Eugenic Motives

If the much debated RH Bill becomes law, the Philippine government will distribute contraceptive substances and devices on a much wider scale especially to the poor people.

In the 1920s Margaret Sanger began to advocate the use of contraceptives especially for the poor people. In her case she did not conceal the real motive behind this move: eugenics. She said: “In the early history of the race, so-called ‘natural law’ (i.e., natural selection) reigned undisturbed. Under its pitiless and unsympathetic iron rule, only the strongest, most courageous could live and become progenitors of the race. The weak died early or were killed. Today, however, civilization has brought sympathy, pity, tenderness and other lofty and worthy sentiments, which interfere with the law of natural selection. We are now in a state where our charities, our compensation acts, our pensions, hospitals, and even our drainage and sanitary equipment all tend to keep alive the sickly and the weak, who are allowed to propagate and in turn produce a race of degenerates.”

And so Sanger wanted the “race of degenerates”, by this she meant the poor people, to use contraceptives so that they do not multiply. Her favorite slogan was “Birth Control: To Create a Race of Thoroughbreds”. But since this slogan sounded too strong, she changed it to: “Babies by Choice, Not Chance.”

Although it may appear to many people these days that the distribution of contraceptives to the poor people might have noble motives (have the babies that you want and not by accident), history tells us that the whole idea began with eugenic purposes.

By giving contraceptives to the poor people the government would be unwittingly following the example of Sanger and would be effectively practicing eugenics although this might not be their intention. Also, distributing contraceptives to the poor would be equivalent to treating them like animals that are governed by instinct. The unmentioned assumption is that the poor cannot discipline the sexual urge and so they need contraceptives. I would like to think that they are not like that: they are persons who have reason and will. They can be educated and they can learn to practice discipline over their sexual powers so that contraceptive substances and devices would turn out to be superfluous. I have met many simple people, ordinary people, who plan their families and have children using the natural way. This manner of having a family is more dignified and appropriate for persons, than using contraceptives.

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