Written by: Olivia Carr
With the growing momentum of racial justice movements over the past few months, numerous organizations have been exposed for ways they have perpetuated racial discrimination and injustice. Some of these organizations have recently been exposed and questioned for the first time; others have racist roots that are now becoming known on a broad scale. However, while unfortunately the identification of racism that exists within many non-profit organizations is not surprising, it evokes a certain kind of anger when it lies at the heart of organizations that place special, public emphasize on allying themselves with minorities, the marginalized, and the oppressed of society. One example of a so-called progressive, yet hypocritical organization is Planned Parenthood, whose Manhattan branch this July dropped its affiliation with Planned Parenthood’s heralded matriarch, Margaret Sanger, for her racist, eugenic beliefs that inspired her to found the organization in the first place.
Margaret Sanger is not only Planned Parenthood’s foundress, but she is also the trailblazer for the legalization of birth control and abortions in the United States and the pro-choice movement as a whole. While Planned Parenthood would have its supporters believe that Sanger championed women’s rights and equality, her own autobiography is telling of her true beliefs. Namely, Sanger’s support for birth control and abortion was rooted in a goal to use both means to eliminate non- whites and impoverished people from society. She believed in the strategic placement of birth control and abortion clinics in communities largely populated by people of racial minorities and people with low economic status in an attempt to work towards a ‘superior race’ that was white, smart, and wealthy. In short, Sanger’s writings spare no harshness in conveying that she believed the path to ‘an ideal race’ lay squarely with preventing racial and economic minorities from having any more children.
Given Sanger’s beliefs, it is not surprising that this New York Planned Parenthood clinic in Manhattan wants to sever ties with its foundress in an attempt to distance itself from the organization’s racist origin. However, those racist and eugenic roots both in Planned Parenthood and the entire pro-choice movement are still there nonetheless. These roots bear no resemblance to the pillars of choice, equality, or opportunity that the movement publically champions.
Some of the goals that Planned Parenthood publically professes—such as accessibility and affordability of maternal and prenatal care—are admirable. But an organization rooted in eugenicism that has tried to cover up its past cannot be trusted. That’s where Options United comes in, as the goal of providing resources to women is at the true core of the organization. However, Options United has a holistic, transparent approach to achieving this goal that its secular counterparts cannot match.
Options United supports women of all backgrounds—racial, ethnic, economic, and religious. It takes an approach that truly empowers and protects women in crisis, by providing opportunities to them to receive counseling, support, prenatal care, ultrasounds, and other services at little to no cost. All of this is rooted in a holistic pro-life ethic that sees the inherent beauty, worth, and dignity of all lives. Options United truly empowers women by offering choices—not just one choice—by connecting each client with a pregnancy resource center that will embrace each woman in crisis with love and support. Options Untied is also a global organization and has connections to pregnancy resource centers all over the world. Clients, no matter where they are located, can call the Options United helpline to receive timely help and resources.
The beauty of being pro-life is that “pro-life” is an all-encompassing phrase, meaning that being pro- life necessarily means being pro black lives, pro lives of all people of color, pro lives of women in crisis pregnancy situations, and pro lives of babies in utero. These statements go hand-in-hand and cannot be separated from one another, like Margaret Sanger tried to do not so long ago, when through her eugenicism she was not pro-lives of people in color or pro-all lives of babies in utero. Conversely, Options United was founded on and continues to embrace the holistic pro-life mission wholeheartedly. Because of these beliefs, Options United supports women by connecting them to resources they need for the sake of their health, safety, and well-being, simply living out the conviction that every life is worth loving and caring for.