Margaret Sanger's hatred of the poor makes a comeback at The Atlantic

Published yesterday at The Atlantic, Melissa Jeltsen penned a piece lamenting the possibility that unborn children may now be given a chance at life. She opens with:

We are not prepared to care for the coming surge of babies[.] The post-Roe rise in births in the U.S. will be concentrated in some of the worst states for infant and maternal health.

Although the existence of these children is the goal of the anti-abortion movement, America is unprepared to adequately care for them and the people who give birth to them.

She ends her diatribe with:

We know what’s coming: More babies will be born into poverty. Some women will die. More will be thrust deeper into financial insecurity.

(Tragically ironic is the fact that Jeltsen finds herself entitled to cite infant mortality rates as data to support her argument, while also rueing the shuttering of baby murder mills — I’m sorry, what does she think abortion is?)

Jelten’s work is nothing more than an academese-style attack against the Judeo-Christian ethic (of which the anti-abortion principle most certainly is) using the poverty argument, because she has a chip on her shoulder — which inadvertently makes the case to adopt Judeo-Christian morality. Now of whom does that remind you?

Margaret Sanger, notorious 20th Century eugenicist, also had a chip on her shoulder against both poverty and Chrisitianity. From George Grant’s book, Killer Angel:

Margaret Sanger was born on September 14, 1879… the sixth of eleven children. The circumstances of her home life were never happy—a fact which she later attributed much of her agitated activism and bitter bombast.

Sanger’s father Michael Higgins “embraced” atheism, and per Grant:

…gradually the smothering effects of Michael’s cynicism took their toll… Bitter, lonely, and grief-stricken, by the time she [Sanger] was seventeen her passion for Christ had collapsed into a bitter hatred of the church.

In 1920, eugenicist Margaret Sanger produced a work titled, “The Wickedness of Creating Large Families” — in this essay she argued that bringing children into the world was “the most serious evil” and the “most immoral practice” of the time, because the “injury” was not only to the members of the family itself, but “society” as a whole. In Sanger’s words:

The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it. The same factors which create the terrible infant mortality rate, and which swell the death rate of children between the ages of one and five, operate even more extensively to lower the health rate of the surviving members. Moreover, the overcrowded homes of large families reared in poverty further contribute to this condition. Lack of medical attention is still another factor, so that the child who must struggle for health in competition with other members of a closely packed family has still great difficulties to meet after its poor constitution and malnutrition have been accounted for.

Sanger hated the poor, and in a subsequent work in 1922, she argued for child labor laws: when children couldn’t earn money, they became a burden, and Sanger believed this would “incentivize the poor to have less children, and the upper class might even edge ahead in the cradle competition.” From Sanger:

The enforcement of the child labor laws and the extension of their restrictions are therefore an urgent necessity, not so much, as some of our child-labor authorities believe, to enable these children to go to school, as to prevent the recruiting of our next generation from the least intelligent and most unskilled classes in the community.

Sanger’s words between the two mentioned works are almost identical to those in Jeltsen’s Atlantic argument and supporting “reasoning” — so close, you’d wonder if Jeltsen’s piece would be considered plagiarism….

Where Sanger offered eugenics and forced sterilization, Jeltsen offers massively expanding the welfare state and big government intervention in the free market:

…investment in not only comprehensive health-care and mental-health services for pregnant and postpartum people, but also a living wage, paid family leave, subsidized child care, and affordable housing. On the preventative side, we could focus on comprehensive sex education in schools and access to contraceptives.

However, the only way to actually solve any of these societal ills — poverty, broken families — is a return to a culture of objective morality, one founded upon the principles of individual responsibility and self-sacrifice (tenants of the Judeo-Christian model).

Jeltsen ends her piece with, “If this moment is a test for the anti-abortion movement, then it has not yet passed.” Well, I’d counter with this: If the last nearly sixty years was the moment for the massively expanding welfare state “progressive” movement (the War on Poverty began in 1964), then it has utterly and undoubtedly, failed.”

Image: Underwood & Underwood, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, unaltered.

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