Update: March 15 2:00pm
NBC25 talks with a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to get her perspective on the controversial billboard. Click the story here.
Update: March 9th 10:00 am
Since NBC25 did this story on the Flint Area Right to Life billboard ban, we have learned of a similar incident in New York City.
According to a CBS affiliate, a building size sign was forced to be taken down last month. The advertisement depicts a young African American girl, and states "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb." It then directs people to a website, thatsabortion.com.
The article says people were calling the billboard racist.
Do you think the New York anti-abortion sign is more offensive than the Flint Area Right to Life sign? Leave us your comments and let us know why or why not.
Update: March 8th 1:30pm.
That message, a quote from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger talking about the extermination of black people.
Both pro-life and pro-choice supporters are trying to answer, "Who was Margaret Sanger?" You can read exerpts of her book, "The Pivot of Civilization" by clicking here. Planned Parenthood outlines who Margaret Sanger was here. A pro-life group outlines who Margaret Sanger was here.
The sign that CBS Outdoor refused to put on one of its Flint billboards quotes Margaret Sanger saying, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population."
The group behind the sign, Flint Area Right to Life, says banning the billboard is keeping the truth about Sanger from getting out.
"If you read her biography, she was very much tied to the Ku Klux Klan, to the Nazis, to Hitler. She very much wanted thoroughbreds. That's the word she used, thoroughbreds, and the way to make that happen was to eliminate minorities. She called them weeds in the garden of life," says Judy Climer, director of Flint Area Right to Life.
Planned Parenthood says these criticisms are from anti-choice groups twisting Sanger's words and taking them out of context.
The group admits Sanger was a product of her time and embraced some ideas that are not considered popular today.
It says, despite that, Sanger was a pioneer and champion for all women's rights.
"Margaret Sanger was totally in favor of individuals, women, having the information and the access to family planning in order to decide what is best for their families. She felt that through this the race, and when she said the race she meant the human race, would be better," says Desiree Cooper, director of community and media relations for Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan.
Planned Parenthood also says it's not fair to judge someone in the past by today's standards.
"We hold up Thomas Jefferson as one of our founding fathers, the author of the Declaration. He owned slaves, and he was talking about the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," says Cooper.
Pro-life supporters say Planned Parenthood is trying to cover for Sanger.
"They have never, in all of these years, never refuted her quotes. They're tried to find lots of excuses for why she made those quotes, but they've never refuted it," says Climer.
Cooper says Sanger was embraced by the African-American community, "Margaret Sanger opened a family planning clinic, one of her first ones in Harlem in 1930. She was supported. She had a staff of black physicians, black social workers, it was supported by the Amsterdam News, which is the most powerful black newspaper and still is in the U.S.
Climer says they were duped into accepting what Sanger wanted.
What do you believe?
Leave a comment below.
Update: March 8th 9:45 am.
Because of the enormous feedback we've received on this story, NBC25 is digging deeper into the life and beliefs of Margaret Sanger. Tune into NBC25 News at 6:00 pm and stay updated here on www.connectmidmichigan.com as this story develops.
In the meantime, we want to hear your comments on this billboard and on Margaret Sanger. Join the conversation on the NBC25 Facebook page or leave your thoughts below.
It's never been on a billboard, but the proof copy of a sign is still getting plenty of attention.
It quotes Planned Parenthood's Founder Margaret Sanger saying, "We do not want word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population."
They wanted to put it up south of downtown Flint on Saginaw Street near I-475 during Black History Month.
"That's a direct quote of hers," says Judy Climer, director of Flint Area Right to Life.
She says it's a historical quote and perfectly acceptable for the public.
"It's deception by keeping her quote quiet because no one really wants to know that Planned Parenthood is behind this," says Climer.
Prolife advocates say the words speak for themselves, however Planned Parenthood says they are taken out of context.
Desiree Cooper, director of communications and media relations for Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan says, "She did not want the organization to be characterized in that way."
Cooper says Sanger was saying there was misinformation about birth control in that day, that it would wipe out entire races, and that she did not want that information spread.
"It is not black history to put up something that says that people don't want the black race to be on the planet. It's the opposite and it's insulting," says Cooper.
A spokesperson says, "We evaluate each billboard on a case by case basis. It's difficult to explain the nuances and context of a message on such a small space. It is not our goal to offend people where we also work and live."
Planned Parenthood says Margaret Sanger was a product of her day and that it's not fair to judge beliefs then by today's standards.
The Flint Area Right to Life says it is personally offended by other billboards, especially those advertising adult entertainment.
Click here for other controversial billboards.