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To meet our mission, we must acknowledge our own history

As we're called upon to grapple with our 100-year history, we can no longer afford to reconcile Margaret Sanger's legacy: We must reckon with it. In a recent New York Times op-ed, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s President and CEO, Alexis McGill Johnson, laid the foundation for this moment.

The difficult truth is that Margaret Sanger’s racist alliances and belief in eugenics have caused irreparable damage to the health and lives of Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, and many others. Her alignment with the eugenics movement, rooted in white supremacy, is in direct opposition to our mission and belief that all people should have the right to determine their own future and decide, without coercion or judgement, whether and when to have children. 

We must acknowledge the harm done, examine how we have perpetuated this harm, and ensure that we do not repeat Sanger’s mistakes. We denounce the history and legacy of anti-Blackness in gynecology and the reproductive rights movement, and the mistreatment that continues to this day. We value the fundamental freedom of all people to control their own bodies, their lives, and their futures, and we will work every day until full health, dignity, and self-determination are a reality for everyone. 

Now, in our second century, Planned Parenthood is being given an opportunity to look inward, address harm, and uphold our mission to care for all the communities we serve. We take this responsibility seriously and are grateful to be a part of this moment in Planned Parenthood’s history.

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