Planned Parenthood has long been criticized for the views of its founder Margaret Sanger, who advocated for eugenics. Now, the organization’s chief and executive officer Alexis McGill Johnson, is putting her foot down on Sanger by cancelling her.
The organization intends to cancel the abortion advocate over her views on “white supremacist groups and eugenics” after years of avoiding criticism about Sanger’s views. Sanger, a pioneer of the eugenics movement in the 20thcentury, branded her proposals as “family planning” because she believed it was necessary to trim the fat from the human race by stopping less desirable people (i.e. the poor, uneducated, and largely-non-white people) from reproducing.
“The main objects of the Population Congress would be to apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring[;] to give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization,” Sanger once wrote, as reported by the Daily Wire.
Sanger’s views are a poor fit for the sensitivities of contemporary Americans, liberal or otherwise. As such, Planned Parenthood is now distancing itself from the core tenets of its founder to wipe the original sin of its institution.
“Up until now, Planned Parenthood has failed to own the impact of our founder’s actions,” wroteJohnson in her New York Times op-ed. “We have defended Sanger as a protector of bodily autonomy and self-determination while excusing her association with white supremacist groups and eugenics as an unfortunate ‘product of her time.’”
“Sanger spoke to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan at a rally in New Jersey to generate support for birth control. And even though she eventually distanced herself from the eugenics movement because of its hard turn to explicit racism, she endorsed the Supreme Court’s 1927 decision in Buck v. Bell, which allowed states to sterilize people deemed ‘unfit’ without their consent and sometimes without their knowledge — a ruling that led to the sterilization of tens of thousands of people in the 20th century,” she continued.
Curiously, while Johnson does acknowledge her founder’s racial bias, Johnson says that Sanger’s primary focus was on “white womanhood,” which runs contrary to contemporary feminism’s focus on intersectionality.
“We don’t know what was in Sanger’s heart, and we don’t need to in order to condemn her harmful choices,” Johnson wrote. “What we have is a history of focusing on white womanhood relentlessly. Whether our founder was a racist is not a simple yes or no question. Our reckoning is understanding her full legacy and its impact. Our reckoning is the work that comes next.”
To purge the sin of its founder, Planned Parenthood will be renaming any of its buildings named after Sanger. It has already removed Sanger’s biography from its official website to spearhead the move.
“Sanger remains an influential part of our history and will not be erased, but as we tell the history of Planned Parenthood’s founding, we must fully take responsibility for the harm that Sanger caused to generations of people with disabilities and Black, Latino, Asian-American, and Indigenous people,” Johnson said.
Despite Johnson’s comments, it remains to be seen if Planned Parenthood will continue to target its advertising on minorities and impoverished groups. As the Daily Wire details, the organization’s own statistics show that 80% of its abortion facilities are located in low-income and neighborhoods with predominantly non-white populations.