Huppenthal/Thucky was wrong on the Internet about Margaret Sanger, abortion



It’s pretty clear at this point that prodigious-commenter-on-blogs-at-all-hours-of-the-day “Thucydides” is none other than AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. Huppenthal’s other alter egos include “Falcon 09” and “Socrates” but we know him affectionately as Thucky around these parts. Thucky likes to opine on a variety of subjects, and here he is last fall weighing in on the misogynist-cesspool blog Seeing Red AZ about Margaret Sanger.

When Darwin wrote his treatise on evolution, it was titled ” Survival of the Favored Races.” There were two parts to his work, one was to give a foundation to evolution, the other was to explain the dramatic differences between species. As he explained it in his 1859 work, as a species evolves it begins to develop different races. When one of those races develops a superior advantage, it wipes out the genetically inferior race. It was Darwin, not Hitler who named the Germans the master race. It was Darwin who expressed approval of eliminating both Jews and Africans. Hitler worked to eliminate the Jews. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood was given the job of eliminating African Americans. Hitler fed 6 million Jews into the ovens. Sanger has fed 16 million African Americans into the abortion mills.

One obvious problem with Thucky’s theory on Darwin and Sanger is that Darwin died in 1882 and Margaret Sanger was born in 1879. I’m dubious that Darwin would assign such a monumental eugenics project to a toddler. But the major flaw in Thucky’s reasoning is that it ignores Margaret Sanger’s actual position on abortion, which was strong opposition to it.

“The real alternative to birth control is abortion,” wrote Dean Inge, in his article already quoted. It is an alternative that I cannot too strongly condemn. Although abortion may be resorted to in order to save the life of the mother, the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and vicious. I bring up the subject here only because some ill-informed persons have the notion that when we speak of birth control we include abortion as a method. We certainly do not. Abortion destroys the already fertilized ovum* or the embryo; contraception, as I have carefully explained, prevents the fertilizing of the ovum by keeping the male cells away. Thus it prevents the beginning of life.

It is truly grotesque for white conservatives, who spend the majority of their time and energy trying to make the lives of non-white people as difficult as possible and who show no concern for the higher death rate suffered by black people as the direct result of racist policies to then try and pass their anti-choice crusade off as anti-racism. As for Margaret Sanger, I am not interested in whitewashing her legacy. She was a complicated mix of good and bad, as most social reformers are. Sanger was definitely a fan of eugenics, though it’s doubtful that it drove her activism in family planning as much as her oft-stated desire to relieve women of all races the unrelenting, poverty-generating misery of having baby after baby with no way to stop it. What is clear that she wanted to accomplish her goals via birth control, not abortion. So the idea that Sanger “has fed 16 million African Americans into the abortion mills” is simply preposterous.

If this country had heeded Sanger’s advice and aggressively implemented birth control access and actively encouraged its use starting in the early 20th century, our current abortion rate – which, it should be noted, is at it’s lowest point in decades thanks to more effective contraception – would be even lower, on a par with Canada and Europe. But no, thanks to social conservatives relentlessly pushing their backwards-ass prudery, too many Americans still think contraception is for “sluts”, thus we continue to be an outlier among industrialized nations in our rate of unintended pregnancy.

Ultimately, and pay careful attention Thucky and any other anti-choicers reading this, what Margaret Sanger thought or said over a hundred years ago is irrelevant to the matter of reproductive rights today. I don’t care if Sanger were history’s greatest monster, responsible for more deaths than Hitler, Stalin, and Chairman Mao combined. That would not be an argument for depriving women of contraception access and safe legal abortion in 2014. Come up with some fresher material, guys.

*Sanger was a personhood-at-conception kind of gal. Yet another point of disagreement I would have with her. But anti-abortion activists might want to reconsider their vilification of her, since she seemed to be in agreement with them in some key areas.


  1. Donna,

    You forgot to mention that Sanger lived in Tucson. Show the Old Pueblo some love.


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