By Mary Margaret Olohan –
- Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon mocked fact-checkers Tuesday for downplaying allegations of racism against Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.
- Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson distanced the organization from its founder Saturday, touching on Sanger’s support for eugenics as well as the speech Sanger gave to to a women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan.
- “What do the fact-checkers who ran defense for them (and their founder Margaret Sanger) have to say for themselves,” Dillon asked Tuesday.
Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon mocked fact-checkers Tuesday for downplaying allegations of racism against Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.
In the Saturday New York Times op-ed, Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson distanced the organization from its founder, touching on Sanger’s support for eugenics as well as the speech Sanger gave to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan. The Planned Parenthood president did not mention Sanger’s “Negro Project,” an initiative aimed at giving black women access to birth control.
“By privileging whiteness, we’ve contributed to America harming Black women and other women of color,” McGill Johnson wrote.
Dillon said that for years, fact-checkers have white-washed Sanger’s legacy and downplayed her comments on eugenics and her targeting of the black community with birth control.
“Planned Parenthood has finally acknowledged their racist roots, so what do the fact-checkers who ran defense for them (and their founder Margaret Sanger) have to say for themselves,” Dillon tweeted Tuesday.
Planned Parenthood has finally acknowledged their racist roots, so what do the fact checkers who ran defense for them (and their founder Margaret Sanger) have to say for themselves? pic.twitter.com/lr0gI3SPGL
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) April 20, 2021
“Fact-checkers had every opportunity to hold Planned Parenthood accountable. But here’s @NPR “debunking” what Planned Parenthood now admits is true,” Dillon tweeted, linking to an NPR fact check on former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s assertion that Planned Parenthood was started to control the black population.
“Did Margaret Sanger believe in eugenics?” the fact check asked. “Yes, but not in the way Carson implied.”
The NPR fact check also said that Sanger’s attitude towards “African-Americans can certainly be viewed as paternalistic,” but added that “there is no evidence she subscribed to the more racist ideas of the time or that she coerced black women into using birth control.”
Dillon also drew attention to a Snopes fact check on whether a photograph showed Sanger at a KKK rally. Snopes rated the claim as “miscaptioned,” noting that while Sanger once spoke to the KKK, the photo “purportedly showing Sanger at a Klan rally is not genuine,” adding that “Sanger expressed no affinity for the KKK.”
“Here’s @snopes trying to create distance between Sanger and the KKK, even as they admit she spoke at a klan rally,” Dillon continued. “They claim she ‘disparaged’ the klan’s mission and only spoke to them to reach a wider audience.”
FactCheck.org defended both Sanger and Planned Parenthood from Herman Cain’s claim that Sanger wanted to prevent “black babies from being born,” Dillon noted. Cain, who died in July, was CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
“They smeared Herman Cain (who’s black), while advancing PP’s lie that Sanger ‘worked for social and racial justice,’” the Babylon Bee CEO said.
The Washington Post called Sanger a “racial pioneer” when Glenn Kessler fact-checked Cain’s comments in 2011. WaPo gave Cain’s comments four Pinocchio’s, said Cain was “spouting historical fiction,” and wrote, “there is no evidence that Sanger ever sought to kill black babies, either through the Negro Project or any other endeavor.”
“They perfectly echoed Planned Parenthood’s prior sugarcoating of Sanger’s views, as if they’d outsourced this piece to Planned Parenthood’s PR team,” Dillon joked.
The CEO of the Babylon Bee, a conservative satire website, also highlighted a Politifact check that made “sure you know just how much Margaret Sanger loved black people, and how wrong Ben Carson is for thinking otherwise.”
“They cite a biographer who claimed ‘Sanger actually opposed prejudice,’” Dillon said.
McGill Johnson’s New York Times op-ed noted that even though Sanger eventually distanced herself from the eugenics movement, she endorsed a Supreme Court decision that allowed states to sterilize the “unfit” without their consent — “a ruling that led to the sterilization of tens of thousands of people in the 20th century,” McGill Johnson wrote.
“The first human trials of the birth control pill — a project that was Sanger’s passion later in her life — were conducted with her backing in Puerto Rico, whereas many as 1,500 women were not told that the drug was experimental or that they might experience dangerous side effects,” the Planned Parenthood president said.
McGill Johnson wrote that “up until now, Planned Parenthood has failed to own the impact of our founder’s actions,” but noted that whether Sanger was a racist is “not a simple yes or no question.”
“We don’t know what was in Sanger’s heart, and we don’t need to in order to condemn her harmful choices,” the Planned Parenthood president said. “What we have is a history of focusing on white womanhood relentlessly.”
“Whether our founder was a racist is not a simple yes or no question,” McGill Johnson said. “Our reckoning is understanding her full legacy and its impact. Our reckoning is the work that comes next.”
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