Planned Parenthood Federation of America
1110 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20005
Dear Alexis McGill Johnson:
We are a diverse coalition of Black leaders fighting for the dignity of all human life. Like you, we feel called to action by America’s collective reckoning with its history of racism and unjust violence against Black lives. We affirm, with you, that Black Lives Matter and that every human being, regardless of race or ethnicity, deserves equal respect, equal rights, and equal dignity.
That’s why we’re writing to you today. We are asking you to use your position at Planned Parenthood to confront the systemic racism of America’s abortion practices and to publicly renounce the racist legacy of your founder Margaret Sanger.
Since the tragic killing of George Floyd, Planned Parenthood has openly voiced its support of Black Lives Matter and its commitment to combating racism in all its forms. Planned Parenthood National has said that Planned Parenthood will be “turning inward and dedicating ourselves to calling out injustice and reckoning with our own institutionalized racism long-term.” In your own statement about America’s reckoning with racism, you said: “We must demand justice; we must demand an end to the inequity that continues to define every moment of life for Black America.”
But Ms. Johnson, will you confront the iniquity that your abortion practices perpetrate against Black lives? Will you fight the racism that targets Black lives in the womb
The impact of abortion on Black communities is unequal and disproportionate. Despite constituting only 13% of the female population, Black women represent 36 percent of all abortions, and Black women are five times more likely than white women to receive an abortion. In some cities, like New York, more Black children are aborted every year than are born alive.
This is no accident. Across the country, Planned Parenthood’s surgical facilities target minority communities for abortion. In fact, 79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located in or near communities of color. Can Planned Parenthood really claim to care for Black lives while remaining complicit in the targeting of Black pregnant women
This massive iniquity, and the disproportionate harm it does to Black Americans, is fully in keeping with the racist, eugenicist vision of your organization’s founder. Margaret Sanger wanted to use abortion and contraception to cull minority populations.
When Black employees of Planned Parenthood of New York called for the removal of Laura McQuade as president and CEO, they raised awareness about the toxic culture and systemic racism within the organization, including pay inequity and racial inequities among patients. This is no surprise considering the organization’s founding beliefs about minority and vulnerable populations.
Ms. Johnson, your words about Black Lives Matter ring hollow while your organization perpetuates this racist legacy. While Planned Parenthood of Greater New York has disavowed Sanger’s eugenic views, Planned Parenthood National has remained silent.
We call on you to change that. Planned Parenthood National must renounce the views and legacy of its founder and acknowledge its ongoing systemic targeting of Black Americans with abortion facilities.
You are right that every American must confront, challenge, and dismantle the racist institutions and practices that surround us. Yet Planned Parenthood must do the same.
Frederick Douglass Foundation
No matter your color, age, sex, or religion, please add your name to our letter going to former Vice President Joe Biden & Senator Kamala Harris.