In the current casting down of monuments and former heroes, one historic figure who deserves to be cast down has been largely overlooked: Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, whose crusade for birth control was motivated by her racist beliefs.
But that may be changing, as this icon of feminism and the pro-abortion movement may be inspiring some iconoclasm.
So says Alexandra DeSanctis in an essay in National Review entitled How Long Will Margaret Sanger Last?:
I wonder. . .whether these crusaders will train their gaze on one of our nation’s far more serious offenders of racial equality: Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. She was, after all, a foremost proponent of the eugenics movement — motivated by her particular animus toward poor non-whites — and her campaign to legalize birth control was motivated in large part by her desire to prevent the “unfit” and “feeble-minded” from reproducing.
After several decades of brushing aside pro-life critiques of its tainted history, Planned Parenthood is now fielding similar complaints from some of its own employees. Just last month, more than 350 current and former staffers of Planned Parenthood’s Greater New York affiliate — along with several hundred donors and volunteers — published an open letter condemning Sanger as “a racist, white woman” and arguing that the organization is guilty of “institutional racism.”
“We know that Planned Parenthood has a history and a present steeped in white supremacy and we, the staff, are motivated to do the difficult work needed to improve,” the letter added.
Not only was Sanger racist, she was a Nazi sympathizer who praised Hitler’s eugenics program that was a major factor in the Holocaust. (Read George Grant’s Killer Angel: A Short Biography of Planned Parenthood’s Founder, Margaret Sanger.)
I have read feminist defenses of Sanger in light of her racism and fascist sympathies, which are historical facts and not in dispute. The apologists’ arguments are along the lines of “she was a woman of her time,” “she had more noble intentions as well,” and “all the good she did outweighs her flaws.” And yet those same arguments don’t seem to apply to newly-disfavored Americans, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
So one would think that Black Lives Matter protests and Antifa activism would target Planned Parenthood clinics. Maybe, with the New York action, and developments such as Kanye West’s denunciation of Sanger and Planned Parenthood, she too will get canceled.
There is nothing liberal or humane or progressive about abortion. It is the great blind spot of American progressives, an issue that gives the lie to their rhetoric about defending the marginalized and standing up for the oppressed. No one is as marginalized and oppressed as a soon-to-be-born infant in an abortion clinic.
Two hundred years ago, there were white people of all political persuasions who accepted slavery. One hundred years ago, there were white people of all political persuasions who were racists. Indeed, the Democrats were the party of racial segregation, even as they were also the party of liberal political and economic policies. Such Americans were not even conscious of their blind spot when it came to race, so that they were oblivious to the way their racial attitudes contradicted their ideals. Now, looking back, we see the evils of their racism clearly. So it is and so it will be with abortion. Maybe in another hundred years or less, we will look back on today’s pro-abortion mentality with the same revulsion.
Americans as a whole are waking up to the evil of racism. Perhaps they will become similarly “woke” to the related evil of abortion, which likewise dehumanizes and brutalizes a whole class of human beings.
Photo: “Margaret Higgins Sanger” by Joy Buba, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Photograph by Cliff via Flickr, Creative Commons License