Planned Parenthood of Greater New York is removing the name of its late founder, Margaret Sanger, due to the abortion provider’s “harmful connection to the eugenics movement.”
The decision comes after more than 350 current and former staffers and 800 donors to the clinic deemed Sanger “a racist white woman,” according to a report from The New York Times.
Lila Rose, founder of the pro-life group Live Action, commented on the decision to remove Sanger’s name from the Manhattan facility, writing, “The evil that Margaret Sanger started when she founded Planned Parenthood 100 years ago pales in comparison to the atrocities the corporation does today.”
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser called on Planned Parenthood to “immediately publish its historical abortion data by race, given indications they have skewed the replacement of abortion facilities and actively target minority communities” and “drop its fierce opposition to anti-discrimination laws that protect unborn children from being selected for abortion due to their race, sex, or disability,” according to Fox News.
Pro-lifers have been arguing for years that Planned Parenthood was built on a foundation of racialized eugenics. In the past, the abortion corporation rebuked its critics for being politically motivated and taking Sanger’s words out of context, but now the business appears to be admitting to its founder’s troublesome record.
“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,” said Melanie Roussell Newman, a spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Sanger opened her first birth control clinic in the U.S. in Brooklyn in 1916, according to the Times. Since then, she’s been heralded as a feminist icon and a champion for “reproductive rights,” a.k.a. abortion access.
To that end, the Planned Parenthood architect was a major proponent of eugenics, which the newspaper defined as “a discredited belief in improving the human race through selective breeding, often targeted at poor people, those with disabilities, immigrants, and people of color.”
Karen Seltzer, chair of the New York clinic’s board, said Tuesday the removal of Sanger’s name from the facility “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.”
As recently as 2016, Planned Parenthood released a document admitting Sanger had said some inappropriate things, but argued she was overall well intentioned.
In 1939, Sanger launched the “Negro Project,” an initiative aimed at “helping Negroes to control their birthdate,” while advocating for a federal “population bureau” to police human reproduction. She also addressed the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in 1926. In addition, the Planned Parenthood founder promoted the sterilization of people who have disabilities. If that’s not enough, Sanger also called for “placing so-called illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope fiends on farms and in open spaces as long as necessary for the strengthening and development of moral conduct.”
Rev. Dean Nelson, executive director of the Human Coalition Action and a black pastor, told Fox News Planned Parenthood’s decision to distance itself from Sanger is “long overdue” and demanded more action to be taken.
“You cannot acknowledge the racist person and history without admitting to the racist vision that has resulted in nearly 80% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities being located within walking distances of black neighborhoods,” he said. “This is the fulfillment of Margaret Sanger’s vision. It is unconscionable that the taxes of Americans go to an organization with racist founding and mission.”
“There’s no redeeming Planned Parenthood’s tainted origins and current-day racist practices,” he continued, “and I call on Congress to follow Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s lead and fully defund Planned Parenthood.”