Former Margaret Sanger Award winner and proponent of forced abortion was on the board of anti-immigration organization FAIR


Garrett Hardin was a leading eugenic ecologist, whose views influenced debates on abortion, immigration, foreign aid, overpopulation, and other provocative issues. Hardin was intensely concerned about overpopulation and deeply involved with Planned Parenthood and was funded by the Pioneer Fund.

In 1949 Garrett published his elementary biology text, Biology: Its Human Implications, later issued as Biology: Its Principles and Implications. Both texts were widely used throughout the nation. He became Professor of Human Ecology in 1963.

In 1960 Garrett began to teach his Human Ecology course; his seminal paper in 1968, “The Tragedy of the Commons” — perhaps the most often cited paper — That is, freedom to breed without limit can only result in dire consequences for the human race.

A 1974 article, “Living on a Lifeboat,” garnered a storm of protest, raising as it did the notion that a prosperous country cannot accommodate all prospective immigrants without dire consequences to its own integrity. Garrett also stressed the fact that exponential growth cannot continue indefinitely, whether in the realm of human population or economic growth

According to the Garret Hardin Society, in 1980, Planned Parenthood Federation of America awarded Hardin the infamous, Margaret Sanger Award. Another report in the “Social Contract” states that In 1979 he was awarded the Margaret Sanger Award for his support for the wider provision of birth control and population limitation.

In an interview with Skeptic magazine, in 1996, Hardin describes his involvement with the eugenic founded Planned Parenthood organization,
“I started being an activist for legalized abortion in 1963. I spent most of my external time on that issue until the Supreme Court reached the famous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. I thought the fight was all over. Well, I was wrong. At the time, my wife and I were active in Planned Parenthood. She was on the local board of directors. The question came up in Planned Parenthood as to what our position should be on abortion. Some wanted to stay clear of it entirely because they realized there would he a lot of opposition. Fortunately, Planned Parenthood decided that it was a question of women’s rights. Abortion is above all other things a method of birth control. To put it another way, it’s a backstop for any system of birth control when the rest of the system fails. That decision to support the woman’s right to abortion put Planned Parenthood in a dangerous position. “

In a tribute written about Garrett and posted in the Garret Hardin Society website, Hardin’s hard core immigration position is praised, “Because fertility is low in the United States and Europe, Hardin believes that the problem of excessive population growth would be largely under control if it were not for immigration. He sees immigration as the major problem that will lead to increases in population in the economically developed world. To prevent this growth he advocates the reduction of immigration nearly to zero. In a striking metaphor, Hardin has on several occasions used the analogy of a nation as a lifeboat.5 A lifeboat can only hold a certain number of people. If more are taken on board, the lifeboat sinks and everyone will be drowned. The only rational course of action for those in a full lifeboat is to refuse to take anyone else on board. It is the same with a nation. “To survive,” he writes in his last book, Living Within Limits:

rich nations must refuse immigration to people who are poor because their governments are unable or unwilling to stop population growth.

Hardin became a member of the board of National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, which was instrumental in bringing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case which made anti-abortion laws unconstitutional, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hardin became a spokesman for the abortion reform movement as the result of his UCSB “Abortion and Human Dignity” lecture. Garrett wrote other papers advocating abortion reform (Hardin, 1967, 1968a) as well as the book Mandatory Motherhood: The True Meaning of “Right to Life” (I 974b).

One question asked over and over again was, “When does life begin?” Garrett would reply that biologists think that life began more than two billion years ago; but now life is merely passed on from one cell to another. The question we should ask and answer is, “When do we want to call it a human life?” Human personhood is more than just life. Garrett drew an analogy between an architect’s blueprints and the information contained in DNA.

In her online report: How Eugenics and Population Control Led to Abortion
by: Mary Meehan, Meehan writes of Hardin

In 1963 Prof. Hardin, an environmentalist who was also an ardent population controller and a member of the American Eugenics Society, made a radical argument for repealing anti-abortion laws. In an approach that would be copied by many others, he put his population and eugenics concerns in the background and based his argument mainly on the welfare and rights of women. To religious objections based on the commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” Hardin responded that the Bible “does not forbid killing, only murder.” And murder, he said, means “unlawful killing…. Murder is a matter of definition. We can define murder any way we want to.” Later he said that “it would be unwise to define the fetus as human (hence tactically unwise to refer to the fetus as an ‘unborn child’).”(1) Hardin had learned well the Humpty Dumpty technique:
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master–that’s all.”(2)

NOTES TO ABOVE:
1. Garrett Hardin, Stalking the Wild Taboo (Los Altos, Calif.: W. Kaufmann, 1973), 24-25 & 66. Hardin was a member of the American Eugenics Society as early as 1956. He served on its board in 1972 and remained on it in 1973-74 after the group changed its name to Society for the Study of Social Biology.

2. Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (New York: Morrow, 1993), 124.

In his Tribute to Garrett Harding, Former Planned Parenthood Board Member and founder of the anti-immigration organization FAIR , Federation of American Immigration Reform, John Tanton, said this:

I first met Garrett (and his wife Jane – they were inseparable) at the Congress on Optimum Population and the Environment – C.O.P.E.- in 1970. The meeting was part of the first Earth Day celebrations. He and his wife Liz invited me to a meeting that afternoon where the pantheon of my heroes in the population movement were gathered: Bill’s brother Paul; Paul Ehrlich, Willard Wirtz (a cabinet officer, Secretary. of Labor, as I recall) and Garrett. What to do about population was the topic. It was a great privilege and motivator to listen in on the conversation.

In 1971 I was appointed head of the national Sierra Club’s Population Committee and learned to my delight that Dr. Hardin was a committee member…

Our next encounter was the one about which my recollection is among the strongest, though the details are unclear. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was having a meeting in San Francisco at which Dr. Hardin was to present one of the seminars. For some reason that I cannot recall, I was asked to chair that session, unlikely as that seems in retrospect. The paper Garrett presented was “Living in a Lifeboat” which perhaps best typified the avuncular academic in what was surely one of his favorite roles: agent provocateur…

My interest in population developed in the late 1950s as I was finishing medical school. By 1975 I had been elected national president of Zero Population Growth, an organization inspired by Paul Ehrlich’s book “The Population Bomb.” Then in the late 1970s the US fertility rate fell to below replacement, and immigration emerged as the main source of domestic population growth. To Garrett’s dismay, ZPG declined to address these new circumstances.

When in 1979 I helped set up the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to tackle the immigration question, Garrett served from the beginning as an advisor. Later he consented to set aside his aversion to board meetings by joining the FAIR Board.

Garrett’s love of words came out during his FAIR board service. We decided to start a little ‘think tank.’ He suggested in whimsical fashion that we call it the Witan, short for Witenagemot, words we all had to look up.

We held one of the Witan meetings in the Hardins’ hometown of Santa Barbara. The featured speaker was a well-known ethicist, whom we will leave nameless. He knew a lot about philosophical ethics, but little about population, resources, immigration or the environment. Garrett’s pugnacious side came to the fore when they got into the still troubling topic of Lifeboat Ethics. Garrett clearly came out on top, in our view.

In the early 1980s Bill Paddock secured for me a seat on the board of the Environmental Fund, on which both he and Garrett served. Dr. Hardin had already retired from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He and Jane moved to Washington, D.C. where he took over as Executive Director of the Fund for about two years. He brought along the remarkable card file of quotations that he had compiled over many years of reading and writing. It contained – as I recall – 30,000 4 x 6 cards on which quotes were filed first by subject, and then again by author on cards of another color. It was a prodigious work. Later we were able to raise the money to have a computer program written to enter all this material, long before such programs were available “off the shelf.” Garrett and Jane dubbed it the Laurel Filer. One of our concerns is that this scholarly resource and his library not be lost as their affairs are settled. Garrett left behind a completed but as yet unaccepted and unpublished manuscript.

In 1990 on the occasion of Dr. Hardin’s 75th birthday, Paul Ehrlich and I, together with the American Institute for Biological Sciences and the Smithsonian Institution, organized a Festschrift to fete his accomplishments. Garrett appreciated the recognition, a particularly suitable one for an academic. Some copies of the 12 papers presented are still available from The Social Contract Press Bookstore. They were collected and published as the Spring 1991 issue of Population and Environment, Vol. 12, No. 3.

Garrett told me many times that he wished he had titled his most famous essay “The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons,” as he believed firmly that it was fine for society to own things in common, provided that they were managed for the common good. There were and are those of Libertarian philosophical bent who used the essay to argue that essentially all property should be privately owned.

Whenever I came across a reference to the original Commons essay I’d send it along for addition to the compilation of such uses that Garrett kept. There were literally hundreds of citations, if not thousands. He would have fared quite well in today’s academe where “citation analysis” is one of the current modes of evaluation.

Garrett was au courant to the end. We had opened discussions on something neither he nor any demographer we knew had anticipated: the development of marked sub-replacement fertility in much of the developed world. Virtually every model showed the post-WWII fertility spike declining conveniently to the replacement level of about 2.1 lifetime births on average per woman. He saw clearly and wrote that any nation – and he was in favor of the nation state – that reduced its fertility to replacement levels or below, and did not control its borders would just be overrun. Those who have eyes, let them see.

Life in a nursing home was not an option for this man of letters. Jane had been diagnosed with ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, one of the least desirable ways to leave this planet. It worsened. Both were long time members of the Hemlock Society, and decided to take matters into their own hands. This can give us a lot to think about, especially as our own infirmities come to the fore – and since my wife and I live in a state that counts Dr. Jack Kievorkian among its citizens.

My wife and I did not attend the memorial service…”

In 2003, Harding and his wife died in an apparent suicide pact.
He was 88 and she was 81.

Sharon Clausen,one of the couple’s four children, said, “They were both members of the Hemlock Society (End-of-Life Choices) and felt very strongly that they wanted to choose their own time to die.”

In “The Tragedy of Commons” Hardin writes this eugenic statement, “The only way we can we can preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed, and that very soon.

In an April 3, 1971 article printed in the Gadsden Times ( Legal Limit on Births Possible), Hardin supports forced sterilization and forced abortion when he states, The government will have to step in and take control, that’s all there is to it, there will have to be laws against big families…when a woman has X child, she would be advised that she has the alternative of sterilization if she so desires. But after that X child, X plus 1,she would no longer have an alternative. She would by law be required to have an abortion and sterilization ” Hardin says the law would not be difficult to enforce, “95% of American births take place in hospitals, so we wouldn’t as they say, have to have a policemen under each bed.”

Also Read: Anti-Immigration leader responsible for America’s first abortion law

5 Responses to “Former Margaret Sanger Award winner and proponent of forced abortion was on the board of anti-immigration organization FAIR”

  1. The epitome of arrogance is the feeling that one is superior as a race. There is something that malfunctions in the heart. It is the notion that one is the controller of the universe; that there is no God and that the intelligence of this planet just happened. If one really analyzes this superiority, it is not superior at all but a lack of intellectual common sense.
    One wonders if on their death bed, these eugenics crusaders will see God.

  2. Des Buckley Says:

    Can you tell me where to turn. our daughter who has no means of communication has been condemned to death by the word of one single doctor, how do you people sleep at night? myself and my wife dont. i pray that the Lord God will forgive you for what you advocate.

  3. saynsumthn Says:

    What is going on? Is she being refused medical treatment? Perhaps you can contact the media and your local pro-life group for assistance.

  4. […] another example from 1969, a professor at the University of California, Dr. Garrett Hardin, called it insanity to rely on voluntarism to control population. Hardin was a member of the […]

  5. […] University Library, two of NARAL’s three member pre-formation planning committee were men: Garrett Hardin and Lawrence Lader. (Lader met Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger in 1953, and in 1955, […]

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