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Opinion: Sanger is Being Cancelled. Planned Parenthood Needs to Stop Carrying Out Her Racist Legacy

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author.

Spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement, our country has been forced to reckon with its racist past, while recognizing how historic racism still impacts us today. This has led many important and influential organizations to consider their own racist pasts and attempt to correct the lingering effects of structural racism.

One such organization is Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest abortion provider, which was founded by Margaret Sanger in 1916. Sanger developed the openly racist “Negro Project,” was an enthusiastic supporter of eugenics, and even spoke to a Klu Klux Klan affiliated group. In 1912, Sanger wrote that “the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”

While the pro-life movement has repeatedly pointed out Sanger’s racism, abortion rights activists have defended her and continued to celebrate her as a feminist icon. In fact, she has even been honored with a sculpture in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

However, thanks to the racial reckoning caused by the murder of George Floyd, pro-choicers have finally been forced to acknowledge the racism within the abortion rights movement. In response to numerous claims of racist organizational culture, Planned Parenthood of New York has denounced Sanger and renamed buildings previously named in her honor.

Unfortunately, renaming buildings does not change the fact that Planned Parenthood continues Sanger’s racist legacy by seeming to directly target Black communities. 79% of Planned Parenthood surgical abortion facilities are located within 2 miles of relatively high Black and/or Latinx populations and Black women are five times more likely to get an abortion than white women. If it weren’t for abortion, the Black population in America would be significantly higher. Planned Parenthood is carrying out Sanger’s racist goals by violently killing Black children while they are still in their mother’s womb. Since Roe v. Wade conjured up “the right to abortion” in 1973, over 16 million Black babies have been killed in the womb.

Planned Parenthood tries to defend their disproportionately high abortion rates among minorities by arguing that women of color have higher rates of unintended pregnancies than white women. However, this argument operates on the false assumption that killing a fetus is a morally acceptable solution to unintended pregnancies. Pregnant women need support, not the violence and dangers of abortion. Planned Parenthood is simply using “healthcare” as a guise for slaughtering children in the womb, with a particular emphasis on slaughtering Black children in the womb.

Indeed, the pro-choice side is full of euphemisms (e.g. “clump of cells” and “pregancy termination”) that distract from the uncomfortable truth that abortion kills an innocent human life. A smaller, less developed, and more vulnerable human life, but a human life nonetheless. If one truly believes that all humans deserve human rights, they must be anti-abortion.

As Americans continue fighting for racial justice, we must not ignore the harm abortion has caused Black Americans. It is not enough for Planned Parenthood to disavow Sanger’s racism; they must also stop executing her genocidal mission. While many young Americans call for the defunding of police departments due to their disproportionate brutality towards Black communities, we must be consistent and also call for the defunding of Planned Parenthood for the same reason. It’s not easy standing up to the billion dollar abortion industry, but we must continue fighting for human rights for all human beings, including the most vulnerable: children in the womb and, especially, Black children in the womb.

Avery is writing with a pseudonym. He is a student at UCLA who lives in Los Angeles, California. Some issues he is passionate about are defending children in the womb from abortion, protecting the environment from pollution and climate change, and improving healthcare access for all. He is affiliated with Live Action UCLA, an organization that provides care and assistance to pregnant college students.

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