While there were many in the early part of the 20th century who blindly believed the faux science of eugenics, Sanger never backed away from her eugenic convictions. Towards the end of her career she remained resolute. In a 1957 television interview with Mike Wallace, Sanger remarked, “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world that have disease from their parents — that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born.”
Nancy Pelosi is surely not embracing the anti-human ideology of Margaret Sanger through her acceptance of this award. However, as states now wrestle with how to administer justice to those whose lives were torn apart, the failure to acknowledge the history of eugenics, and its relationship to Planned Parenthood’s still-esteemed founder, shows a marked insensitivity by the Congresswoman from California. After all, it was California that led the nation in forced eugenic sterilizations.
The fact that Planned Parenthood cannot distance itself from Sanger’s past does not excuse today’s political leaders from doing so. The powerful prejudices of eugenics are still with us. Today’s new reproductive sciences, combined with rampant abortion, provide those prejudices with an avenue to success the early eugenists could scarcely have imagined. If any of this disturbs Nancy Pelosi, now is the time for her to say so loud and clear.
Marjorie Dannenfelser is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a nationwide network of more than 365,000 Americans dedicated to pursuing policies and electing candidates who will reduce and ultimately end abortion.