Margaret Sanger Versus Gandhi

He foresaw frightful results from widespread use of birth control

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, met with Mahatma Gandhi to gain his support for her promotion of birth control devices versus using self-control of sexual desire. She was sorely disappointed, as he predicted rampant licentiousness would result from widespread use of such devices.

In 1934, an Indian women’s rights activist asked him whether contraceptives were the next best thing to “self-control.” Gandhi replied, “Do you think that the freedom of the body is obtained by resorting to contraceptives? Women should learn to resist their husbands. If contraceptives were resorted to as in the West, frightful results will follow. Men and women will be living for sex alone. They will become soft-brained, unhinged, in fact, mental and moral wrecks.”

Biographer Ramachandra Guha, in his Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948, writes, “For Gandhi, all sex was lust; sex was necessary for procreation. Modern methods of birth control legitimized lust. Far better that women resist men, and men control and tame their animal passions.”

Gandhi foresaw “soft-brained, unhinged, mental and moral wrecks.” These qualify: pornography addicts; pedophile and ephebophile priests; Hollywood moguls who barter stardom for sexual favors; politicians who molest interns off hours in the Oval Office.

How about physical wreckage? STDs are on the rise as gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia hit record levels in the U.S. last year. Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control say concerns are mounting that gonorrhea could soon become resistant to all current antibiotics. Syphilis rates spiked 76% in North America last year. “The United States continues to have the highest STD rates in the industrialized world,” says David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. “We are in the midst of an absolute STD public health crisis in this country. It’s a crisis that has been in the making for years” (CBS News, Aug.28).

Mohandas Ghandi predicted, back in the 1930s, the disastrous effects of birth control at every level of society. When will moderns wise up?

Richard M. DellOrfano spent ten years on a cross-country pilgrimage following Christ’s instruction to minister without possessions. He is completing his autobiography: Path Perilous, My Search for God and the Miraculous.

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