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Margaret Sanger and the 'Feeble-Minded' Legacy

Last year we wrote about what happened to Elaine Riddick. The 61-year-old woman was raped at age 13 and became pregnant. The state of North Carolina labeled her feeble-minded and promiscuous and talked her illiterate grandmother into consenting to sterilize her. At age 14, Riddick couldn’t have anymore babies and didn’t find out until she was 19 and married.

In light of the Planned Parenthood aborted-baby selling scandal, WORLD did a cover story on Riddick, who the magazine reported was horrified by the Center for Medical Progress’s videos. An excerpt:

Her forced sterilization wasn’t an isolated incident. From the 1930s to 1970s, officials from government agencies and eugenics boards across 33 states ordered sterilization for at least 60,000 men, women, and children deemed undesirable or unfit.

Reasons ranged from family poverty to a sweeping, ill-defined category of “feeble-mindedness” that ensnared victims of both below-average and above-average intelligence. Eugenics literature decried the idea of these “morons” bearing children.

The plan behind eugenics—driven by Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection (also known as survival of the fittest)—was simple and chilling: Eliminate certain future problems by eliminating certain future people.

The article provides a brief history of Margaret Sanger’s eugenics vision of lowering the birth rate among the “unfit” through sterilization. 

Sanger quoted eugenicist and botanist Luther Burbank’s offensive propaganda claiming lower classes are “weeds” to be eliminated. She condemned charitable efforts to help the poor and needy, lamenting the perpetuation of “undesirables,” and calling such people “this dead weight of human waste.” In her book The Pivot of Civilization, Sanger wrote, “When we realize that each feeble-minded person is a potential source of endless progeny of defect, we prefer the policy of immediate sterilization, of making sure that parenthood is absolutely prohibited to the feeble-minded.”…By 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed.

But abortion advocates don’t care about the legacy. Protect the right to kill “it” at all costs. In the “civilized” U.S., women may have the voiceless and vulnerable unborn life inside them vacuumed out if the pregnancy is inconvenient or otherwise unwanted.

That Riddick couldn’t have more babies broke down her marriage. She still lives with what happened to her. She said this about the Planned Parenthood undercover videos: “It’s as if those babies didn’t have the right to live, and I didn’t have the right to bear children. And there is a connection, whether you’re killing a baby or killing a woman’s womb … I don’t think anyone is qualified to decide who should live and who should give birth.”

Riddick said she’s glad the state couldn’t legally kill the baby she did conceive. Sterilizing someone without his or her knowledge and consent? Cruel. Evil. Treating people like animals. This is the abortion industry’s and Sanger’s legacy.

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