On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York finally decided to remove the name of Margaret Sanger, the pro-Eugenics founder of Planned Parenthood, from its Manhattan abortion facility. While the organization can distance itself from its founder, the abortion Planned Parenthood practices has eerie echoes of the ugly eugenics movement Sanger supported.
The New York affiliate excised Sanger shortly after the it ousted its executive director, Laura McQuade, in part due to complaints that she had mistreated black employees. The affiliate claims there is no connection between McQuade’s ouster and the canceling of Sanger. The national organization, which has often defended Sanger from criticism, agreed with the decision to cancel the founder of the abortion giant.
“The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color,” Karen Seltzer, the chair of the New York affiliate’s board, said in a statement, The New York Times reported.
New York’s Planned Parenthood affiliate is also talking to city leaders about replacing Sanger’s name on a street sign that has hung near its offices on Bleecker Street for more than two decades.
Sanger advocated birth control as a means of reducing the “ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.” She pushed the eugenics movement — which called for “more babies for the fit, less for the unfit.”
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the national abortion giant, has defended Sanger in the past, citing her work with black leaders in the 1930s and 1940s. In 2016, Planned Parenthood released a fact sheet condemning some of her beliefs but arguing that she had good intentions in trying to make birth control more accessible.
Planned Parenthood said it disagreed with Sanger’s decision to speak about birth control to the Ku Klux Klan in 1926. It also condemned her support for policies to sterilize people with disabilities, for banning immigrants with disabilities, and for “placing so-called illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope fiends on farms in open spaces as long as necessary for the strengthening and development of moral conduct.”
Despite its long support for Sanger, Planned Parenthood issued a statement on Tuesday supporting New York’s decision to strike the founder’s name from the clinic.
“Planned Parenthood, like many other organizations that have existed for a century or more, is reckoning with our history, and working to address historical inequities to better serve patients and our mission,” spokeswoman Melanie Roussell Newman said in a statement.
Five area chapters of the abortion giant joined to found Planned Parenthood of Greater New York in January, making the affiliate Planned Parenthood’s largest single affiliate in the nation. Merle McGee, the affiliate’s chief equity and engagement officer, insisted that there was no connection between the firing of Laura McQuade and the cancelation of Sanger. Rather, excising Sanger “arose out of a three-year effort to tackle racism internally and to improve relationships with groups led by Black women who have been wary of Planned Parenthood’s origins.”
Removing Sanger’s name is a positive step, but it seems to be mere window dressing for the abortion giant.
“Planned Parenthood can rename a building, but it can’t whitewash its eugenics roots,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood can try to forget its founder’s racist screeds, but it cannot escape the undeniable fact that it makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year by telling an ugly lie that certain lives are disposable and then disposing of them. Big abortion has always been, and will always be, in the business of violence and dehumanization.”
The abortion movement has rather shamelessly targeted black women for the killing of their babies. In 2018, billboards in Cleveland and Dallas have targeted black women with pro-abortion messages. Last May, State Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-La.) told PJ Media that the abortion movement’s targeting of black women is a form of genocide.
Genocide: More African-American Babies ‘Die at the Hands of Abortionists’ Than Any Other Cause, Dem Rep Says
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, noted that Planned Parenthood’s move to cancel Sanger marks the first time the abortion giant has acknowledged its “racist roots” in its 104-year history.
“The next step for Planned Parenthood is recognizing that Margaret Sanger’s racist legacy continues today, as abortion continues to disproportionately impact minority communities, especially the black community. We call on Planned Parenthood to immediately publish its historical abortion data by race given indications they have skewed the placement of abortion facilities and actively target minority communities,” Dannenfelser said. “Further, we call on Planned Parenthood to drop its fierce opposition to anti-discrimination laws that protect unborn children from being selected for abortion due to their race, sex, or disability.”
The pro-life group also demanded that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “disavow and return their Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger awards immediately. We also call on the National Portrait Gallery to relocate Sanger’s bust from its Struggle for Freedom exhibit.”
“The pro-life movement will continue to fight for the legal right to life of every unborn child — regardless of their ethnicity, gender, and disability – and stand ready to lovingly assist their parents, no matter the circumstances,” Dannenfelser concluded.
If Margaret Sanger is going to be #Canceled, Dannenfelser suggested, she might as well get #Canceled everywhere.
While it is heartening to see Planned Parenthood firmly reject eugenics, this stance should lead the abortion giant to reconsider its position on abortion. As Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote last year, “The foundations for legalizing abortion in America were laid during the early 20th-century birth-control movement. That movement developed alongside the American eugenics movement.”
Thomas warned that “Sanger’s arguments about the eugenic value of birth control in securing ‘the elimination of the unfit,’ … apply with even greater force to abortion, making it significantly more effective as a tool of eugenics. Whereas Sanger believed that birth control could prevent ‘unfit’ people from reproducing, abortion can prevent them from being born in the first place.”
Planned Parenthood needs to engage in serious soul-searching. If it truly wishes to reject the horrific eugenics legacy of Margaret Sanger, it should reject abortion.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.