International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

IPPF is -quite possibly- the world's most powerful lobby group, with links in over 180 countries worldwide.
  • IPPF is a multi-billion dollar international conglomeration.
  • FPIA is the largest non-government provider of family planning services in the developing world.
  • IPPF campaigns globally to promote sexual and reproductive health for all.
  • IPPF is committed to helping young people understand their sexuality.
  • IPPF is financially supported by donations from private individuals, foundations, governments and organisations.
Planned Parenthood dates its beginnings to October 16, 1916 when Margaret Sanger, one of her sisters, and a friend, opened a clinic in Brooklyn, New York. The organization known today as Planned Parenthood was originally called the American Birth Control League, then the Birth Control Federation of America in 1939, then the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

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).

Margaret Sanger's grandson, Alexander Sanger, Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council, 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 “regions."

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) links six 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 that was formed to meet the need for increased lobbying efforts to preserve the right to reproductive choice (i.e. abortion).

PP, beginning with a shoe-string operation in 1916, is now a multi-billion dollar international conglomerate with programmes and activities in over 180 nations on every continent.

PPFA is the oldest and largest organization within the IPPF and the only FPA that performs abortions at its own facilities.

IPPF's aims
IPPF and its member Associations state that they are committed to "promoting the right of women and men to decide freely the number and spacing of their children and the right to the highest possible level of sexual and reproductive health."

They do not actually support or promote the right of men to choose whether or not the mother of his child has an abortion. Neither do they promote spousal notification before an abortion takes place.

Alexander Sanger, also serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund. The UNFPA has been accused by those who are opposed to abortion of having played a major role in designing some of the world's most coercive programs, as well as in teaching nations how to implement them. Read more about the UNFPA here.

The six major challenges agreed by IPPF and its member FPAs are:
  1. To meet the demand and unmet need for quality services;
  2. To promote sexual and reproductive health for all;
  3. To eliminate unsafe abortion;
  4. To take affirmative action to gain equity, equality and empowerment for women;
  5. To help young people understand their sexuality and to provide services that meet their demands;
  6. To maintain the highest standards of care throughout the Federation.
IPPF activities
IPPF campaigns locally, regionally and internationally, through policy makers, opinion leaders, professionals and the media to increase support for reproductive health and family planning worldwide.

IPPF website says that its mission is to "support women's reproductive rights, both at the national, advocacy level and, at the individual level, by focusing on quality of care in the provision of family planning services specifically designed to meet women's needs."

The term 'reproductive rights' is generally acknowledged as including abortion.

Powerful Global Influence
Despite being a Western organisation, IPPF has a powerful influence on non-Western cultures. It has already been instrumental in bringing abortion-rights reform to many non-Western societies. Here are three examples:
  • In 1989 the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceacesceau in Romania was overthrown and replaced by a Western-style democratic government whose first act, backed by IPPF, was to legalise abortion. IPPF affiliates all around the world use Romania as a model of how and why abortion should be legalised in other regions
  • When the terrorist regime in Afghanistan was overthrown by the the United States in 2001 one of the first acts of the new democratic government was to legalise abortion. Two rival groups, IPPF and the Marie Stopes International, competed over who should get first rights at setting up abortion facilities in that country
  • Within a few years of overthrowing Apartheid in South Africa, IPPF and its allies instituted what are perhaps the most sweeping of all abortion-on-demand laws in the world. Doctors do not have the right to "concientious objection" and can face prosecution if they refuse to perform an abortion. Legislation has been passed in South Africa permitting nurses to perform abortions.
IPPF's Supporters
IPPF is supported by financial contributions from more than 20 governments, as well as by donations from private foundations and individuals. Individual member associations also raise funds for their programmes from governments and organizations, both locally and internationally.

IPPF works closely with other voluntary, inter-governmental and UN agencies who are also committed to abortion rights in general.

These include the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and many others.

IPPF Unveils Ten-Year Plan for Worldwide Abortion
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) released a ten-year blue-print to establish sweeping new reproductive rights, including a worldwide right to abortion on demand and a right to "have access to safe abortion."

The blueprint, called "IPPF's Strategic Framework 2005-2015," is meant to guide the institution in its pursuit of what it calls the "unfinished business of sexual and reproductive health."

The Framework establishes five "strategic priorities" for IPPF:
adolescents, HIV/AIDS, abortion, access and advocacy. With regard to abortion, IPPF candidly states its goal as "A universal recognition of a woman's right to choose and have access to safe abortion."

An international right to access abortion, which is apparently a new claim, could be an even more extensive right than the right to abortion, since it may imply that governments are obligated to pay for abortions, train doctors and set up abortion clinics.

IPPF lists a number of "programme strategies" in order to achieve its abortion goal, including the need for "IPPF to play an active role in the global debate." IPPF already enjoys an influential presence at the United Nations, and works in close conjunction with the UNFPA throughout the developing world.

In the Framework, IPPF vows to continue its abortion "advocacy with governments, politicians, judiciary, health professionals and opinion-leaders to recognize, protect and fulfill these rights - either through legalization or decriminalization."

IPPF, the world's largest abortion provider, intends to increase its own "provision of abortion services to the fullest extent permitted by law, with special attention to young women and under-served and marginalized groups." IPPF will also provide abortion to adolescent girls as part of its "comprehensive youth-friendly high quality services."

Apparently concerned about international development money, the Framework announces IPPF's intention to tie the current United Nations development initiative, called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to reproductive rights, even though the MDGs do not explicitly mention reproductive rights.

According to the Framework, IPPF "will build relationships with governments, NGOs and other key influential groups to demonstrate the linkage and importance of sexual and reproductive health rights to the wider development agenda (MDGs/Poverty Reduction Strategies) and by this achieve greater allocation of resources."

In a speech, IPPF Director-General complained that "the MDGs did not include a goal on sexual and reproductive health and rights," which he blamed on "the mostly male delegates at the United Nations [who] are apparently squeamish about sexuality."

In the Framework, IPPF also promises to reduce the "religious...barriers" to its agenda, and to "analyze opposition messages and tactics and formulate messages and strategies that anticipate, respond and counteract them."