Current Planned Parenthood head Alexis McGill Johnson penned an op-ed in the New York Times over the weekend calling on progressives to stop making excuses for their founder, Margaret Sanger.
“We’re done making excuses for our founder” reads the title of the article, which dives into Sanger’s “debated” history on race issues.
Former NFL standout and outspoken Christian Ben Watson issued a blunt retort to calls for talking about Sanger’s past, addressing the obvious elephant in the room:
“We need to talk about killing children,” Watson wrote sharply, pointing out what should be obvious to anyone about the organization chiefly concerned with facilitating abortions, killing hundreds of thousands of unborn children each year.
Given Sanger lived during an era in which most Americans were patently racist, it’s not irrational to concluded that Sanger shared many of those same beliefs of the day. Sanger’s controversial quotes have often been debated and argued, but her legacy cannot be – clinics devoted to abortion are commonly found in many of America’s minority communities.
From the op-ed in the Times:
For the 11 years that I’ve been involved with Planned Parenthood, founded by Sanger, her legacy on race has been debated. Sanger, a nurse, opened the nation’s first birth control clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn, in 1916, and dedicated her life to promoting birth control to improve women’s lives. But was she, or was she not, racist?
It’s a question that we’ve tried to avoid, but we no longer can. We must reckon with it.
The op-ed goes on to discuss how Sanger associated with white supremacist groups and championed eugenics, excusing them as a “product of her time.”
Johnson goes on to say abortion proponents have “hidden” behind the claim that her ideas were simply normative of culture at the time, and even sought to spin her associations and beliefs in a positive light.
But the truth is difficult to spin: Sanger spoke to the women of the KKK, and ultimately supported a Supreme Court decision in 1927 that led to forced sterilizations of those deemed “unfit” to procreate.
After arguing it’s impossible to “know what was in Sanger’s heart” on her alleged racism, they are not going to take any chances and begin to distance to distance themselves from their founder.
And the first step is making Margaret Sanger less prominent in our present and future. The Planned Parent Federation of America has already renamed awards previously given in her honor, and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York renamed its Manhattan health center in 2020. Other independently managed affiliates may choose to follow.
While Planned Parenthood has now addressed Sanger’s racism, there’s still the issue of racial disparity when it comes to the number of abortions happening in America each year.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Black women have been experiencing induced abortions at a rate nearly 4 times that of white women for at least 3 decades, and likely much longer. “The science community has refused to engage on the subject and the popular media has essentially ignored it.”