The Corner

Politics & Policy

Planned Parenthood of New York Finally Disavows Margaret Sanger

The pro-life movement has spent decades pointing out that Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, had racist views and was a leading member of the eugenics movement primarily because she wished to eliminate populations she called “unfit” and “feebleminded” (read: poor, non-white).

Planned Parenthood is finally catching up: Its New York affiliate has disavowed Sanger for these views and will remove her name from its abortion clinic in Manhattan, citing her “harmful connections to the eugenics movement.”

Here are some details from the New York Times report:

“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 group is also talking to city leaders about replacing Ms. Sanger’s name on a street sign that has hung near its offices on Bleecker Street for more than two decades.

It’s a welcome move, of course, and better late than never. But I can’t say it’s not incredibly frustrating to have watched pro-lifers point out Sanger’s troubling views for so long only for Planned Parenthood and its supporters to ignore or dismiss those facts or outright attack pro-lifers for daring to mention them. And it’s not just Planned Parenthood officials who have been keen to overlook Sanger’s support for eugenics and her obvious racism. Until 2015, the organization gave out a Margaret Sanger award to honor leaders for their “excellence and leadership in the reproductive health and rights movement.”

The 2009 recipient? Hillary Clinton. And in 2014, the honor went to Nancy Pelosi. Neither woman had a word to say then about the racist, pro-eugenics views of the award’s namesake. How the times have changed.

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