Saturday, 11 February 2012

Antichoice resurrects lies about Margaret Sanger.

Over four years ago, I wrote and posted this at Birth Pangs. It's still relevant.

Margaret Sanger: Saint or Fallen Angel?

As mentioned in a previous entry, Reverend Carlton Veazy‘s pictures can be found in the company of altered and faked photographs of Margaret Sanger, on certain websites. It appears that white-supremacy, fetus-fetishizing and/or fundamental religious websites incite their followers to express hatred towards specific targets: Reverend Veazy, Sanger, Archbishop Tutu, Maya Angelou and others.
MargaretSangerandAvabaiWadiaMargaret Sanger is already dead, so that would make her physically immune to the violence and murderous hypocrisy of anti-choice terrorists. Nonetheless, they continue to slander and defame her legacy, and the competition to fabricate the most odious claims is ferocious.

If one were to borrow a tactic from the habitual sniveling and whining that transpires at the abortion-criminalizing blogs, the fetus-fetishizing message boards and the assorted hate-based sites whose members project themselves as modern martyrs to a holy cause, one could imagine that Margaret Sanger deserves to be canonized and elevated to sainthood, if her worthiness is measured against the egregious attacks upon her work.

An impressive number of fact-based, credible and authoritative accounts of Sanger’s accomplishments exist. Archival material is considerable, including a letter from Helen Keller which says, in part:

What a glow of gratification was kindled in my heart when Polly read last week the wonderful news that you had founded the Planned Parenthood Association in India! Not only have I continued to follow your work with loving admiration and expect ever greater results from your beneficence, I have also known of Nehru’s statesmanlike interest in birth-control, and now I behold you and him and Lady Rama Rau working together — a triple Hercules — for the deliverance of a land long cursed with excess of population. I cannot imagine anything more blessed happening on earth.

Spurious claims about Sanger’s work appear on the forementioned hate-mongers’ websites. In the spirit of fairness, equal consideration should be awarded to what critics claim about Mother Teresa and her work, since some imagine her to be a saint.

For example, Mother Teresa supported Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s suspension of civil liberties in India in 1975, and she accepted the Légion d’honneur in 1981 from Jean-Claude Duvalier, the homicidal right-wing dictator of Haiti. She received considerable donations from Charles Keating – who stole over $252 million US in a Savings & Loan scandal, and from Robert Maxwell – who embezzled £450 million UK from his employees’ pension funds. It was disclosed that she interceded on Maxwell’s behalf, wrote to the court to urge leniency and refused to return the money when requested by legal authorities, for reimbursing those who had been swindled.

Dr. Robin Fox, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet visited the Home for Dying Destitutes in Calcutta and described the care the patients received as “haphazard”. He observed that Mother Teresa’s order did not distinguish between curable and incurable patients, so that people who might have otherwise survived, were at risk of dying from infections and lack of treatment. Former employees claim that Mother Teresa refused to authorize the purchase of medical equipment, and that donated money was transferred to the Vatican Bank instead. There have been a series of other reports documenting inattention to health care in her facilities. And yet, that hasn’t stopped the Vatican from promoting the canonization of Mother Teresa.

Margaret Sanger’s detractors have attempted to draw a fallacious connection between her statements on negative eugenics in the 1920′s US and the barbaric genocidal policies of Third Reich Germany. Thus it might be astute to note that Joseph Ratzinger aka Pope Benedict XVI was a member of the Hitler Youth, in the interest of maintaining balance and perspective.

Those who might object to Margaret Sanger’s candidacy for sainthood should consider the question of whether allegations about her work are contrived, or as legitimate as the many concerns raised about Mother Teresa’s actions.

What distinguishes the sacredness of Margaret Sanger’s work from that of Mother Teresa’s mission is likely to be their respective motivations. Sanger stated:

Woman must have her freedom, the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she will be a mother and how many children she will have. … Regardless of what man’s attitude may be, that problem is hers — and before it can be his, it is hers alone. She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it.

Loyal supporters of Mother Teresa affirm that missionary activity was the central part of her calling, and that she perceived evangelisation as her ultimate objective; providing shelter and health care were merely instruments that she exploited to achieve her stated goal of converting impoverished and vulnerable people of Hindu faith to Catholicism.

Margaret Sanger left behind a powerful legacy that is carried on by her grandson, Alexander Sanger. The photograph of his grandmother and Avabai Wadia is taken from his website.

Disclaimer: Of course we know that Margaret Sanger was an atheist and a humanitarian. She would not want to be canonized, though she was demonized enough during her lifetime by Conservative Christians who tried to discredit her work. She persevered, inspired by the memory of her own mother who died from the cumulated physical damage suffered during multiple pregnancies and the birthing of eleven children.

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