Planned Parenthood acknowledges its great regard for its founder Margaret Sanger who founded the American birth control movement and encouraged family planning efforts throughout the international community.Planned Parenthood dates its beginnings to October 16, 1916 when Margaret Sanger, with one of her sisters, and a friend, opened a clinic in Brooklyn, New York. The organization we know today as Planned Parenthood was originally called the American Birth Control League, changed its name to the Birth Control Federation of America in 1939, and finally became Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.
- PPFA is a "not-for-profit" organisation that has a multi-million dollar surplus each year.
- Planned Parenthood claims that it is not about abortion, but it is the largest abortion provider in the US.
From 1961 to 1973 it went by the name Planned Parenthood - World Population, and then returned to Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1974. In this article, we will just use the term "Planned Parenthood" ( or PP) to refer to the organization regardless of year.
Planned Parenthood often refers to Margaret Sanger as a nurse, although she did not complete her training, reaching the status of a nurse-probationer.
The first clinic closed when the three women were arrested nine days later, prosecuted, and sentenced to 30 days in the workhouse for distributing 'obscene' materials and for 'prescribing dangerous medical procedures.'
Following her second marriage, to millionaire J. Noah Slee, and with huge funds now at her disposal, Sanger opened another clinic. To avoid legal problems she called it a "Research Bureau," and began smuggling diaphragms in from Holland.
In 1939 Sanger's magazine, The Birth Control Review, published an editorial praising the German population control efforts. It had previously published an article by Nazi eugenicist Dr. Ernst Rudin, director of the Nazi Medical Experimentation programme.
In 1942, during World War II, to divert attention away from the revolutionary ideals of the organization, its international links and Nazi connection, Sanger's organization was renamed Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.
To conceal their previous championing of eugenic concepts, that the Nazis put into practice in the concentration camps and medical experiments , Planned Parenthood changed its policy from advocating eugenics to concern for the "overpopulation problem."
International Committee on Planned Parenthood
Sanger's next step was to amalgamate hundreds of local and regional birth control groups under PP's wing. In 1948 an interim group was formed called the International Committee on Planned Parenthood (ICPP). The Brush Foundation for Race Betterment, USA made an initial grant of $5,000 to enable it to establish a HQ in London and it was given rent-free accommodation by the Eugenics Society.
The ICPP established contacts with family planning organizations in over twenty countries throughout the world.
In 1952 the ICPP sponsored an International Conference on Planned Parenthood in Bombay, India. A resolution was passed to replace the ICPP with International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
Planned Parenthood acknowledges its great regard for its founder: "Margaret Sanger gained worldwide renown, respect, and admiration for founding the American birth control movement and, later, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as well as for developing and encouraging family planning efforts throughout the international community."
Planned Parenthood reflects Margaret Sanger's vision. Her successor, Dr. Alan Guttmacher as president of the PPFA said, "We are merely walking down the path that Mrs Sanger carved out for us."
Sanger's grandson, Alexander Sanger, is currently Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council. Mr. Sanger previously served as the President of Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) and its international arm, The Margaret Sanger Center International (MSCI) for ten years from 1991 - 2000.
International Planned Parenthood Federation
The founding member organizations of the IPPF were the Netherlands, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Sweden, the UK, the USA, and West Germany. IPPF's headquarters are in London, England.
In January of 1952, the ICPP began publication of a bulletin, Around the World News of Population and Birth Control, which after November became the chief publication of the IPPF.
Since 1952, the membership of the Federation has expanded and its financial resources have grown to enable it to support its members in developing countries worldwide. For administrative purposes, IPPF divided into six "regions."
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) links national autonomous Family Planning Associations (FPAs) in over 180 countries worldwide. FPA New Zealand has been an affiliate of IPPF since 1955 and comes under the East & South-East Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR).
In 1986, PP's international program, Family Planning International Assistance, worked in 41 developing countries, and was the "largest non-government provider of family planning services to women and men in the developing world."
Planned Parenthood Federation of America established the Planned Parenthood Action Fund rights in 1989. It is a separate organization formed to increase lobbying efforts to preserve the right to reproductive choice.
PP, beginning with a shoe-string operation in 1916, is now a multi-billion dollar international conglomeration with programmes and activities in over 180 nations on every continent.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
In 2004, PPFA was running a nationwide network of 900 affiliated centers, offering abortion and sexual health services to an estimated five million Americans. Each affiliated center is staffed by doctors, nurses and counsellors, supported by public affairs staff.
The average Planned Parenthood center offers a wide range of services:
- Family planning counselling and birth control
- Pregnancy testing and counselling
- Gynaecological care
- Emergency contraception
- HIV testing and counselling
- Sexuality education
- Screening and treating sexually transmitted infections
- Abortions and abortion referrals
- Prenatal care and adoption referrals
The explicit nature of the programmes has generated controversy and outright opposition from groups like Stop Planned Parenthood and Focus on the Family. Planned Parenthood's monopoly in sex education is being challenged by the increasing influence of abstinence programmes. PPFA has deployed its formidable public relations machine to attack abstinence programmes as ineffective and ingnoring the realities of teenage pro-marital sexual behaviour.
Planned Parenthood and the fight to defend abortion rights
Under the Presidency of Gloria Feldt, Planned Parenthood has mounted a tenacious defence of abortion-rights, perceiving that if Roe v.Wade is overturned, dozens of states could move to restrict abortion.
PP's Action Agenda organises lobbying and public policy activity in Congress, statehouses and the courts. Hollywood stars and the leading rock musicians are mobilised for concerts and marches.
To safeguard abortion rights, Planned Parenthood deploys a range of advocacy strategies:
- Litigation to defend abortion rights
- Challenging alleged anti-abortion "disinformation" campaigns
- Mobilising "get-out-and vote" campaigns to register young voters
- Know your enemy public awareness education
- Mobilizing sympathetic religious leaders and clergy
- Promoting Republicans for Choice
- Providing abortion services
One of Planned Parenthood's largest abortion clinics is located in New York City, and it is called The Margaret Sanger Clinic.
In 1993, Planned Parenthood planned to increase the number of clinics to 2,000 by the year 2000. Despite its efforts, however, the number of clinics has been declining and now stands at its lowest level since 1988.
Planned Parenthood claims that it is not about abortion, it is about women's health. Pamela Maraldo, president from Nov 1992 – June 1995, tried to establish PP into providing general healthcare, however affiliates fought hard to resist the change, and eventually won.
When Gloria Feldt took over the Presidency, the abortion side of PP's operation rapidly expanded. PP also provides free sterilizations for some minority groups.
The main office is in New York City, with other offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Chicago. PPFA has 126 independent affiliates plus a "special affiliate" – the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which is the research arm of PPFA.
The Institute is named after Alan Guttmacher who served as president of PPFA Inc from 1962 until his death in 1974. He had also served as vice-president of the American Eugenics Society.
Accusations of Racism
PPFA has always denied the accusations of racism that have arisen periodically over the years, as being slurs manufactured by anti-abortionists.
In 2004 several black and Hispanic male employees of Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles filed multiple complaints of racism against the organization, charging they were the subject of constant slurs in a hostile, anti-male environment controlled by white women.
A female employee, reacting to knowledge of racism at Planned Parenthood, said, under oath, "There was a sense that any employee who was not a white female was going to be carefully watched."
Largest Abortion Provider
Each year, PPFA issues an annual report that summarizes its activities in the United States and abroad. PPFA reported that it performed 227,375 abortion procedures in 2002. That represents a 6.7% increase over the previous year. Since 1977, PPFA has reported doing 3,246,934 abortions up to and including 2002.
If we compare the 2002 PPFA abortion procedures to the generally accepted figure of about 1.3 million abortions procedures per year in the U.S., we can estimate that PPFA performed about 17.5% of all U.S. abortion procedures in 2002. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country, running about 190 abortion facilities nationwide.
If one took the figure of $400 as the average rate for a standard, first-trimester suction curettage abortion and assumed all abortions reported at PPFA clinics were that type, Planned Parenthood would have taken in at least $90,950,000 of its "Clinic Income" for abortion alone. From 1977 to 2002, Planned Parenthood took in an estimated total of $985,003,075 on its abortion business. That's almost one billion dollars!
A Not-for-Profit Organisation
Technically a "not-for-profit" organisation, the "profit" PPFA makes each year goes back into the organisation rather than to shareholders. The "profit" is then used for salaries, programmes and publications etc...
Most "not-for-profit" organisations aim for a balanced budget and very few would be able to match multi-million dollar "surplus" PPFA reports every year.
PPFA, a frequent critic of the "religious right," has hired a chaplain, Methodist minister Rev. Ignacio Castuera to "articulate the spiritual dimensions of sexuality and reproduction." Gloria Feldt reportedly said at a pro-abortion rally in Texas that Planned Parenthood created the chaplain position to counter the perception that most Christians oppose abortion.
PPFA is working at introducing sex education and abortion counselling into churches, calling its programmes "faith-based initiatives."
The online "Planned Parenthood Store" is another source of revenue, selling such things as "emergency contraception," caps, pens, books, pamphlets and T-shirts with various messages, the latest of which states "I had an abortion."
This latest T-shirt has offended pro-life organisations as could be expected, but also various PP branches around the US who have spoken out against them, and women who are upset because they are still hurting after their abortion.
From 1977 t0 2006 Planned Parenthood have generated estimated revenues in excess of $1,000,000,000 (billion)from its abortion business.
"Private Contributions and Bequests" of $228.1 million accounted for the remaining 30% of PPFA income in fiscal 2003. Big-name donors such as the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and the Open Society Institute (founded by international financier George Soros) kicked in funding for special PPFA initiatives such as the "Mifepristone Affiliate Readiness Project."
This project trained Planned Parenthood employees and helped cover advertising for chemical abortions using RU486. That project, Planned Parenthood details, involved some 48,500 abortions at 172 of its clinics and at well over half (74) of its 125 affiliates.
Other notable donors are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Buffett Foundation, the Estate of Herbert A. Tonne and the Ted Turner Foundation.
In the introduction, the report states, "Planned Parenthood believes that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, that every child should be wanted and loved, and that women should be in charge of their own destinies."
Despite that statement, Planned Parenthood's constant opposition to spousal consent laws obviously excludes men from having the right to choose whether to be/or not be a parent.
Abortion Necessary as Birth-Control
Planned Parenthood has always seen abortion as a necessary method of birth control and an integral part of its services. In 1955, Planned Parenthood ran a national conference in order to determine the status of legalizing abortion.
At the 1955 conference, the late Dr. Alfred Kinsey told the attendees: "At the risk of being repetitious, I would remind the group that we have found the highest frequency of induced abortions in the group which, in general, most frequently uses contraception."
Then, in 1969, Harriet Pilpel, former general counsel of Planned Parenthood, wrote an article that appeared in The Atlantic Monthly. The article was titled, "The Right of Abortion." In it Pilpel called for legalization of abortion throughout the country. She decried the situation at the time, then asked (and answered) the following question: "So why do the abortion laws stay on the books? One reason is the apparent inability or unwillingness of those who advocate population limitation to see the connection."
More and more people rely on the birth control products to avoid having children. The result is that they have sex more often because they believe they are "protected." All birth control methods have failure rates, so the more sex you have, the greater the chances that you will have an "unintended pregnancy."
Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions report using a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant. Because of the increased number of sexual encounters, it actually leads to an increase in unintended pregnancy – and then abortion.
PP's Main Opponents
A commentary by Jim Sedlak, entitled "The Big Planned Parenthood Lie" was published in the Washington Dispatch on August 6, 2004, It was written in response to a statement PP had posted on their website: "As an organization, Planned Parenthood does more to prevent unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion than any other group."
Jim Sedlak, who is executive director of STOPP International, and known worldwide as an expert on Planned Parenthood, claimed not only that Planned Parenthood has no evidence to back up any claim that its programs prevent unintended pregnancy or the need for abortion, but that in fact, the evidence is just the opposite..
STOPP is an organization begun by Sedlak in 1985 with the express intent "to cause such discontent with Planned Parenthood programs that it will have no choice but to close its doors and get out of town!" STOPP endorses all non-violent activity and provides speakers and literature to combat PP programs.
STOPP is involved in fights against PP sex education in schools and in stopping local government funding of PP and travels across the US and internationally to train groups and individuals in how to defeat Family Planning in their communities and schools.
Another organisation which for two decades has been at the forefront of the fight against IPPF is Human Life International (HLI) which was founded by Fr Paul Marx. In the 50's and 60's Fr Marx began to see that the industry which promoted artificial contraception was also the industry that was pushing to legalize abortion. He began to teach and write against Planned Parenthood.
In 1981 Father Marx moved to Washington DC where he established an international network of anti-abortion activists and professionals based upon his two decades of pro-life work and travel. This network he called "Human Life International" whose headquarters are now located just outside of Washington DC and which continues to carry on his prophetic mission in nearly 50 countries of the world.
Public affairs director of IPPF, Sunetra Puri, once described HLI as "one of the most important and dangerous institutions in the world specifically set up to prevent access to reproductive health care." HLI has long played a pivotal role in developing the international as well as the domestic anti-abortion movement.
In 1988, author George Grant published "Grand Illusions - The Legacy of Planned Parenthood". The solid investigative journalism and research that went into this book that exposes Planned Parenthood as a radical extremist organisation is such that PPFA has never sued Grant, there has been no refutation of the book, PP will not join him in public debate and are basically trying to ignore that the book exists.
An in-house newsletter, Insider, carried a warning from Douglas Gould, PP's VP for Communications:
"Please do not encourage Mr. Grant by agreeing to debate him should he come to your town. With one exception he has not appeared on any mainstream broadcasts, and his book has not been given serious attention."
Mr. Grant and his book, for all that, was profiled by innumerable national "mainstream" broadcasts as well as print media. Ironically much of the material in his book comes directly from Planned Parenthood -from their own files and records. The book is available free online in both html and PDF format.
The New Zealand Connection
On 16th June, 2006, the New Zealand Family Planning Association announced that their Executive Director, Dr Gill Greer, had been appointed to the post of Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, headquartered in London, England.