From The New York Times:
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York will remove the name of Margaret Sanger, a founder of the national organization, from its Manhattan health clinic because of her “harmful connections to the eugenics movement,” the group said on Tuesday.
Ms. Sanger, a public health nurse who opened the first birth control clinic in the United States in Brooklyn in 1916, has long been lauded as a feminist icon and reproductive-rights pioneer.
But her legacy also includes supporting eugenics, a discredited belief in improving the human race through selective breeding, often targeted at poor people, those with disabilities, immigrants and people of color.
“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, the chair of the New York affiliate’s board, said in a statement.
The group is also talking to city leaders about replacing Ms. Sanger’s name on a street sign that has hung near its offices on Bleecker Street for more than two decades.
The actions thrust Ms. Sanger onto a growing list of historical figures whose legacies are being re-evaluated amid both widespread protests against systemic racism and a pandemic that has exposed racial and economic inequalities in health care services.
Princeton University said last month that it would remove President Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and a residential college because of his segregationist views. Just four years ago, Princeton trustees voted against such a move.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the national organization, has defended Ms. Sanger in the past, citing her work with Black leaders in the 1930s and 1940s. As recently as 2016, the group issued a fact sheet saying that while it condemned some of her beliefs, she had mostly been well intentioned in trying to make birth control accessible for poor and immigrant communities.