By Spencer Landis
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York condemned its founder Margaret Sanger for her “harmful connections to the eugenics movement” and vowed to remove her name from their building, according to the group’s statement released Tuesday.
“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, chairwoman of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s board, said in a statement reported by the New York Times.
The Manhattan clinic also urged city leaders to remove Sanger’s name from a street sign adjacent to their building, according to the Times.
Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in 1916 and was a passionate advocate for women’s use of contraceptives when they were still illegal. She founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which would later evolve into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, according to PBS.
The Planned Parenthood Federation agreed with the New York clinic’s decision in a statement Tuesday, the Times reported.
“Planned Parenthood, like many other organizations that have existed for a century or more, is reckoning with our history, and working to address historical inequities to better serve patients and our mission,” spokeswoman Melanie Roussell Newman said.
The Planned Parenthood Federation, which described Sanger as “a trailblazer in the fight for reproductive rights” in a 2016 fact sheet, has previously been scrutinized for its founder’s beliefs.
Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson lambasted the national organization in an interview with Fox News in 2015.
“I know who Margaret Sanger is, and I know that she believed in eugenics, and one of the reasons you find most of their clinics in black neighborhoods is so that you can find a way to control that population,” the retired neurosurgeon and current secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development said.
Planned Parenthood is among many institutions that have begun removing references to controversial historical figures .
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