Letters to the Editor: The lie that Planned Parenthood’s founder was a virulent racist

Planned Parenthood in Thousand Oaks
A Planned Parenthood clinic in Thousand Oaks.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Clyde W. Ford wrongly lumps my grandmother, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, with far-right immigration opponents.

Her version of eugenics was far different from that described by Ford. It sought to address the manner in which heredity and other biological factors, as well as environmental and cultural ones, affect human health, intelligence and opportunity. My grandmother hoped to locate birth control in a larger program of preventive social medicine to improve the condition of all people.

She spoke out against immigration acts and other measures that promoted racial or ethnic stereotypes. She worked for more than 50 years to provide reproductive autonomy to poor women, including women of color, because she saw it as an essential tool of individual liberation and social justice, not of social control.

Alexander Sanger, New York


The writer chairs the International Planned Parenthood Council.


To the editor: Thanks to Ford for demonstrating the enduring toxicity and virulence of the racial animus informing Madison Grant’s 1916 book, “The Passing of the Great Race.” Vicious frauds like him and the Nation of Islam publishers of “The Secret Relationship Of Blacks and Jews” inspire scapegoating and paranoid dehumanization.

For too long, these lies have been accepted and their infectiousness downplayed, especially when they appear on the side of the political spectrum with which a journalist or pundit identifies — as when an L.A. Times columnist effectively argued that the Women’s March leaders who defended a virulently homophobic and anti-Semitic demagogue were something merely to be waved away.

Jo Perry, Studio City


To the editor: A piece that talks about our immigration problem without using the word “illegal” is disingenuous. We admit more than 1 million legal immigrants every year, and if the majority of Americans think we should allow more, we can change the law.

Our problem isn’t with immigration, it is with illegal immigration, no matter where the people are from.

P.J. Gendell, Beverly Hills