Twenty-six Republicans, led by presidential candidate Ted Cruz and Rep. Louie Gohmert, have called on the Smithsonian Institution to immediately remove a bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, saying that honoring her "is an outrage."
"Ms. Sanger was an avowed advocate of eugenics and the extermination of groups of people she deemed as 'undesirables," the GOP legislators said in a letter
sent Friday to Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery.
Sanger's bust is part of the gallery's "Struggle for Justice" exhibit at the Smithsonian.
"Specifically, Ms. Sanger singled out African Americans, among other minority groups, as deserving to be subjected to such horrific and inhumane treatment," the letter said.
"Honoring a figure who promoted such hatred and deep-seated racism is not only contrary to the values that the exhibit is purporting to promote, but also deeply antithetical to the very values most Americans hold dear."
Both Cruz and Gohmert represent Texas in Congress. Cruz is a first-term senator, while Gohmert has served in the House since 2005.
The letter, signed by 24 other Republicans, follows as similar request sent to the Smithsonian in August by a group of black pastors.
The exhibit includes busts of such civil-rights figures as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.
"There is no ambiguity in what Margaret Sanger’s bust represents: hatred, racism, and the destruction of unborn life," Cruz said Tuesday. "Not only should we continue efforts to redirect funds from Planned Parenthood, an organization founded by Sanger that is currently under criminal investigation, we must also work to ensure that her inhumane life’s work is in no way promoted."
Gohmert called Sanger's display in the exhibit "a complete and utter outrage."
"One of the founders of Planned Parenthood, Ms. Sanger portrayed deep-rooted racism by advocating birth control as a method for controlling the population of minorities," the congressman said. "This prejudice must not be celebrated or exalted.
"Her bust should be removed not only from the exhibit but from the National Portrait Gallery altogether," Gohmert added, "since her legacy is one of prejudice against minorities and widespread destruction of their unborn human lives."
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