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Eugenics and Family Planning Associated Together from the Beginning, Family Planning and Population Control Likewise

One of the ‘pioneers’ of ‘family planning,’ Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was also an avowed eugenicist and advocate for population control.  That is, like many advocates of ‘family planning,’ out of one side of their mouth they talk about a “woman’s right to choose” while on the other side they say, “but we will see that they want to choose what we want them to choose” or even, “they will choose what we want them to choose–or else.”  Typically, one sees eugenics, family planning, and population control bound together as a single cohesive paradigm when the person advocating for it thoroughly accepts evolutionary theory, and believing it to be true without reservation, thinks it is self-evident, then, that it be acted on in society.  One will hear this phrased along the lines of “acting scientifically.”  The underlying rationale is the Malthusian logic that Darwinism has as part of its foundation.

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H. J. Muller in the first annual address to the American Society of Human Geneticists (1949)

The avoidance of the penalty (pg 150-151)

Unless means could be found of lessening the natural mutation rate (a feat that would require the extended maintenance of the germ cells in vitro as a regular procedure), this rate represents a base line, an irreducible minimum, below which gene elimination cannot permanently be decreased.  As shown above, attempts to do so can have only temporary success.  We cannot eat our cake today and have it tomorrow.  In later generations, a genetic selection must be resumed which is in its essentials as rigorous as that which was necessary for the maintenance of equilibrium under the most primitive conditions. [ie., natural selection.  See previous section in Muller’s work, pg 144 ff, titled “The penalty for relaxing natural selection.]

But to pessimists protesting, “What price progress then?” it must be pointed out that there is after all one and just one way of avoiding the fiasco of a full fledged resumption of ordinary natural selection.  That method, whether we like it or not, is purposive control over reproduction, exercised in such wise as to anticipate the need for natural selection of the usual, externally imposed type.

In order to fulfill the aim of achieving a form of selection more humane than that resulting from the unalloyed struggle for existence, it would of course be all-important for this purposive control to be carried out, not by means of decrees and orders from authorities, but through the freely exercised volition of the individuals concerned, guided by their recognition of the situation and motivated by their own desire to contribute to the human benefit in the ways most effective for them.   This is the only real solution, the only procedure consistent with human happiness, dignity, and security.  For to be slaves coerced by others is even more obnoxious than to be exposed to the full rigors of nature.  But for the voluntary adoption by people in general of a course of such wisdom, and so different from that now followed, a deep-seated change in mores would be necessary.  Not least among the requirements for this would be a far more thoroughgoing and widespread education of the public in biological and social essentials (see p. 163). And there would also have to be very great improvement in the technical methods whereby the more important features of the genetic constitution may be judged.

Granted that such voluntary reproductive control can eventually become effective enough to result in the elimination of as many mutant genes as concurrently arise through mutation, the ameliorative practices of medicine and of civilization generally are divested of all their harm to later generations.

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