Mike Wallace Interviews Margaret Sanger in ’57

What changes time brings. I’m sure that a good amount of people are familiar with Mike Wallace, the journalist from 60 minutes, who passed away on April 7th. So as the news came out, I happened to run into a certain interview that he did even before he was with 60 minutes. This was an interview from 1957 with none other than Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.

You can watch the interview here.

The things that stood out from the video to me, which took place 55 years ago:

  • Cigarette advertisements everywhere, haha, please forgive the beginning.
  • The Roman Catholic Church has always been against contraception, this was quite obvious from the entire video. How would this whole debate have been different if the Protestant churches in America would have stuck with the Catholic Church on this issue?
  • We are quite familiar with all of Margaret Sanger’s arguments for birth control, contraceptives, abortion, and overpopulation. These views are now the popular opinions nowadays.
  • On the issue of overpopulation, check out this video.
  • Mrs. Sanger has a point on Catholic laypeople not holding true to the teachings of the Church and the hierarchy. The issue remains today. It is extremely important that the laypeople are educated as to why the Church believes what it does, because it does make sense.
  • My favorite part: Wallace quotes the Church’s teachings in forbidding birth control: “The immediate purpose and primary end of marriage is the begetting of children. When the marital relation is so used as to render the fulfillment of its purposes impossible, it is used unethically and unnaturally.” And then Mr. Wallace continues, “And what is wrong with that opinion?” Wow! What a zinger. Ms. Sanger started talking about how it has the wrong views on love, on marriage, on women. Ms. Sanger believes that love is really only convenient pleasure and attraction. And marriage, only a civil contract. You’ll hear later on what her marriages were like..
  • Natural law is brought up by Mr. Wallace. Today, natural law don’t mean anything in the public sphere! And note how Wallace says that the Church is against contraception not because of its own teachings but because it is a natural law. That is a very specific and important remark.
  • We never hear the clear teachings of the Church anymore on public media like this. What a breath of fresh air! If only the media was still neutral like this, it makes everything make more sense when you can see both sides.
  • Sanger complains that the Church “speaks to people as they were God.” Well, yes, Ms. Sanger. Please reference Matthew 16:18-19. Jesus founded the Catholic Church, sent the Holy Spirit to guide it, and gave Peter (and all popes) the keys to heaven- just like how the Kings of Israel would give their keys to their servant to rule as they were away. So yes, the Church has authority. God founded it, God guides it, and God gave it authority.
  • There is a great emphasis on “what they want” from Ms. Sanger. She is absolutely for people choosing to do whatever they want, even if it might be bad.
  • What are the motives of the Church for forbidding birth control? Hey! I’m Catholic, pick me, Ms. Sanger! Here’s what I’d say: Birth control reduces women to objects of lust, pregnancies from failed birth control are often in situations where having children is not responsible, pregnancies when birth control is used are seen as “accidents,” babies that result from these “accidents” are seen as “mistakes,” true commitment from spouses is not necessary, it becomes easier for cheating to happen, men have zero responsibility and often will not remain faithful because of the easy way to get away with being a player, it turns sex into nothing more than a glorified hi-five- unless your birth control doesn’t work, of course.
  • Catholics out-breeding other religions and groups from being against against birth control: that is hilarious. But obviously if one group is having more children than other groups of course it’s going to start to shift the demographics. Check out the Muslims in Europe, for example.
  • But the official teaching of the Church, thanks to Wallace is that “The Catholic Church does not command Catholic husbands and wives to have even one child, the Church considers it more than normally meritorious that they have no children. If they mutually and perpetually give up the use of the marriage right for the love of God.” Now try to bash us, Ms. Sanger…
  • And now Mr. Wallace gives us a quote of a recommendation that birth control does in fact lead to promiscuity. Seems like common sense to me.
  • Thank goodness. Ms. Sanger agrees that Catholics have the right to use their voice to lobby against those things that they consider to be unlawful. I’m thankful that we still have that right, and hope it lasts into the future. Hello HHS Mandate. But the government legislating religious beliefs.. well.. unfortunately President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius (a self professed Catholic) have done that.
  • Do you believe in sin? Funny how sin seems so easy to spot when there is a murder or act of terrorism, but when it comes down to something that we all have done, the lines become very grey all of a sudden.
  • “The greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world.” She follows this up by specifying children that have disease, etc. But she HAS children! And ask someone who has a disease whether they would rather have not been born..
  • Ms. Sanger’s second marriage sounds horrible.
  • Mike Wallace rocks. May he rest in peace.

2 thoughts on “Mike Wallace Interviews Margaret Sanger in ’57

  1. Great post, Chris. Thank you for sharing that interview! I was so baffled by some of the things Sanger says!!! And really impressed with Wallace! A couple of things that were really appalling to me were that Sanger at one point, in response to the fact that the Church recognizes birth control as unnatural says, “How do they know? I mean after all- they’re celibates. They don’t know love. They don’t know marriage.” Try telling that to a parish priest!

    Also, yeah, it was so sad to hear about how Sanger states that she thinks that the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world! She says that some of these children that, “have disease from their parents… have no chance in the world to be a human…” I couldn’t believe she minimizes these children like that!

    Sorry this is such a long comment but it was a super interesting interview!

    • Thanks Dana! Totally know what you mean, she sounds pretty heartless to me too..

      Actually I probably wrote too much myself 😉

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