Removing the street sign demonstrates PPGNY’s ongoing commitment to reckon with Sanger’s support for eugenics and to repair, heal and build a more inclusive PPGNY
New York – In a vote of solidarity with Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) and its communities, today the New York City Council approved the removal of Margaret Sanger Square from outside PPGNY's Manhattan health center at Bleecker and Mott Streets. The un-naming of Margaret Sanger Square demonstrates PPGNY’s commitment to reckon with the totality of its founder’s legacy and systemic racism and ableism, which negatively impacts the well-being of Planned Parenthood patients and staff.
Margaret Sanger, who founded the organization that became Planned Parenthood, was a champion of birth control, which expanded bodily autonomy for many, including women of color. She also embraced eugenics — a racist and ableist ideology that deemed certain people unfit to parent. Through her support of eugenics, Margaret Sanger helped to build a reproductive rights movement that also deepened injustice in the health care system and denied bodily autonomy to communities of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, families with low incomes, and others.
Her actions some 100+ years ago continue to be weaponized by Planned Parenthood opponents that are often outside the doors of PPGNY’s Manhattan health center. Public acknowledgment of Sanger’s actions upholds PPGNY’s mission to create a future where every person — regardless of their race, income, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, abilities, or inabilities — can access expert, compassionate sexual and reproductive health care without shame or judgment.
Statement from Joy D. Calloway, Interim President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York:
“Today marks a remarkable milestone in our journey to reckon with Margaret Sanger’s legacy and our commitment to creating equitable access to sexual and reproductive health care for the communities we serve.”
“Planned Parenthood of Greater New York strives to achieve reproductive justice for Black, Latinx, Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, and marginalized individuals who still carry the generational trauma of Margaret Sanger’s actions to this day. The un-naming of Margaret Sanger Square outside our Manhattan health center indicates to PPGNY’s patients, supporters, and opponents that the organization is ready to face the totality of Sanger’s legacy and embrace the work of becoming an anti-racist, multicultural, and inclusive health care provider, educator, and advocate.”
Statement from Merle McGee, Chief Equity and Engagement Officer, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York:
“For years we have witnessed Planned Parenthood opponents use Margaret Sanger Square as a symbol of hate to shame our patients, especially women of color, and stigmatize reproductive health care. As a trusted health care provider, PPGNY is obligated to dismantle barriers and create pathways to care and services for all of our communities with dignity.”
“We are not canceling Margaret Sanger, we are being accountable for the totality of her legacy so we can repair, heal and build a more inclusive PPGNY.”
In 2020, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York announced the removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from its Manhattan health center. Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s reckoning with Sanger’s legacy is the result of PPGNY’s Reviving Radical initiative, a long-term investment in shaping a new vision for PPGNY’s relationship with and within the communities of color they serve, most of which are Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, and immigrant communities.
PPGNY achieved today's victory with the support of Speaker Corey Johnson; NYC Council Women’s Caucus; NYC Councilmembers Margaret Chin, Karen Koslowitz, Vanessa Gibson, Farah Louis, Carlina Rivera, and Inez Barron; Councilmember-elect Chris Marte, Community Board 2, and the NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders. We are also grateful to our Reviving Radical Commissioners - Dr. Lynn Roberts, Aimée Thorne-Thomsen, Nia Eshu Martin-Robinson, Chanel Porchia-Albert, Pilar Herrero, Dr. Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, Carmen Mojica, Cara Page – for their stewardship throughout this journey.
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) is a leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care and education, and an advocate committed to improving health outcomes for all. PPGNY offers a wide range of services at 23 health centers across 65% of the state - including gynecological care, birth control, cancer screenings, pregnancy testing, STI testing and treatment, transgender hormone therapy, vasectomy, and HIV prevention, testing, and counseling. PPGNY is also proud to provide medication and surgical abortion services to anyone who needs compassionate, non-judgmental care. PPGNY is a trusted source of medically accurate, evidence-based information that allows people to make informed decisions about their health and future. As a voice for reproductive freedom, PPGNY supports legislation and policies that ensure all New Yorkers have access to the full range of reproductive health services and education.