Planned Parenthood will remove the name of founder Margaret Sanger from its Manhattan clinic because of what it called her “harmful connections to the eugenics movement”.
Sanger was a leading advocate of the eugenics movement and promoted sterilisation of people she deemed to have undesirable traits or economic circumstances.
Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson said Sanger’s philosophy remains at the heart of the US-based abortion group.
Sanger, who founded her first clinic in 1916, argued in favour of preventing the birth of people who would develop physical and mental illnesses.
She encouraged women not to have more children if “the parents, though healthy themselves, find that their children are physically or mentally defective”.
And on a radio programme, Sanger is reported to have said that “morons, mental defectives, epileptics, illiterates, paupers, unemployables” should be surgically sterilised.
Karen Seltzer, Chair of Planned Parenthood’s board, also admitted that Margaret Sanger’s “racist legacy” has been “clearly documented”.
“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”.
Abby Johnson, who left her job as a Planned Parenthood clinic director to become a pro-life advocate, said: “Margaret Sanger is a known eugenicist whose legacy is built on racism.”
She added: “Even though Planned Parenthood is moving to separate themselves from Sanger’s name, her influence on the abortion giant remains at its core”.
US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has previously written about the abortion industry’s historical connection to eugenics.
Justice Thomas wrote: “From the beginning, birth control and abortion were promoted as means of effectuating eugenics.
“Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was particularly open about the fact that birth control could be used for eugenic purposes.”
He added that today, Planned Parenthood promotes abortion as “‘reproductive health services’ that can “easily be used to eliminate children with unwanted characteristics”.