Glenn Beck Uses History to Attack Women’s Reproductive Rights
Glenn Beck celebrated “Founders’ Friday Women’s Day” today. Yes, you know this isn’t going to a good place. Beck, apparently having ran through all of the modern era villains, reached back to the the last century to find his latest victim, “one of the most horrible women in American history”, named Margaret Sanger who was a……NURSE! Shudder. A nurse who cared about unplanned and unwelcome pregnancies, a “champion of women’s rights” — clearly a threat to the modern conservative.
Today on the July 2 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck, Beck took to the airwaves to condemn “one of the most horrible women in American history”, Margaret Sanger. Yes, apparently Margaret has caused Glenn many a tear on the late nights when he sits up contemplating how the progressives have ruined the world. No matter that she is long gone, having died in 1966. Beck is still afeared.
Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
When audience member Raven asked about that “terrible person” Margaret Sanger, Beck said, “She is really. She is one of, if nobody has really done it, you go home and you Google Margaret Sanger, and really get down to her real words on progressivism. She is one of the most horrible women in American history, horrible.” Beck then blamed, drum roll, please, Woodrow Wilson, “Woodrow Wilson was really one of the main guys who did it.” He then went on to blame Edward Bernays, who helped work on influencing public opinion towards supporting US participation in World War I, and he blamed Wilson for changing the history books and the Constitution.”
This is not the first time that Beck has attacked Sanger. Here is video from April 2009:
This danger to American society, Margaret Sanger, worked as a nurse. She worked with the poor. She eventually wrote for the Socialist Party paper. She is also credited with inventing the term birth control and being a founder of what became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, an evil which leads some less than nuanced thinkers (also known as people who oppose birth control and abortion) to charge her with eugenicism and racism in an attempt to discredit her as a hero for women’s rights.
Anti-contraception activists have long cherry picked through Sanger’s writings with the agenda of declaring her a horrid person, unworthy of being taught about in school as a hero for women’s rights. And in truth, her history appears radical and some of her words and ideas offensive in modern day context, but then, when Sanger was alive, she was considered a militant feminist for advocating the right to practice birth control. In August of 1914, Sanger was eventually indicted for violating postal obscenity laws for advocating the use of contraception. Sanger’s many arrests and prosecutions, and the resulting outcries, helped lead to changes in laws giving doctors the right to give birth control advice (and later, birth control devices) to patients.”
In an interview with Mike Wallace in 1957, she explained, “I was what I would call a born humanitarian. I don’t like to see people suffer, I don’t like to see cruelty even to this day, and in nursing you see a great deal of cruelty and unnecessary suffering….I naturally didn’t want to see women take all the suffering of child-bearing and of pregnancies. So it was a pleasure in a sense to think that you were striking at an archaic law, which it was..it was put on the statute books by Anthony Comstock some years ago, and a no one had stood up against it and no one had–had tried to change the laws, and at that time not even a doctor had a right to use the United States Mail in common carriers for books, for learning, for anything that he had to do with this question. It was considered obscene. The whole question was considered obscene.”
When asked about the church’s stance on women’s reproductive rights, Sandler replied, “It’s an unnatural attitude to take –how do they know? I mean, after all, they’re celibates.They don’t know love, they don’t know marriage, they know nothing about bringing up children nor any of the marriage problems of life, and yet they speak to people as if they were God.” Yikes, Margaret! Taking on the church and the law to fight for women’s rights and never bowing to the pressure of the patriarchy isn’t going to win Margaret any friends from Beck’s world.
If you want to hear Margaret Sanger’s interview (in her own words), listen here .
Margaret Sanger didn’t hold back; she was clearly very opinionated and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. But then, the status quo is rarely changed by people who are liked by everyone. Even so, some contextual awareness is necessary if one is going to weed back through history to find “progressives” to demonize. But we all know that nuanced thinking is not a Beckian trait. When we look back in history, we are going BACK to a different time. A time, I might remind you, that Beck and the conservatives want to return to. During this “great” time, women had no rights over their own bodies. African Americans were hardly equals. The disabled were treated with even more disregard than they are now. Taking all of that into context, it’s easy to see that Sanger’s views were not perfect.
But Beck is engaging in the disingenuous practice of denouncing revisionist history, while in fact revising history to fit a far right wing ideology which will stop at nothing less than a complete reversal of the rights of woman and a return of our gender back to our subservient 19th Century roles.
Sanger was a champion of women’s reproductive rights and deserves to be remembered as such instead of having agenda-laden Glenn Beck use and distort her views to enrage his viewers (i.e., fill his own coffers).