Planned Parenthood Founder Said She'd Leave Country If JFK Elected--Because He Was Catholic

Michael W. Chapman | September 8, 2015 | 9:43pm EDT
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Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), the founder

of Planned Parenthood.  (AP)


( – Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger opposed the Catholic Church for decades because of its moral teachings and its theology in general, to the point that in 1960, when John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, ran for president, Sanger said if he were elected, she would “find another place to live.”

Sanger (1879-1966), in her many writings and speeches, frequently attacked the Catholic Church, describing it as among the “arch-enemies to hinder the progress of enlightenment” and determined to destroy America’s “liberties” and establish its own “rules & dominion.”  

In early July 1960, when then-Senator John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) was about to be nominated by the Democratic Party as their candidate to run against Republican Richard M. Nixon, a Quaker, in the November election, Sanger was asked about the contest.

The Associated Press story, from Honolulu, Hawaii and printed on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal on July 6, 1960 was headlined, “If Kennedy Wins, Mrs. Sanger is Going to Quit US.”

The story states:

Mrs. Margaret Sanger, crusader for birth control, says she will "find another place to live" if Senator John F. Kennedy becomes president.

Mrs. Sanger said she was opposed to Kennedy because of his religion.

"In my estimation a Roman Catholic is neither Democrat nor Republican."

"Nor American, nor Chinese; he is a Roman Catholic," Mrs. Sanger said.

Mrs. Sanger is here [Hawaii] on a vacation from her Tucson (Ariz.) home.

She told a reporter that a Roman Catholic at the head of the country would "make impossible America's most important contribution to world peace -- the dissemination of birth control information."

She is the founder and president emeritus of the Planned Parenthood federation.


Former Democratic President John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, who was

assassinated at age 46 on Nov. 22, 1963.   (AP) 


After Kennedy was elected on Nov. 10, Sanger’s anti-Catholic remarks were picked up again by the news media. But as The New York Times reported that day, Sanger had decided to wait a year before deciding whether to leave the United States. 

The New York Times article was headlined, “Mrs. Sanger Staying,” as documented in the Margaret Sanger Papers Project at New York University. 

Sanger’s anti-Catholicism was clear: Catholics, including JFK, could not be Democrat or Republican or even American. 

There are many examples of the Planned Parenthood founder’s anti-Catholicism.

In 1921, Sanger said it was okay for Catholics to keep their ideas in their church but when they try “to make these ideas legislative acts and force their opinions and code of morals upon the Protestant members of this country, then we do consider this an interference with the principles of this Democracy and we have a right to protest.”

In the July 1916 edition of Birth Control, Sanger said, “Take the clergy, (Catholics especially).  They are the beneficiaries of the church that has made breeding its main source of revenue. They preach from a ‘sacred book’ to ‘multiply and replenish the earth,’ knowing that large families among working people tend to preserve their influence and authority.”

Sanger complained in January 1932 that “Catholic doctrine is illogical, not in accord with science and definitely against social welfare and race improvement.” 

In a draft article, Women and the Catholic Church,  Sanger said the Roman Catholic “Church issues commands to its adherents who, tho citizens of this country obey these commands against our constitutional rights. It is annihilating our liberties and establishing its rules & dominion in its place.”

Sanger, a long-time advocate for artificial birth control who supported eugenics -- selective breeding and sterilization to diminish the so-called inferior races and promote the growth of so-called superior races -- was the founder of the American Birth Control League (ABCL).

The ABCL eventually was merged with another group, the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, in 1939, and was renamed the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) in 1942.  In 1952, Sanger helped found the International Planned Parenthood Federation and served as its first president until 1959.

Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider.  According to its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 327,653 abortions in 2013-14 and the organization received $528.4 million in taxpayer funding through “government health service grants and reimbursements.”  

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