Margaret Sanger is Being Whitewashed in High School History Books

Jessica Nardi - 08 Sep 2020


You’d think the foundations of the birth control movement would be explored in history classes when studying its impact on the sexual revolution. At a surface level, teachers may chalk it up to sexual decadence–they might even celebrate it as “sexual liberation”–but the history of the organized eugenics movement driving the nation’s largest abortion machine remains buried.

A recent report found that nine of the most popular high school history books for the U.S. have no mention of eugenics, and even more specifically, the eugenicist history of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger. 

While six of the books present Sanger as a champion of women’s rights, none of them show the darker side of the story in Sanger’s eugenic ideology and connections to racist activity.

Many are so willing to toss out historical figures who had any connection to slave-owning or other racial issues, yet will pass over Sanger’s own connections.  Sanger pioneered “the Negro Project” in the 1930s — which targeted African Americans through abortion and birth control — and spoke at Ku Klux Klan events.  Now her institutionalized legacy — Planned Parenthood — carries on her work, disguising blatant racism and killing as compassion through placing 88% of their mega facilities in walking distance of minority neighborhoods, contributing to Black women having the highest abortion rates.        

And this historical whitewashing goes beyond education as Planned Parenthood themselves are trying to draw as little attention as possible to Sanger’s alignments, removing her name from one facility in NYC but still listing her as a hero on their website.   

But Sanger’s real legacy is helping to end lives, not better them. Her impact on history certainly earns her a place in the books, but the narrative has to be as it really was and not what Planned Parenthood wants us to imagine so they keep up their business. 

History is crucial so we learn from the good as well as mistakes of the past to build a better future.  From its heartbreaking effects, the birth control movement and abortion industry have taught us that devaluing human life enough to make it easily disposable leads to the most horrendous acts.  This not only devalues the humanity of the pre-born lost but also their mothers by telling them their pregnancies and natural functions are unwanted tragedies.  

While parents, educators, and religious leaders bear a primary responsibility for helping to form each generation’s knowledge of the past to better shape the future, it’s up to all of us to tell the real stories of history’s saints and sinners alike.

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