June 10, 2023

Planned Parenthood & Racism: Black Pro-Life Leaders Ask Abortion Group to Renounce Margaret Sanger

A member of the New York Police Department stands outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in N.Y., November 28, 2015. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

In July, Planned Parenthood’s New York affiliate disavowed the organization’s founder, Margaret Sanger, and removed her name from its main abortion clinic in Manhattan, citing her “harmful connections to the eugenics movement.”

“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.

This morning, more than 100 black pro-life leaders sent a letter to the national Planned Parenthood Federation of America, asking its president to “confront the systemic racism of America’s abortion practices and to publicly renounce the racist legacy of your founder, Margaret Sanger.”

The letter asks Planned Parenthood’s leadership to acknowledge and correct the abortion provider’s “unequal and disproportionate” effects of abortion on black Americans. “Despite constituting only 13% of the female population, Black women represent 36% of all abortions, and Black women are five times more likely than white women to receive an abortion,” the signatories write. “In some cities, like New York, more Black children are aborted every year than are born alive.”

They argue that this is intentional, noting that 79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s surgical-abortion clinics are located in or near minority communities: “Can Planned Parenthood really claim to care for Black lives while remaining complicit in the targeting of Black pregnant women?”

As the letter points out, even if the group were to disavow Sanger’s support for population control and eugenics targeting minorities, Planned Parenthood’s ongoing role as the nation’s largest abortion provider is enacting Sanger’s beliefs. “This massive iniquity, and the disproportionate harm it does to Black Americans, is fully in keeping with the racist, eugenicist vision of your organization’s founder,” they write.

The letter was signed by about 120 pro-life leaders in the African-American community, an important part of the pro-life movement that is often under-covered because it contradicts the abortion-rights narrative. Several elected officials at the state level signed on to the letter, including Democratic state senator from Louisiana Katrina Jackson and Indiana attorney general Curtis Hill. The full letter can be found here.

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