, a proud black father and blogger at Good Men Project, when he posted a picture of himself doing his daughter’s hair while carrying his other daughter in a frontpack:


The reactions, comments, and emails I received ranged from the overwhelmingly positive to the downright nasty. Here’s a sampling of some of the private messages and comments I received from them after I posted this picture:

– “He probably rented those kids. They don’t even look like him.”

– “I would bet anything that you’re a deadbeat.”

– “OK buddy, cute picture. Now why don’t you hand the children back to their mom so you can go back to selling drugs or your bootleg rap CDs?”

– “So do you do this for all of your illegitimate kids?”

Of course, these critics have no idea whether Richards makes “rap CDs” (he doesn’t) or whether his daughters are “illegitimate” (they’re not). They saw a picture of a black man in camo shorts with his kids and made hateful assumptions about his morals and parenting skills. That led Richards to respond with a post entitled “I Have a Dream: That People Will View a Picture Like This and Not Think It’s a Big Deal.”

Maybe you’re not seeing how the two are connected. Richards labels most of his critics “insecure” men who haven’t stepped up to the plate for their own kids. But those of us who frequent pro-life blogs have heard the same screeching from certain pro-choicers about people who “shouldn’t” be having children. Both rely on stereotypes, assumptions, and sometimes flat-out racism to make their case.

Let’s call it what it is. Pro-choicers who rant about how we need abortion to fix the problem of “illegitimate kids” and “deadbeats” are not at all different from Margaret Sanger plotting to exterminate “human weeds.”

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