Donna Franklin has irresponsibly taken the words of my grandmother, Margaret Sanger, out of context to further the argument that the birth control movement was and is based on eugenics {"Beyond the Tuskegee Apology," op-ed, May 29}. Nothing could be further from the truth. Margaret Sanger championed voluntary family planning, denounced coercion at every opportunity and adamantly opposed forced sterilization based on race.

The Negro Project, held in such disdain by Franklin, was founded by Sanger with the full support of prominent black leaders, including Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder and head of the National Council of Negro Women, and Walter White, the executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Together they were committed to correcting the atrocious maternal morbidity and mortality rates among southern black women and the fact that black babies were dying at a rate 60 percent higher than white babies.

If the author cared at all about historical accuracy, she would have known that the first quotation she selected to discredit Margaret Sanger is actually Sanger quoting -- verbatim! -- W. E. B. DuBois, a father of the civil rights movement and founder of the NAACP. In her own words, Sanger, in 1942, said about the Negro Project, "I think it is magnificent that we are in on the ground floor, helping Negroes to control their birthrate, to reduce their high infant and maternal death rate, and to maintain better standards of health and living for those already born."

Franklin also misinterprets a letter Sanger wrote to Dr. Clarence Gamble in which she expressed fear that contraception would be perceived by blacks as yet another tool for the white man to control and eliminate the black population.

From the time Margaret Sanger saw her own mother die at a young age after 11 births and seven miscarriages, she knew how important it was for all women -- regardless of race or economic background -- to have the tools to control when and how many children to bring into the world. My grandmother devoted her entire life to ensuring that more women did not have to suffer or die needlessly from something so preventable as an unwanted pregnancy. -- Alexander C. Sanger

The writer is president of Planned Parenthood of New York City.