Student pro-life group lobbied for the removal on account of Sanger's racist and eugenicist views
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A poster featuring Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was removed from a University of Missouri library display after members of a pro-life students group petitioned that it be taken down on account of Sanger’s racist and eugenicist ideas.
Kristen Wood, president of Mizzou Students for Life, said in a statement, “We applaud the library for removing the poster and no longer celebrating Margaret Sanger and her eugenicist views. At the same time, we have told the library we expect they will never put the poster back up again, and if they do we will continue with our petitions and public pressure. The university should never be celebrating and promoting someone who publicly opposed people in poverty and racial minorities from having children, and someone who supported putting people on birth control to prevent them from having children.”
Ceci Haberdash, the group’s Public Relations Chair, added, “While we wanted the picture off the library walls, the real end goal for us was education. If the picture comes down then it opens a conversation about her racist, eugenic views and if we would’ve had to educate the entire student body before the picture came down then we were fully prepared to do so. People deserve to know the truth.”
In a press release, the group Students for Life said that the library had said it would remove the poster during its next review, but then removed it days after they received a letter from the students’ group.
In the letter to the library, the group announced that it was circulating a petition to alert the national media to the story, and noted that they were in contact with Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., and anticipated her support.
The poster of Sanger was featured in a library display, between posters of civil rights heroes Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
The petition notes that in addition to founding the American Birth Control League, which was to become Planned Parenthood, Sanger held racist and eugenicist ideas. Sanger made several statements, the petition noted, that would warrant her poster’s removal from the library.
These include a statement calling for the need to stop parents from having more children when others are born with mental or physical disabilities, and quote from Sanger warning about the dangers of “overbreeding among the working class.”
Sanger, while hailed by many as a pioneer in birth control, saw contraception as a means to create a superior race of people, and wrote about the racist element to her views.
In a 1921 article on the history of birth control, she wrote:
“Birth Control is not contraception indiscriminately and thoughtlessly practiced. It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”
In 2015 a series of protests were held at the University of Missouri, starting with an event called “Racism Lives Here.” The protests received widespread media attention, and led to the resignation of the school’s president.