In November, Pittsburgh-based director, James Ahearn, put out a casting call for actors in a film about Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger.
It read, “ $100.00 a day plus lunch for Actress, age 21-45 willing to play Margaret Sanger, pioneering feminist who had a part in the creation of “The Pill”. Must be able to commit to multiple Sundays. Familiarity with, and interest in, Margaret Sanger’s life a plus. Shoot commencing Sunday, Nov. 16 from approx. 9:00am to 6:00pm and again on Sunday, Nov. 23 same time frame. Contact Jim Ahearn 412-804-8653, or send headshot and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org”
According to his bio, Ahearn’s organization, Independent Ventures, specializes in historical video-plays, dramatic short film and horror.
In the first part of the film, uploaded to YouTube by user, claythorne01, the same contact person the actors were to send their resumes to for the film, “Margaret Sanger Part 1,” Ahearn introduces Sanger as a racist involved in eugenics.
In another upload called Margaret Sanger Story Preamble, claythorne01 is very charitable to Sanger when he writes, “Dedication to Margaret Sanger, Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes who courageously stood up for Women’s Rights and reproductive freedom. They were among the first groups in the modern era to stand up against Police Brutality and change the world.”
That coupled with this description written on claythorne01’s Margaret Sanger Story Part 1 upload, calling Sanger a great social reformer, “Dedication to the great Margaret Sanger, the tireless social reformer and Women’s Rights advocate, examining her enduring legacy, which, in spite of her at times shocking ideology, should serve as a reminder to people of all races and ethnicities who are willing to stand up for social justice. Hers is a story of passionate conviction, colossal energy and imagination as well as tremendous dichotomy,” pretty much tells you the film will be slanted in favor of the Planned Parenthood founder.
Ahearn’s depiction of Margaret Sanger’s relationship with W.E.B. DuBois, founder of the NAACP implies that DuBois was skeptical of the Planned Parenthood founder because of her association with the Klan, racism, and eugenics. They banter around Sanger’s idea of just who the unfit and feebleminded are and he implies that she is looking to target “his people.”
“I’m aware of your ongoing association with the Ku Klux Klan and your fascination with eugenics is alarming,” WEB DuBois says to Sanger on the film.
Although the film uses text from Sanger’s historical documents, part 1 portrays the eugenics pusher as a heroine who persuades the Black leader to her side in the end. The text is also used out of context.
For example, in the film, WEB DuBois asserts Sanger’s statements that she did not want word to get out that she wants to exterminate the Negro, as part of a speech she gave to the Klan.
However, the statement, made in 1939, describing her Negro Project was actually written in a letter to fellow eugenicist, Clarence Gamble, “The minister’s work is also important and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members,” wrote Sanger.
It is true that DuBois supported Sanger, as did other Black leaders but, it is also true that Sanger’s full agenda was not realized at the time this occurred.
In addition, Ahearn completely disregards the suspicion many other Blacks held against eugenics, family planning, birth control, Margaret Sanger, and Planned Parenthood.
Part two, which was just released shows Sanger visiting a Nazi prison to request the release of a German doctor for his work with progesterone. In this section, Ahearn shows Sanger as a clear advocate of eugenics through selective breeding by using birth control and not the type of force used by the Nazis on the Jews.
Although I have not studied the depth of Sanger’s visits to Germany, I do know that Margaret Sanger’s statement that birth control was identical with the final aim of eugenics, was made in 1921, years prior to the Nazi holocaust of the Jews.
Sanger’s statements, which read, “The eugenic and civilization value of birth control is becoming apparent to the enlightened and the intelligent … the campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal with the final aim of eugenics,” were made in “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda,” in October of 1921, and published in her Birth Control Review.
I have not had time to investigate the full text of either release for errors or artistic license, but from what I have seen so far, there are many inaccuracies. It will be interesting to watch how the creators continue to publish the Sanger story.
UPDATE: Soon after publishing this, more segments of the Margaret Sanger Story was uploaded:
In Part three, Margaret Sanger mentions her excitement to be joined with the Eugenics movement.
Part 4 described Sanger’s enthusiasm to get The Pill to stop pregnancy so she decides to try out her formula in Puerto Rico.