A politician from Idaho is calling for a “troubling” bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger to be removed from the Smithsonian Institution. Sanger is known to have been a supporter of the racist philosophy of eugenics, a view which led to the forced sterilization of people considered ‘unfit’ by discriminatory standards.
“As our nation struggles to address racial injustice, it is unconscionable that an avowed racialist and eugenicist is featured so prominently,” wrote Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) in a letter to the Smithsonian. “Ms. Sanger is not the kind, inspirational figure you refer to when you talk about challenging our nation ‘to live up to its founding ideals.'”
Sanger, though long-praised by groups like Planned Parenthood and politicians like Hillary Clinton, had a habit of making discriminatory statements.
In 1922 in “The Pivot of Civilization” she said, “We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”
In a letter to one of her financiers, Clarence Gamble (heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune), she wrote, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Sanger also met with members of the Ku Klux Klan and placed a white supremacist—the Exalted Cyclops of the Massachusetts chapter of the Klan—on the Board of her American Birth Control League (later renamed Planned Parenthood).
As the United States works to end racism, protests are forming across the nation with the call for the removal of various statues from public spaces. Amidst all of this, Planned Parenthood has quietly begun to put distance between itself and its eugenicist founder, removing Sanger’s name from some of its facilities. The Smithsonian is long overdue in removing the bust of a woman who had a clear hatred for certain people groups.
“Ms. Sanger’s writings and teachings stand in sharp contrast to America’s founding principles which embrace equality, justice and human rights for all,” wrote Fulcher, who is not the first to call for the removal of the bust.
In 2015, prominent Black leaders sent a letter to the Smithsonian asking for the bust to be removed, pointing out that the “notorious ‘Negro Project,’ which sought to limit, if not eliminate, black births, was her brainchild.” They called the bust “a slap in the face to Black folks.”
Yet despite this letter and all of the proof of Sanger’s racism, five years later, concerned Americans are still calling on the Smithsonian to remove the bust honoring one of America’s most prominent eugenicists, whose organization is responsible for killing tens of thousands of preborn Black babies every year.
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