Abortion provider Planned Parenthood of Greater New York said Tuesday that it would remove Margaret Sanger’s name from its Manhattan clinic, disavowing her nearly a century after she founded the organization to “address Sanger's legacy and system of institutional racism.”
“Margaret Sanger’s concerns and advocacy for reproductive health have been clearly documented, but so too has her racist legacy,” the organization said in a statement. “There is overwhelming evidence for Sanger’s deep belief in eugenic ideology, which runs completely counter to our values at PPGNY.
“Removing her name is an important step toward representing who we are as an organization and who we serve.”
The announcement comes after decades of criticism from pro-life groups, who have repeatedly pointed out Sanger’s history only to have PPGNY – and its national affiliate Planned Parenthood Federation of America – defend her and her legacy.
Sanger opened her first abortion clinic in the New York City borough of Brooklyn in 1916 and founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which changed its named to Planned Parenthood in 1942.
Planned Parenthood and its affiliated organizations throughout the country are the single largest abortion service provider in the United States, performing more than 300,000 according to its 2014-2015 annual report.
“You cannot acknowledge the racist person and history without admitting to the racist vision that has resulted in nearly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities being located within walking distance of Black neighborhoods,” Fox News quoted Rev. Dean Nelson, the executive director of Human Coalition Action and a Black minister.
“This is the fulfillment of Margaret Sanger’s vision. It is unconscionable that the taxes of Americans go to an organization with racist founding and mission. There’s no redeeming Planned Parenthood’s tainted origins and current-day racist practices, and I call on Congress to follow Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s lead and fully defund Planned Parenthood.”
Two weeks ago, rap singer, songwriter, producer and declared presidential candidate Kanye West told Forbes that “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.”
Planned Parenthood also said it will ask city officials to remove an honorary “Margaret Sanger Square” street sign at the corner of Bleecker and Mott streets in lower Manhattan outside its offices.
The decision to remove Sanger’s name comes a month after an open letter called Sanger a “racist, white woman” and said the organization was steeped in “institutional racism.” It was signed by about 350 current and former staffers of Planned Parenthood of New York – some who identified themselves only by an initial and description of “employee” – along with about 800 donors and volunteers.
Its primary criticism was of PPGNY President and CEO Laura McQuade, who was called a “toxic leader and autocrat.” She resigned five days after the letter was published.
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