In the age of “cancel culture,” abortion advocates still don’t want to cancel the founder of the country’s largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood, which claims to provide mammograms and prenatal care, exists to kill the unborn. Margaret Sanger founded the abortion giant’s forerunner, the American Birth Control League, in 1923, and one of the goals was to stop “dysgenic” breeding. A supporter of eugenics, Sanger considered blacks “socially undesirable people” and once said, “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.”
Sanger developed a program called the “Negro Project” to use black ministers and doctors to spread her message of contraception and sterilization among blacks. An unofficial project continues to the present day. Black women kill their unborn babies at three times the rate of white women, and blacks calling themselves Christians vote overwhelmingly for pro-abortion candidates.
A Planned Parenthood affiliate in New York announced last summer said that it would remove Sanger’s name from the building. Perhaps that is what prompted Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s president, to announce in the New York Times that it is time to “reckon” with its founder. Though Sanger associated with white supremacist groups and supported eugenics, McGill Johnson calls the facts “complicated.”
Sanger spoke to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan at a rally in New Jersey to generate support for birth control. Even though she eventually distanced herself from the eugenics movement, 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.
In the age of “wokeness” and cancellation, those facts don’t sound complicated. But McGill Johnson still can’t let go.
“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….We will no longer make excuses or apologize for Margaret Sanger’s actions. But we can’t simply call her racist, scrub her from our history, and move on. We must examine how we have perpetuated her harms over the last century — as an organization, an institution, and as individuals.”
Since Planned Parenthood is in a “reckoning” mood, will McGill Johnson ask the Smithsonian Museum to remove a bust of Sanger in the National Portrait Gallery? A group of black pastors asked the museum in 2015 to remove the bust from its “Struggle for Justice” exhibit. Led by E.W. Jackson, the group wrote that Sanger was a eugenicist and no champion of justice. She had “an elitist attitude toward those she regarded as ‘the feeble minded;’ speaking at rallies of Ku Klux Klan women; and communications with Hitler sympathizers. Also, the notorious ‘Negro Project’ which sought to limit, if not eliminate, black births, was her brainchild.”
The Smithsonian rejected their request. In a short letter (PDF), the National Portrait Gallery director claimed that the museum is a place to showcase people who’ve made a significant impact on culture, both positive and negative. Black leaders like W.E.B. DuBois supported her cause, and Martin Luther King accepted a Sanger Award. Sanger retained her place of honor alongside men like Booker T. Washington and Thurgood Marshall.
Would the Smithsonian remove the bust if McGill Johnson and other “woke” abortion advocates asked?