GOP candidate: If you like birth control you should like Confederate statues

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North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest claimed it's a 'double standard' to honor women's health champion Margaret Sanger but not the Confederacy.

On Wednesday, North Carolina's Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is currently running to be governor of the state, claimed progressives have a "double standard" for supporting Planned Parenthood but opposing statues that celebrate the Confederacy.

On the conservative talk radio "Tyler Cralle Show," host Tyler Cralle compared Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, to Confederate soldiers. Forest said supporting the work of Sanger, who changed women's lives by helping to legalize birth control, represents "a complete double standard that the left has on these things," in audio first flagged by American Bridge, a progressive opposition research organization.

Wednesday's comments follow claims Forest made over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, in which he said "the purpose of Planned Parenthood" is "to destroy the entire black race." Politifact has rated such claims, which are frequently circulated by conservative groups and figures, as false.

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Forest has a history of racist and insensitive remarks. In June 2019, Forest claimed diversity was a threat to America. He kicked off his campaign for governor by honoring Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, who, among other things, used the racist slur "tar baby" on the floor of the House of Representatives.

In December, he falsely claimed immigrants attacked "tens of thousands" of children in North Carolina, and in January, he defended a racist voter suppression law by claiming opponents of the law were the real racists.

Following the 2017 murderous white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, progressives have been more vocal about removing statues on public land glorifying Confederate soldiers. In an effort to defend the statues, Republicans have tried to equate Confederate symbols with Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive and sexual health care, including birth control and abortion.

In an essay on Sanger, writer Imani Gandy said, "it is simply untrue that Margaret Sanger wanted to exterminate the Black race. This is a flat-out lie."

Gandy calls out anti-abortion activists for their attempt to "infantilize Black women and strip them of their agency: They portray Margaret Sanger's birth control agenda as something that was done to Black women, rather than something in which Black women and much of the Black community as a whole enthusiastically participated."

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic spokesperson Susanna Birdsong said in a Wednesday response to Forest's comments that her organization "has a long-standing commitment to fighting for social justice and access to health care for all our patients no matter their income, no matter their zip code, no matter what."

She went on to add that "Dr. King admired the work of Planned Parenthood and, in 1966, was given an award for his work in partnership with Planned Parenthood Federation of America which was accepted by his wife, Coretta Scott King."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.