The Articles in the Category cover a vast range of history not only in our country but in the world as well. The category is entitled “How We Sold Our Soul”. In many cases our history has hinged on compromises being made by the powers at be. They say hind-sight is 20/20, which is why I am discussing these land mark decisions in this manner. The people that made these decisions in many cases thought they were doing the right thing. However in some instances they were made for expediency and little thought was given to the moral ramifications and the fallout that would result from them. I hope you enjoy these articles. The initial plan is to discuss 10 compromises, but as time progresses I am sure that number will increase.
Part One–“Margaret Sanger: Dumb People Shouldn’t be Parents.”
“Racism and ableism do not have a place at Planned Parenthood and sure as [expletive] don’t represent the organization’s commitment to equality.” The History of 100 Years of Women’s Health Care At Planned Parenthood
“propaganda that Margaret Sanger was only interested in birth control so that she could limit the black race….” Faye Wattleton, former President of Planned Parenthood
Even in the midst of controversy about what Margaret Sanger believed about eugenics and race, Planned Parenthood continues to support Sanger with no qualifiers. They even mention the “propaganda that Margaret Sanger was only interested in birth control so that she could limit the black race….” Yet they fail to answer these accusations, to evaluate their merits and shortcomings.
In the following six posts, I will evaluate the merit of Planned Parenthood’s insistence that charges of racism and ableism against Margaret Sanger is pro-life propaganda by examining Sanger’s writings. If you have questions, or want to get more context, Sanger’s The Pivot of Civilization is easily accessible on Project Gutenberg. I encourage you to check it out!
Margaret Higgins Sanger had ten siblings; Margaret’s mother died from her eighteen pregnancies. This experience would set the tone for Margaret’s future career. Her work as a social worker and a nurse coupled with her mother’s experiences with pregnancies convinced her of the importance of birth control, and she became a loud, outspoken birth control advocate. Her pamphlets, such as “Family Limitation,” “What Every Girl Should Know,” and “What Every Mother Should Know,” informed women of birth control information and sometimes landed her in jail for violating birth control information distribution laws such as the Comstock laws. She gave speeches, put together conferences, created clinics, and founded organizations in her efforts to change the way that society viewed birth control. In her efforts, she was a “successful revolutionary.
Eugenicists refer to people who do not deserve to have children or, worse, do not deserve to live as “unfit.” Margaret Sanger had her own definition “unfit,” which encompassed a wide number and a wide variety of people. Sanger kept records of “the nationality, heredity, religion, occupation, and trade union affiliation of patients at the clinic”; it is possible that she considered all of these factors to be important in determining whether an individual was fit or not. Sanger’s definition for “unfit” included racial, physical, and socioeconomic qualifications, but she focused primarily on the mentally unfit. “We want, most of all, genius,” she said.
Throughout her book, The Pivot of Civilization, Margaret Sanger wrote that the “feeble-minded” should not have children or should be sterilized. She elaborated on the term feeble-minded on page 250, encompassing several kinds of mental problems in her definition. “Mental defect and feeble-mindedness,” she wrote, “are conceived essentially as retardation, arrest of development, differing in degree so that the victim is either an imbecile, feeble-minded or a moron, according to the relative point at which the mental development ceases.” Almost anyone with a low level of intelligence or a mental handicap would fall under Sanger’s broad definition.
Sanger also understood her definition of feeble-minded, and consequently unfit, to be broadly constructed. Sanger wrote that about 10% of the U.S. population fell under her definition of “unfit.” She had a firm faith in science, and believed that it could determine who was mentally fit and who was not. She cited the Mental Survey of the State of Oregon, which put 10% of Oregon’s population in the category of “feeble-minded.” Sanger believed that this 10% standard not only applied to Oregon, but to the entire nation. Her belief was founded on a compositional fallacy. But for Sanger, “men, women, and children who never should have been born” comprised 10% of the United States population.
As a eugenicist, Sanger even made eugenic distinctions based on race, though she often tried to avoid the issue. She wrote of “racial mistakes.” She expressed concern at the high birth rate of foreigners, just as she expressed concern at the high birth rate of the unfit and feeble-minded. “Do these [foreign] elements give promise of a better stock?” she asked rhetorically. She referred to Caucasian Americans as “pure white native stock.” In the next sentence, she made the assumption that African Americans were at least partially responsible for the high rate of illiteracy in the South. In a letter to Albert Lasker, she wrote, “I think it is magnificent that we are in on the ground floor, helping Negroes to control their birth rate.”
Orthodox eugenicists viewed the poor as inherently lacking in intelligence or character. As an orthodox eugenicist, Margaret Sanger did, too. In her promotion of eugenics, she was willing to discriminate not simply by mental capacity, but by socioeconomic class. She equated the unskilled laborers with the unintelligent, which she had already labelled unfit. In so doing, she added unskilled laborers to her classification of those individuals who should not have children.
Sanger’s understanding of the unfit included physical disease. In an interview with Mike Wallace, Margaret Sanger said that she believed that disease was a good reason for a couple to choose not to have children. Her definition encompassed venereal, mental, and physical disease. “We must free our bodies from disease and predisposition to disease,” she wrote. “We must perfect these bodies and make them fine instruments of the mind and the spirit.”
Ellen Chesler challenged many of these understandings in her book about Sanger, Woman of Valor. Chesler tried to argue that, because Sanger dismissed the idea of a cradle competition between the fit and the unfit, Sanger was not racist. This argument is invalid for two reasons: the cradle competition was a competition between classes, not races; and Sanger fought against the cradle competition because she felt that preventing the unfit from having more children—through birth control, sterilization, and child labor laws—was more important than encouraging the wealthy to have more children. “The lack of balance between the birth-rate of the ‘unfit’ and ‘fit’…can never be rectified by a cradle competition between the two classes,” she wrote. For Sanger, the issue of a cradle competition was not one of race, but of practicality. Sanger did not believe that encouraging the wealthy and intelligent to have more children than the poor and unintelligent was the most effective means of improving society. She instead advocated for the “elimination of the feeble-minded,” which she evidently felt was more practical and important than the proliferation of the upper classes.
Chesler wrote that Margaret Sanger did not consider poverty in a eugenic light, and instead saw poverty as who had access to resources and who did not. Chesler wrote, “She framed poverty as a matter of differential access to resources, including birth control, not as the immutable consequence of low inherent ability or intelligence or character, which is the view that orthodox eugenics embraced.” However, Sanger herself made a tight connection between the unintelligent and the poor. “Those of the lowest grade in intelligence are born of unskilled laborers,” she wrote. Thus by suggesting that the poor are inherently unintelligent, Sanger admitted her orthodox eugenics. She did not simply adopt the modern trend; she wholeheartedly embraced eugenics.
Planned Parenthood now serves the very people Margaret Sanger considered to be “unfit,” limiting the number of children they have just as Margaret Sanger hoped to limit their families. They limit the families of the poor, the very families Sanger considered unintelligent. In their recent video, The History of 100 Years of Women’s Health Care At Planned Parenthood, the narrator says, “The organization remained committed to serving low income immigrant women.” It goes on: “Today, approximately 1 in 5 women in the U.S. visit Planned Parenthood, and ¾ of those women are low income.” The History of 100 Years of Women’s Health Care At Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood says that Margaret Sanger was not a racist because she opened up centers in African American communities. However, if she was seeking to limit the African American race, that is exactly what she would do. And that’s what Planned Parenthood does today: “79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located within a two-mile radius, or walking distance of, a black or Hispanic neighborhood” Margaret Sanger had a “Negro Project”; Planned Parenthood has “Planned Parenthood Black Community” (@PPBlackComm).
Part Two—Margaret Sanger: “Unintelligent” People are a Drain on Society
“The only people that were with her were poor women on the Lower East Side who were having more children than they could afford and they were desperate to figure out a way not to.” Alex Sanger, Grandson of Margaret Sanger
Margaret Sanger’s writings are evidence of her clear support of the eugenic movement. “Our great problem is…to remodel the race so that it may equal the progress we now see making in the externals of life,” she wrote. In a discussion of three of the most popular theories for improving society at the time, philanthropy, Marxian Socialism, and eugenics, Sanger concluded that eugenics would prove the most effective. She defined eugenics as “the study of agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations, either mentally or physically.” By promoting eugenics, she sought to improve future generations by promoting birth control, encouraging government involvement in promoting eugenics, and even advocating for compulsory sterilization of unfit individuals. “The Next Step—Race Betterment,” she would say in her speeches and promotions.
As a eugenicist, Margaret Sanger incorporated eugenic jargon into her writings and speeches. She used words such as “fit,” “unfit,” “breeding,” and “feeble-minded” to discuss eugenics and eugenic ideals.
Sanger’s complaint against the unfit was as broad as her definition for unfit. She believed that the unfit harmed society in a myriad of ways. “All our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class,” she wrote. She elaborated: “We do not object to feeble-mindedness simply because it leads to immorality and criminality; nor can we approve of it when it expresses itself in docility, submissiveness and obedience. We object because both are burdens and dangers to the community.” Thus submissiveness and docility in unintelligent individuals were as offensive to Sanger as criminality and immorality. According to Sanger, the unintelligent harmed society simply by existing.
One of Sanger’s eugenic complaints against the unfit was that they were a financial drain on society. She raised concerns about tax dollars spent on the mentally and physically unwell. In one article of The Birth Control Review were the following words: “Every year millions of dollars are collected in taxes and spent on the maintenance of the defective, the feeble-minded, the insane, and the criminals.” Sanger praised the work of the Oregon State legislature when she quoted the U.S. Surgeon General H. Cumming: “The work in Oregon constitutes the first state-wide survey which even begins to disclose the enormous drain on the state, caused by mental defects.” By stirring up concerns about taxpayer dollars, she hoped to encourage eugenicists to do something about the issue of the mentally unwell.
Had Sanger simply opposed the government support of unfit individuals, her argument may simply have been a political one. However, she opposed the private financial support of the “feeble-minded” as well. In her article “Is Race Suicide Probable?” Sanger wrote of taxpayer dollars and charity money that went towards the mentally sick. “We are spending, billions, literally billions, keeping alive thousands who never, in all human compassion, should have been brought into this world.” To her, this money was not money designated by the government and private individuals to help others, but rather it was “overhead” expenses. Thus, her argument was a eugenic argument, and not simply a discussion of where taxpayer dollars should go.
Sanger believed that the mentally unwell were not only a financial drain on the government and private charities, but also a threat to the effectiveness of the American public school system. Sanger foresaw an unintelligent, dull future for America, if it would not accept and implement the principles of eugenics. She felt that school teachers and schools were forced to make school easier for the unintelligent, consequently holding back those individuals who had greater intellectual capacity and could tackle more rigorous coursework. “The presence in the public schools of the mentally defective children of men and women who should never have been parents…is one of the chief reasons for lower educational standards.” These lower educational standards prevented taxpayers from getting their money’s worth out of the American public school system. What was more important to Sanger was that lower educational standards held back the more intelligent students, and prevented the American population from rushing on towards a brighter, more intelligent future.
Part Three–Margaret Sanger: Sex Among the “Defective and Diseased” is “Irresponsible Swarming and Spawning.”
“Margaret Sanger had an imagination that women truly could be liberated from sexual oppression and enforced reproduction. She had a notion that in so doing women could achieve the power of their humanity,” Faye Wattleton, former President of Planned Parenthood
As a true eugenicist, Sanger believed that some lives were worth sacrificing. She believed that, if the physically deformed were allowed to reproduce, they would bring down the human race and prevent it from achieving its potential. “Every single case of inherited defect, every malformed child, every congenitally tainted human being brought into this world is of infinite importance to that poor individual,” she wrote, implying that she understood that birth defects made life difficult and that she had compassion on those who suffered from them. But with the rest of the sentence, she sacrificed compassion on the altar of the eugenic development of the human race: “but it is of scarcely less importance to the rest of us and to all of our children who must pay in one way or another for these biological and racial mistakes.” To her, a child struggling with a birth defect was not a child in need of aid, but a threat to get rid of.
Margaret Sanger even placed a low dollar value on the value of a human life. She calculated that, in New York, about thirty-four million dollars were being channeled through the government and private charities to the poor and mentally challenged, about sixty-five thousand people. She lamented that so much money went to so few individuals. “Our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost to the community of this dead weight of human waste,” she wrote. The cost per person, however, was only five hundred twenty-three dollars. To Sanger, human life was not even worth that much.
Sanger also believed that some lives were not worth living. She wrote, “In truth, unfortunate babies who depart during their first twelve months are more fortunate in many respects than those who survive to undergo punishment for their parents’ cruel ignorance and complacent fecundity.” To her, some individuals did not deserve to live. One Birth Control Review article, edited by Sanger, was titled “Unprofitable Children: Are These Bodies Fit Temples for Immortal Souls?” She even believed that some seemingly worthless lives should be ended, and not merely prevented. In her article “Is Race Suicide Probable?” she quoted Luther Burbank: “All over the country today we have enormous insane asylums where we nourish the unfit and criminal instead of exterminating them.” Instead of criticizing Burbank for his harsh views, she praised him. “American civilization is deeply indebted to Burbank,” she wrote.
She compared the physically unfit to low-life animals and suggested that they were somehow in a different classification than other human beings. In the middle of a discussion about hereditary and physical qualifications for parenthood, Sanger wrote of individuals “reproduc[ing] their kind.” In a different section of The Pivot of Civilization, she again referred to the unfit “propagating their kind.” By using the word “kind,” Sanger suggested that some people were somehow less human than other people. The use of the word implies Genesis 1:25: “God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds” (NIV). By using the word “kind,” Sanger implied that the poor and unintelligent belonged to a different classification or even a different species. To her, the unfit were somehow less human. Those born to delinquent parents had “no chance in the world to be a human being.”
She compared the lives of some people to those of animals typically regarded as disgusting or unwanted. To her, different races were synonymous with different “strains,” just as one might discover new strains of bacteria. To her, they were not fully human, but only “human material.”
In one instance, she compared poor women to rats: “The women slink in and out of their homes like rats from holes,” she wrote. She compared the sexual relations of poor people with the reproduction of snails, frogs, and other slimy creatures. To her, sex among the “defective and diseased” was no more than “reckless and irresponsible swarming and spawning.” If people were lowly animals, eugenics was “the rational breeding of human beings,” as Sanger quoted Galton. In her writings, she continued to use the word “breeding” to refer to the reproduction of human beings which she felt were somehow less human or less than human. Margaret Sanger did not view all human life as sacred, but instead viewed some lives as valuable and others as worthless as that of a squid or mollusk.
Part Four–Margaret Sanger: Birth Control a Eugenic Solution
“Through her persistence and grit and getting arrested again and again, she changed society’s view about birth control—made it, not just respectable, but a necessary part of the social and familial fabric of this country.” Alex Sanger, Grandson of Margaret
Margaret Sanger offered up birth control as a means of advancing eugenics. “[E]ugenics without birth control seemed to me to be a house built upon the sands,” she wrote. She adopted the flowery language of other eugenicists to describe how birth control would help the eugenic movement: “[Birth Control] awakens the vision of mankind moving and changing, of humanity growing and developing, coming to fruition, of a race creative, flowering into beautiful expression through talent and genius.”
Thus she wove eugenic propaganda into her birth control propaganda in an attempt to encourage eugenicists to join her cause. In less flowery prose, Sanger described directly and succinctly the theoretical impact of birth control on the eugenics movement: “Birth control…is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, or preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives.” Her determination to combine the two movements was not only theoretical, but practical. In her efforts, she put together what she called a “scientific population conference,” or a conference on eugenics, in Geneva.
Sanger’s attempt to combine the birth control movement with the eugenics movement achieved some small successes. When she began to promote eugenics, “former critics came to accept birth control as a weapon in the fight against the high birthrates of the ‘deficient.’” Some eugenicists believed, as Sanger did, that birth control could help lower birthrates among the unfit. “Birth control can be and should be made a potent adjunct to eugenics, however far from being so it may be now,” wrote Samuel J. Holmes in his review of Sanger’s “The Pivot of Civilization.” Other eugenicists suggested that Sanger combine The Birth Control Review with a journal on eugenics.
Even outsiders saw eugenics and birth control as working towards similar goals. The following appeared in the Coast Artillery Journal: “Mrs. Sanger is wholly convinced as to the urgent need of Birth Control, especially as to its greater promise than the program of the eugenists for the improvement of the race.” The author suggested that birth control may prove even more effective than eugenic theories in making the human race stronger and healthier.
Although many eugenicists were convinced to support Sanger’s birth control movement, ultimately, the combination of the eugenics movement and the birth control movement was not successful. The combination of the two movements faced roadblocks: for example, Sir Bernard Mallet disallowed the mention of birth control at the eugenic conference Sanger herself had put together. Sanger’s own understanding of the best eugenic practices alienated fellow eugenicists.
Sanger wrote that “Any social progress…must purge itself of sentimentalism and pass through the crucible of science. We are willing to submit Birth Control to this test.” In the realm of sentimentalism, Margaret Sanger proved that she could successfully weave eugenics and birth control together. Submitted to the crucible of science, however, birth control failed the test. Many scholars doubted that unfit mothers would adopt a eugenic worldview and limit their families themselves through birth control. They were right: the poor did not stop having children, even when given access to birth control and birth control information.
Thus, birth control did not successfully limit the reproduction of the “unfit” as Sanger hoped it would. Evidence that birth control was unsuccessful as a eugenic tool caused some eugenicists to abandon Sanger’s birth control movement, thus depriving Sanger of some of the followers she had fought for. Sanger herself acknowledged her defeat: “For it is always the least desirable parents who are the last to curtail their fecundity,” she wrote. In a more snarky passage, she wrote, “The very word ‘proletarian,’ as Hardy points out, means ‘producer of children.’” It was the middle class, and not the lower class, that used birth control the most.
Part Five–Founder of Planned Parenthood Liked Sterilization, Hated Pregnancy Centers
“The whole underpinning of what my grandmother stood for was that everyone should have access to family planning, the right to decide whether and when to have a child.” Alex Sanger, Grandson of Margaret Sanger
Sanger’s promotion of eugenics did not end with birth control; she believed that the government should promote eugenics through various programs and even through sterilization. “The United States government has recently inaugurated a policy of restricting immigration from foreign countries…it should likewise recognize the wisdom of voluntary restriction in the production of children,” she wrote. In her writings, Sanger suggested several government programs which would contribute to the eugenics movement. In one narrative, Sanger suggested that the government institute a program in which individuals would be forced to “apply” for children before being allowed to procreate.
Sanger’s writings encouraged those government programs which would promote eugenics. Child labor laws were one example. She observed that, when child labor laws were put into place, women in lower classes had less children, because children were no longer cheap. When their children could no longer make money, they became burdensome. Prohibiting child labor, then, would incentivize the poor to have less children, and the upper class might even edge ahead in the cradle competition. “The enforcement of the child labor laws,” Sanger wrote, “…are therefore an urgent necessity…to prevent the recruiting of our next generation from the least intelligent and most unskilled classes in the community.”
Sanger discouraged those government programs which she felt would hurt the eugenics movement. She wrote of the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921, which was designed to provide medical assistance to poor pregnant mothers, “The new government program would facilitate the function of maternity among the very classes in which the absolute necessity is to discourage it.” By encouraging government programs which would help the eugenics movement and discouraging those which would retard it, Sanger admitted her interest in government pressure and involvement in eugenics.
She hoped to limit the number of mothers who exhibited “parental irresponsibility” by encouraging those mothers not to have children. In her book, “The Pivot of Civilization,” she recorded several examples of women who unsuccessfully parented their children out of ignorance of proper parenting methods. These mothers were unfit, not because they were unintelligent or of a different ethnic group, but because they lacked the knowledge necessary to parent correctly. For Sanger, the consequences of “irresponsible and chance parenthood” were “feeble-mindedness, crime, and syphilis.” Thus Sanger’s definition of unfit was broad and encompassed even mothers who would not otherwise have qualified as unfit.
As a eugenicist, Margaret Sanger went so far as to advocate for the sterilization of the unfit. “Moreover, when we realize that each feeble-minded person is a potential source of an endless progeny of defect, we prefer the policy of immediate sterilization, of making sure that parenthood is absolutely prohibited to the feeble-minded,” Sanger wrote. She explained in her writings that the “laisser-faire” approach was a good theory, but that it had not worked to discourage the feeble-minded from having children. “The grosser, the more obvious, the undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind,” she wrote. Buck v. Bell, the Supreme Court case which determined that involuntary sterilization of the unfit was an acceptable use of the police powers, gave Mrs. Sanger the platform she needed to directly advocate for sterilization.
Margaret Sanger would have hated Care Net. Even as she wrote to encourage government programs which would promote eugenics, Sanger wrote against “maternity centers” and charity programs. She viewed maternity centers as useless because, instead of teaching poor women how to prevent pregnancy, they simply facilitated, and thus encouraged, pregnancy and childbirth. “The poor woman is taught how to have her seventh child, when what she wants to know is how to avoid bringing into the world her eighth,” Sanger wrote of maternity centers. By painting maternity centers as cruel and unfeeling, and by promoting government involvement as positive and helpful, Sanger betrayed her preference for more forceful eugenic practices.
Maternity centers were not the only charities Sanger criticized. In her book, The Pivot of Civilization, Sanger dedicated an entire chapter to the ineffectiveness of modern charities. By providing money and resources to the poor, charities allowed the lower classes to have and provide for more children, according to Sanger. “The most serious charge that can be brought against modern ‘benevolence,’” she wrote, “is that it encourages the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents, and dependents.” In the instance of eugenics, Sanger preferred government involvement to local charity. This preference betrayed her preference for force over voluntary participation in the matter of preventing childbearing among the poor.
Part Six–Margaret Sanger: More Eugenic Than Fellow Eugenicists
“Virtually everyone was against her . The government declared what she was doing was criminal. Virtually every man was against her. Every religious organization was against her. The press was against her. The doctors were against her. The only people that were with her were poor women on the Lower East Side who were having more children than they could afford and they were desperate to figure out a way not to.” Alex Sanger, Grandson of Margaret Sanger
Although many historians agree that Margaret Sanger promoted eugenics, some disagree as to the extent to which she promoted it. Some historians, such as Ellen Chelser, author of Woman of Valor, would argue that Sanger simply flirted with eugenics because it was popular at the time. In so doing, Sanger wished to increase the popularity of her own movement. Chesler wrote, “Sanger had little choice but to engage with eugenic discourse in the 1920s, since…eugenics then enjoyed a degree of respectability that birth control did not.” However, Chesler failed to follow this statement with proof that this was the case. Chesler’s stance is the same as Planned Parenthood’s: “Margaret…also aligned herself with Eugenicists. Ugh. It doesn’t seem to make sense. But way back in the early 20th century, eugenics was an immensely popular social movement, one with the kind of widespread legitimacy Margaret craved for her own birth control campaign,” The History of 100 Years of Women’s Health Care At Planned Parenthood.
Like Chesler, Vanessa Murphree, author of “Mission Accomplished,” believed that Margaret Sanger adopted a eugenic stance because it was popular and socially accepted at the time. Other historians, such as George Grant, author of Killer Angel, believe that Margaret Sanger wholeheartedly embraced the eugenics movement because she firmly believed in eugenic principles. “She was a true believer [in eugenics]—not simply someone who assimilated the jargon of the times, as Planned Parenthood officials would have us believe,” wrote Grant.
Margaret Sanger was so involved in the eugenic movement that she advanced their cause, even when doing so did not advance her own. According to Kennedy, “She solicited their scholarly papers for her conferences; she asked them to testify in Congressional hearings.” She not only supported eugenicists and what they stood for, she gathered them together to talk about eugenics and eugenic methods. Margaret Sanger was the “main organizer” of the First World Population Conference in Geneva. Though she kept a low profile in her involvement in this event, she was largely responsible for this “scientific population conference,” as she called it. By gathering together fellow eugenicists to talk about eugenics and to advance the cause, she was admitting how personally wrapped up she was in the movement.
As a eugenicist, Margaret Sanger had many eugenicist friends whom she influenced and by whom she was influenced. History books on Margaret Sanger often include a list of Sanger’s eugenicist friends for reference. Sanger associated with “Eugene Debs, Theodore Schroeder, Alexander Berkman, John Reed, Emma Goldman, and Henrietta Rodman.” Grant wrote that “Virtually all of her Socialist friends, lovers, and comrades were committed eugenicists𑁋from the followers of Lenin in Revolutionary Socialism, like H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and Julius Hammer, to the followers of Hitler in National Socialism, like Ernest Rudin, Leon Whitney, and Harry Laughlin.” Her professional associations mirrored her private and social ones: “Virtually all of [the American Birth Control League’s] board members were eugenicists.” She asked Henry Fairchild, the head of the American Eugenics Society, to be on her clinic’s advisory board. She sought eugenicists out, she was not simply influenced by them.
Margaret Sanger’s most notable eugenicist friend was, perhaps, Havelock Ellis. Ellis was “an important mentor of Sanger’s.” As her friend and lover, Ellis taught Sanger about eugenics and the goals eugenicists strove for. He wrote the preface to her book, Woman and the New Race. “Her mentor and lover, Havelock Ellis, was the beloved disciple of Francis Galton…who first systemized and popularized eugenic thought.” Sanger referenced Galton himself in “The Pivot of Civilization,” and included his more biased definition of eugenics—“the rational breeding of human beings”—alongside her own.
It is true that Margaret Sanger advocated eugenics in part to get more followers. However, although Sanger wished to broaden her support base by incorporating eugenicist propaganda into her own, the way in which she advocated eugenics alienated some eugenicists, demonstrating that broadening her support base was not her sole purpose in adopting a eugenic worldview.
Instead of promoting childbearing in the upper classes, as some eugenicists did, Sanger wished to limit the number of children in the lower classes. “As long as civilized communities encourage unrestrained fecundity in the ‘normal’ members of the population…and penalize every attempt to introduce the principle of discrimination and responsibility in parenthood, they will be faced with the ever-increasing problem of feeble-mindedness,” Sanger wrote. In her time, she believed that “the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.” This tendency to promote birth control and sterilization while downplaying and even criticizing the cradle competition pushed potential followers away.
Sanger further alienated fellow eugenicists by criticizing them, thus demonstrating that her adoption of eugenics was not a clever plan to get more followers, but the development of her own personal worldview. She did not hesitate to criticize those eugenicists who promoted the cradle competition and failed to acknowledge birth control and sterilization. “[T]hey are ignoring the exigent problem of the elimination of the feeble-minded,” Sanger wrote. Had she adopted eugenics simply to get more followers, she would not have adopted a position that was controversial, but would instead have adopted the most inclusive version of that worldview. Therefore, the eugenics Sanger advocated for was an integral part of her own worldview, and not simply a plan to get more followers or an unconscious adoption of the latest fad.
Sanger was aware that some critics criticized her disregard for the value of a human life. But instead of asserting that she did value human life, Sanger answered those criticisms with a logical fallacy by criticizing her critics. She did not respond on the basis of their argument itself. She wrote that her critics valued human life when it came to eugenics, but disregarded it in the instance of war. By attacking her accusers instead of answering their concerns about eugenics, Sanger was “poisoning the well.” Her argument was a logical fallacy, and was consequently ineffective.
Today, Planned Parenthood considers their founder, Margaret Sanger, a hero. It is concerning that Planned Parenthood continues to support Sanger with no qualifiers. It would be possible to celebrate Sanger’s victories while acknowledging her shortcomings, but Planned Parenthood chooses not to. On their site, Faye Wattleton praises Sanger: “I am also very deeply humbled…to join the table at which Margaret Sanger’s place has resided for the past 30 years,” she says. To Faye, Margaret Sanger was “called at a time in history…” In another video on Planned Parenthood’s site, Alex Sanger, grandson of Margaret Sanger gushes, “It was an extraordinary accomplishment, what she did.” Finally, in The History of 100 Years of Women’s Health Care At Planned Parenthood, the narrator says, “While there’s no question that Margaret left behind a conflicting legacy, it’s also true that she was a champion of progress.” This last quote, while more nuanced than the others, only acknowledges how Sanger was perceived by the world, and not how she was perceived by Planned Parenthood itself.
Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist. Why are we still celebrating her?
The French have a word for it: débaptiser.
A prominent French scientist, Alexis Carrel (1878-1944) won the Nobel Prize for his inventions. His work saved military and civilian lives during both world wars. After his death, a grateful nation baptized the medical school of Lyons as Alexis-Carrel University. In the 1990s, however, critics recalled that Carrel had been an ardent eugenicist. In his book Man the Unknown (1935), Carrel recommended the use of gas chambers to deal with criminals and the insane. In the 1936 preface to the German edition, he praised the new National Socialist government’s eugenic policy of forced sterilization. The French government quickly debaptized Alexis-Carrel University and rebaptized it in the name of T. H. Laënnec, the uncontroversial inventor of the stethoscope.
In our own nation the work of debaptism continues apace as we confront our racist history. Calhoun Hall at Yale has been renamed. A senator and vice president, John Calhoun was an ardent defender of slavery and white supremacy. Georgetown recently removed the names of Thomas Mulledy and William McSherry from campus buildings since both Jesuits had been prominent in the sale of slaves to distant Southern plantations in 1838.
Sanger argued for compulsory sterilization and segregation for people with disabilities.
As we purify our national memory, I would like to nominate my own candidate for debaptism: Sanger Square in Manhattan. Named after Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), the founder of the Birth Control League (the future Planned Parenthood), the square honors an improbable feminist icon who championed a coercive brand of eugenics.
Sanger’s eugenics creed is clearly stated in her speech “My Way to Peace” (1932). The centerpiece of the program is vigorous state use of compulsory sterilization and segregation. The first class of persons targeted for sterilization is made up of people with mental or physical disability. “The first step would be to control the intake and output on morons, mental defectives, epileptics.” A much larger class of undesirables would be forced to choose either sterilization or placement in state work camps. “The second step would be to take an inventory of the second group, such as illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, dope-fiends; classify them in special departments under government medical protection and segregate them on farms and open spaces.” Those segregated in these camps could return to mainstream society if they underwent sterilization and demonstrated good behavior. Sanger estimates that 15 million to 20 million Americans would be targeted in this regime of forced sterilization and concentration camps. In Sanger, the humanitarian dream of a world without poverty and illness has deteriorated into a coercive world where the poor, the disabled and the addicted simply disappear.
Sanger represents a genteel prejudice shared by many members of America’s ruling class in the early 20th century.
Sanger’s eugenics project carried its own racial preoccupation. In a letter of Dec. 10, 1939, to Clarence Gamble (cited here), she explains the nature of her organization’s outreach to the African-American community: “The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” In her autobiography she proudly recounts her address to the women of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, N.J., in 1926.
Dethroning a cultural idol like Sanger is not easy. The problem goes deeper than the link between her birth control movement and the sexual revolution. Sanger represents a genteel prejudice shared by many members of America’s ruling class in the early 20th century. To face squarely the glacial eugenics of Sanger one must demythologize the Progressive movement’s pantheon: Theodore Roosevelt (who staunchly supported the eugenic research of the Cold Spring Harbor laboratories), Woodrow Wilson (who as governor of New Jersey signed a law in 1911 mandating the forced sterilization of “the feeble-minded”), and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (who in the Buck v. Bell case in 1927 declared forced-sterilization statutes constitutional). Such biases have consequences. At least 60,000 American citizens were sterilized against their will under the weight of such mandates.
When we improbably debaptize Sanger Square, I propose a new baptismal name: that of Carrie Buck (1878-1966), the Virginia woman whose fate as a sterilization victim was sealed by the 1927 court decision. The state of Virginia had condemned Buck as feeble-minded, as incorrigible and as sexually promiscuous. She was in fact a C pupil, only mildly disruptive in class, and the child she bore out of wedlock was the result of being raped by the nephew of her foster parents.
For all our current efforts to face the destructive biases in our history, we find it difficult to admit, let alone condemn, our longstanding hostility toward people with disabilities and to confront those elites who have fostered that contempt. Our cult of Margaret Sanger is a sign of that enduring refusal.
Planned Parenthood History
In 1916, the idea of Planned Parenthood began at the first birth control clinic, in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Today, Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 600 health centers across the United States, and Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people. Planned Parenthood is also the nation’s largest provider of sex education.
Planned Parenthood traces its roots back to a nurse named Margaret Sanger. Sanger grew up in an Irish family of 11 children in Corning, New York. Her mother, in fragile health from many pregnancies, including seven miscarriages, died at age 50 of tuberculosis. Her mother’s story — along with her work as a nurse on the Lower East Side of New York — inspired Sanger to travel to Europe and study birth control methods at a time when educating people about birth control was illegal in the United States.
On October 16, 1916, Sanger — together with her sister Ethel Byrne and activist Fania Mindell — opened the country’s first birth control clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Women lined up down the block to get birth control information and advice from Sanger, Byrne, and Mindell.
Nine days later, police raided the clinic and shut it down. All three women were charged with crimes related to sharing birth control information. Sanger refused to pay the fine and spent 30 days in jail, where she educated other inmates about birth control.
Although the Brownsville clinic was shut down, Sanger went on to travel the country to share her vision — a vision that had deeply harmful blind spots.
Sanger believed in eugenics — an inherently racist and ableist ideology that labeled certain people unfit to have children. Eugenics is the theory that society can be improved through planned breeding for “desirable traits” like intelligence and industriousness. In the early 20th century eugenic ideas were popular among highly educated, privileged, and mostly white Americans. Margaret Sanger pronounced her belief in and alignment with the eugenics movement many times in her writings, especially in the scientific journal Birth Control Review. At times, Sanger tried to argue for a eugenics that was not applied based on race or religion. But in a society built on the belief of white supremacy, physical and mental fitness are always judged based on race. Eugenics, therefore, is inherently racist. She held beliefs that, from the very beginning, undermined her movement for reproductive freedom and caused harm to countless people.
Sanger was so intent on her mission to advocate for birth control that she chose to align herself with ideas and organizations that were ableist and white supremacist. In 1926, she spoke to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) at a rally in New Jersey to promote birth control methods. Sanger endorsed the 1927 Buck v. Bell decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that states could forcibly sterilize people deemed “unfit” without their consent and sometimes without their knowledge. The acceptance of this decision by Sanger and other thought leaders laid the foundation for tens of thousands of people to be sterilized, often against their will.
As a result of these choices, the reproductive rights movement, in many cases, deepened racial injustice in the health care system. The field of modern gynecology was founded by J. Marion Sims, who in the mid-1800s repeatedly and forcibly performed invasive experiments on enslaved Black women without anesthesia. In 1939, Sanger began what was called the “Negro Project” — alongside Black leaders like W.E.B. DuBois, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Rev. Adam Clayton Powell. The mission of the Negro Project was to put Black doctors and nurses in charge of birth control clinics to reduce mistrust of a racist health care system. Sanger lost control of the project, and Black women were sent to white doctors for birth control and follow-up appointments, deepening the racist and paternalistic problems of health care in the South. Continuing to this day, Black women’s experiences and pain are too often dismissed or ignored by doctors and other health care providers, which, alongside historical dehumanization of Black people, contributes to staggering and avoidable disparities in health outcomes.
Planned Parenthood believes that all people — of every race, religion, gender identity, ability, immigration status, and geography — are full human beings with the right to determine their own future and decide, without coercion or judgement, whether and when to have children. Margaret Sanger’s racism and belief in eugenics are in direct opposition to Planned Parenthood’s mission. Planned Parenthood denounces Margaret Sanger’s belief in eugenics. Further, Planned Parenthood denounces the history and legacy of anti-Blackness in gynecology and the reproductive rights movement, and the mistreatment that continues against Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in this country.
In 1923, Sanger opened the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in Manhattan to provide birth control devices to women and to collect statistics about the safety and long-term effectiveness of birth control. That same year, Sanger incorporated the American Birth Control League, an ambitious new organization that examined the global impact of population growth, disarmament, and famine. The two organizations eventually merged to become Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA®).
The efforts of birth control proponents led to a 1936 court ruling that birth control devices and information would no longer be classified as obscene, and could be legally distributed in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. While it took another 30 years for these rights to be extended to married couples (but just married couples) throughout the rest of the country, it was an historic step toward making birth control available to everyone.
The Development of the Pill
In 1948, Planned Parenthood awarded a small grant to biologists Gregory Pincus, John Rock, and M.C. Chang to conduct research into a birth control pill.
Katharine Dexter McCormick, a leader in the suffrage movement and the League of Women Voters, was head of the research process and its primary funder.
In 1956, the first large-scale human trial of the birth control pill was carried out in Puerto Rico. The step was critical to the pill’s development at the time, but the testing conducted on Puerto Rican women was done without informed consent. As many as 1,500 Puerto Rican women participated in the trial. They were told only that the drug prevented pregnancy, not that the drug was experimental or that they might experience potentially dangerous side effects. The pills used in the trial had hormone levels 20 times higher than birth control pills on the market today.
After this and other trials, the pill was refined to become the safe and effective birth control method used by millions of women today. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale of pills for contraception on May 9, 1960. Within five years, one out of every four married women in the U.S. under the age of 45 had used the pill.
While stateside acceptance of reproductive rights was slow, global progress was swift. In Bombay, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) was founded at the 3rd International Conference on Planned Parenthood. Margaret Sanger served as its president from 1952-1959. Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the U.S. Member Association to IPPF.
A New Era for Women
The pill would soon change the lives of women and families across the U.S. and around the world, as an easy, effective, and reversible way to prevent pregnancy. But the pill still wasn’t available nationwide. Some states banned all forms of contraception.
In 1965, in the landmark case Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court ruled that states couldn’t deny the sale of contraception to married couples. That led ten states to legalize birth control.
Seven years later, in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that banned the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people in Eisenstadt v. Baird. So by the early 70s anyone — single or married — was allowed to get birth control from their doctor.
In 1970, Title X of the Public Health Services Act became law. It established public funding for family planning and sex education programs in the U.S. That meant Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health organizations were able to provide birth control and sex education services for more people, especially in low-income communities. To this day, Title X funding is critical to accessing sexual and reproductive health care.
By the early 1970s, the role of women in public life was starting to change, and a movement for safe and legal abortion emerged. State after state changed their laws to allow abortion in certain cases. After New York legalized abortion in 1970, a Planned Parenthood health center in Syracuse, NY was the first Planned Parenthood health center to offer abortion services.
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of abortion rights in the landmark case Roe vs. Wade, citing the right to privacy. Roe vs. Wade guaranteed the right to safe and legal abortion within the first three months of pregnancy in all 50 states. Roe vs. Wade remains the law today.
A short-lived but crucial era of abortion rights expansion followed. Laws requiring spousal consent for abortion and strict parental consent rules for minors seeking abortion were soon struck down in the courts, removing harmful obstacles to abortion.
However, in 1976, the Hyde Amendment made it illegal for people who get their health insurance through Medicaid to use their insurance to cover abortion except in a few circumstances, such as cases of rape, incest, or a life-endangering pregnancy. So even while abortion remained legal, it was becoming out of reach for people with low incomes in need of financial assistance, or for those who receive health care through Medicaid or Medicare.
Through legal victories and setbacks, Planned Parenthood continued to grow into its role as a trusted sexual and reproductive health care provider and educator, establishing affiliates in communities across the country, and becoming a leading advocate in the fight for reproductive rights.
Victories and Violence
The expansion of abortion rights in the 1970s resulted in fierce backlash from opponents of safe and legal abortion in the 1980s and 90s, with tragic consequences.
Extremists staged campaigns of patient intimidation, and committed acts of violence — including murder — against abortion providers, as well as bombings and arsons at health centers.
Also, opponents of safe and legal abortion began gaining strong political influence. The Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies resulted in significant setbacks to the reproductive rights movement. In 1992, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional right to an abortion, but allowed states to put their own regulations about abortion into place. Planned Parenthood v. Casey allowed states to put limits on abortion — such as mandatory waiting periods of more than 24 hours — that made it harder for patients to access abortion care.
During this time, laws were passed that restricted federal funds from health care providers and organizations who discussed abortion with their patients — including the Title X “gag” rule and the Mexico City Policy, or “global gag rule.” In 1993, the Clinton administration reversed these rules — but it was not the last time the world would suffer from the global gag rule.
But throughout these difficult times, Planned Parenthood remained steadfast in its commitment to patients and its vision of a world without barriers to sexual and reproductive health care.
In 1987, Planned Parenthood began offering free or low-cost HIV testing in communities around the country. In 1989, millions marched in Washington in support of reproductive rights. That same year, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Faye Wattleton founded the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization, to engage in public education campaigns, grassroots organizing, and legislative and electoral activity.
Throughout the 1990s, Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health experts successfully advocated for FDA approval of new, effective methods of birth control — including the birth control shot, the ring, the patch, and the implant. In 1999, the FDA approved Plan B emergency contraception, and Planned Parenthood began work to make emergency contraception widely available at its health centers and educate the public about emergency contraception, also known as the “morning-after pill.”
In 1996, Planned Parenthood launched www.plannedparenthood.org, which made expert reproductive and sexual health information easily accessible for everyone. Today, 76 million people reach Planned Parenthood online every year.
A New Millennium, a Second Century
Scientific advances in sexual and reproductive health soared as the 90s closed, and the 21st century began with the promise of expanded birth control and abortion options.
In 2000, the FDA approved mifepristone, known as medication abortion or the abortion pill, after several years of delays due to political opposition. Planned Parenthood health centers were then able to offer another safe and effective option to patients seeking abortion.
In 2005, the first Planned Parenthood affiliate began providing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for transgender patients. In 2006, the HPV vaccine was approved, and Planned Parenthood health centers began providing this lifesaving cancer prevention method at health centers across the country. The same year, Plan B emergency contraception became available for purchase without a prescription for women ages 18+. (In 2013, Plan B and similar brands became available over-the-counter for people of all ages.)
But these advancements were tempered by a political climate increasingly hostile to reproductive health care. The George W. Bush administration reinstated the global gag rule, galvanized opponents of safe and legal abortion by passing a ban on a rarely used later-stage abortion procedure, and worked to establish a new legal status for frozen embryos. Funding for “abstinence-only” sexuality education increased, leaving students across the country without medically accurate sexual health information.
In 2009, The Obama administration overturned the global gag rule and reaffirmed America’s commitment to sexual and reproductive health at home and abroad. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was passed. It expanded access to health insurance, allowing more people to get the health care they needed. The law includes a provision that requires insurance plans to cover birth control and preventive care services, like cancer screenings and STD testing. Planned Parenthood has worked to educate 300,000 people about the new health insurance law, helping them get coverage.
After years of state by state restrictions on abortion, in 2016 the Supreme Court ruled that states could not create rules that placed an “undue burden” on people seeking abortion, in the Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt case — a victory for those in favor of safe and legal abortion. In response, Planned Parenthood vowed to redouble its efforts to fight abortion restrictions across the country.
2016 also marked 100 years since Margaret Sanger, Ethel Byrne, and Fania Mindell opened the first clinic in Brooklyn.
Planned Parenthood continues to reach millions of people today.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education. We offer high-quality health care, backed by medical experts and more than 100 years of research.
Providing Trusted Community Health Care
Our expert nurses, doctors, educators, and health center staff are dedicated to bringing high-quality, non-judgmental, affordable care to their communities.
Informing & Educating the Community
Planned Parenthood is proud to provide young people with honest, factual health and relationship information — in classrooms, community centers, and online.
Reproductive Health & Rights Movement
Planned Parenthood is an outspoken, passionate advocate for policies that help all people access high-quality reproductive and sexual health care, education, and information.
Advancing Global Health
Planned Parenthood Global works with local partners in Africa and Latin America to help people overcome barriers to lifesaving reproductive health care and education.
Understanding Planned Parenthood’s Critical Role in the Nation’s Family Planning Safety Net
Over the past two years, antiabortion members of Congress and state policymakers have fervently pursued a political and policy agenda to deny public funding to Planned Parenthood. This concerted effort seeks to exclude Planned Parenthood health centers from state and federal funding streams, including the Title X national family planning program and Medicaid, and carries the potential to deprive women of the contraceptive services and counseling, STI testing and treatment, and breast and cervical cancer screenings that Planned Parenthood provides.
Although the Obama administration and federal courts have largely stopped these defunding attempts, the Trump administration and the 115th Congress are expected to give defunding attempts new traction. Notably, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), is a vocal opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood.
Attacks on Planned Parenthood seek to undermine a network that has capably served millions of women for decades. Although proponents of defunding Planned Parenthood argue that other providers—namely health departments and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs)—would easily be able to fill the overwhelming hole torn in the safety net, evidence suggests otherwise. Planned Parenthood health centers consistently perform better than other types of publicly funded family planning providers on key indicators of accessibility and quality of contraceptive care. Plus, Planned Parenthood serves a greater share of women who obtain contraceptive care from safety-net health centers.3 And in some communities and for many women, Planned Parenthood is the sole source of publicly funded contraceptive care. It is simply unrealistic to expect other providers to readily step up and restore the gravely diminished capacity of the family planning safety net were Planned Parenthood defunded.
Women can often obtain care more quickly from Planned Parenthood. Sixty-two percent of Planned Parenthood health centers offer same-day appointments, a proportion similar to FQHCs (58%), but higher than health departments (42%).2 Moreover, the average wait for an initial contraceptive appointment at a Planned Parenthood health center is 1.2 days, while the average wait time for such a visit is 2.5 days at sites operated by FQHCs and 4.1 days for health department sites.
Planned Parenthood health centers are also by far the most likely to accommodate clients who have difficulty taking time off from work or family responsibilities to obtain care: Seventy-eight percent of Planned Parenthood health centers offer extended evening or weekend hours versus 57% of FQHCs and just 18% of health departments.
Planned Parenthood health centers facilitate women’s timely access to a wide range of methods. Planned Parenthood is particularly good at ensuring a woman can choose the contraceptive method that will work best for her, and helping clients to start and effectively use their chosen method (see chart 1).
First, Planned Parenthood centers are considerably more likely to offer a broad range of contraceptive methods than sites operated by other types of agencies. Nearly all Planned Parenthood health centers offer the full range of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved reversible contraceptive methods, compared with about two-thirds of health departments and half of FQHCs.
Second, Planned Parenthood makes it easier for women to obtain highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods. Nearly all Planned Parenthood centers offer insertion of IUDs and implants on the same day as a client’s initial appointment, a drastic difference from both health departments and FQHCs.
Third, Planned Parenthood sites are particularly likely to help women who choose oral contraceptives to get their pill supply without having to make an additional trip to a pharmacy. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood health centers offer initial oral contraceptives and refills on-site, as do three-quarters of health department sites; only one-third of sites operated by FQHCs do so. In addition, 99% of Planned Parenthood health centers allow women to delay a pelvic exam when initiating hormonal contraceptives and use the “quick-start” protocol to enable a client to start the pill on the day of her visit, regardless of where she is in her menstrual cycle.
Planned Parenthood health centers serve a much higher volume of contraceptive clients. Two-thirds of Planned Parenthood sites see at least 50 contraceptive clients each week, compared with only one-quarter of health department sites and fewer than one-fifth of FQHCs (see chart 2).
Moreover, because of their comparatively large client load, Planned Parenthood sites serve a disproportionate share of clients. Despite the fact that Planned Parenthood sites accounted for only 10% of all publicly funded family planning clinics in 2010 (the last year for which data are available), they served 36% of publicly funded contraceptive clients that year.
Planned Parenthood is an important source of care for many women. In 332 of the 491 counties that Planned Parenthood health centers served in 2010, Planned Parenthood served at least half of the women obtaining publicly supported contraceptive services from a safety-net health center. In 103 of these counties, Planned Parenthood sites served all of these clients. Nearly one-third of all women in need of publicly funded contraceptive services lived in the 332 counties where Planned Parenthood served all or most safety-net family planning clients.
A 2016 survey of clients at Title X–funded health centers reinforces the importance of Planned Parenthood to the women it serves. Twenty-six percent of clients at a Planned Parenthood site reported that it was the only place they could get the services they need.
Planned Parenthood’s critical role in meeting the need for publicly funded contraceptive care cannot be overlooked. This is especially true given that the need for such care is on the rise: In 2014, 20.2 million U.S. women were in need of publicly funded family planning services—an increase of 5%, or one million women, since 2010.
Unfortunately, it seems likely that antiabortion policymakers will disregard this very real need in their communities and continue their myopic campaign to defund Planned Parenthood in the coming year. Although it is difficult to predict exactly how potential restrictions on Planned Parenthood’s eligibility for various public programs might play out, it is highly doubtful that other providers could step up in a timely way to serve the millions of women suddenly left without their preferred, and sometimes only, source of care. It is also unclear whether other types of safety-net health centers would be able to consistently provide the same degree of accessible, high-quality contraceptive care offered by Planned Parenthood.
What we do know is that women nationwide rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for the contraceptive and related services they need. For many who are low-income or young, who are immigrants or who find themselves uninsured, losing Planned Parenthood means losing a trusted provider, and in some cases, the only source of care they have.
The Helms Amendment: You Should Have Been Gone by Now
As the leading provider of global health assistance to low- and middle-income countries, the U.S. government should reduce — not compound — health inequities. Yesterday, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act, legislation to remove the Helms amendment, which prohibits the use of U.S. foreign assistance to provide abortion services in U.S. government-sponsored global health programs. For nearly 50 years, we have allowed this policy to exacerbate the problem of unsafe abortion by putting essential health care out of reach for countless women and girls.
The bill itself is simple and straightforward. It removes the Helms provision from the Foreign Assistance Act and replaces it with proactive language stating that U.S. funding “may be used to provide comprehensive reproductive health care services, including the provision of abortion services, training, and equipment.” In addition, it lays out a statement of policy for the U.S. government that recognizes safe abortion as a critical component of comprehensive maternal and reproductive health care that should be made widely available and integrated with other types of health services. Furthermore, it affirms that the United States should work to end unsafe abortion and promote safe abortion care by providing funding to and collaborating with affected governments and service providers.
The Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act brings international advocacy efforts around federal funding for abortion firmly in line with those of the domestic reproductive health community. U.S.-based advocates have been diligently working to repeal the Hyde amendment — the Helms amendment’s domestic analogue in appropriations — which prohibits abortion funding for people who receive care or insurance through the federal government. The movement to end Hyde has gained significant traction, leading to the introduction of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act in 2015. Today, the EACH Woman Act has more than 180 co-sponsors in the House (H.R.1692) and 24 co-sponsors in the Senate (S.758). The work of the domestic reproductive health community has been pivotal in dismantling the perceived political concerns around the use of federal funds for abortion care that have historically justified the Helms and Hyde amendments.
The introduction of the Helms amendment can be traced to the domestic debates over abortion. In 1973, while supporters of abortion rights celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, opponents wasted no time initiating a ceaseless campaign to restrict access to abortion. Their efforts not only focused on limiting the legal right to reproductive autonomy for American women, but also spilled over into the foreign policy realm. Less than a year after Roe, newly elected Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) won a victory for the anti-choice movement by successfully passing an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 prohibiting the use of U.S. foreign assistance funds to provide abortion “as a method of family planning.”
At the time, the U.S. Agency for International Development and others voiced their concerns about the policy “because of its seemingly imperialistic and hypocritical overtones.” However, the policy was eventually normalized, reiterated in the annual Department of State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill and became just one of many boilerplate restrictions on abortion and reproductive health funding. By the time Sen. Helms left office in 2003, it was tacitly accepted by legislators of both parties that U.S. taxpayer funding cannot support abortion, neither at home nor abroad. In fact, too often, pro-choice legislators — while making the case to eliminate harmful restrictions like the Global Gag Rule (GGR) or to increase funding for family planning programs — lean on the prohibition of federal funding for abortion to rebut the concerns of conservative colleagues worried that such efforts would somehow open the flood gates for abortion. It is time for pro-choice legislators to focus on health equity and removing U.S. policy barriers to achieving equity in health care. This will be far more productive than catering to their Republican colleagues, of which only two from the Senate can be considered reliable supporters of family planning and reproductive health care.
The Helms amendment is one of the few remaining federal laws or policies governing abortion funding to omit exceptions. Although the Helms amendment clearly states that U.S. funds cannot be used to provide abortion “as a method of family planning,” it has been interpreted and implemented — by Republican and Democratic administrations alike — as a near-total ban on funding abortion. No exceptions are currently made for a pregnancy that is a result of rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s life, though abortion under these circumstances is not considered a “method of family planning.” These exceptions have otherwise enjoyed bipartisan acceptance, as most politicians have sought to steer clear of the minefield around abortion access for those facing unwanted pregnancies resulting from rape. Republican administrations since Reagan have defined abortions “as a method of family planning” as those performed “when it is for the purpose of spacing births.” It’s worth noting that in the various iterations of the GGR imposed by Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, the standard provisions implementing the GGR explicitly state that the restriction “does not include abortions performed if the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or abortions performed following rape or incest.”
Previously, PAI and other advocates pressured the Obama administration to review its interpretation of the Helms amendment and issue guidance correcting its implementation. This should have been an easy change — and one the president could have made unilaterally — but the Obama administration was unwilling to take the necessary action. The election of President Trump all but assured that a common sense, administrative fix was out of reach for the foreseeable future.
In 2019, the U.S. electorate sent the first pro-choice majority to the House of Representatives. It was against this backdrop that conversations on Capitol Hill began to take shape around the need to repeal the Helms amendment. Encouraged by the domestic efforts to repeal Hyde and bolstered by recent polling that shows American voters now favor changing federal policy to allow U.S. support for safe abortion care overseas, PAI and other advocates began in-depth conversations with key Congressional champions. There was consensus that given these shifts, it was the right moment to challenge the Helms amendment and embark on a path toward full repeal.
Repealing the Helms amendment will require a long-term, multipronged and multistep strategy. While continuing to build up a strong base of support in the House, advocates will need to turn attention to the Senate, where a companion bill must be introduced — likely during the next Congress. Since the amendment exists as both a permanent statute and in appropriations, Helms must also be removed from future State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bills.
If the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act is signed into law, the positive impact on sexual and reproductive health and rights cannot be overstated. For millions of people around the world, it is literally a matter of life or death. It is estimated that every year, 35 million women undergo an unsafe abortion — a leading cause of global maternal mortality and morbidity. The vast majority of these unsafe procedures take place in low- and middle-income countries where there are significant barriers to accessing abortion care. U.S. foreign policies, like the Helms amendment, should not be an added burden and should certainly not undermine country-led efforts to reduce maternal mortality and bolster reproductive rights by liberalizing national or local abortion laws.
24 Jun Abortion: A Solution
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its ruling, and today the judge-created national right to abortion throughout America is over. “Finally!” one group exclaims. “Now we can enact state laws to stop the murder of unborn babies everywhere!” “Horrific!” others yelp. “My body, my choice!”
In this divided situation—one that has persisted for five decades—each faction insists on its way completely, and candidates exploit the controversy to win elections. This tragedy will not end, and now the situation will get worse as the political fight expands to every state in the union. All future state legislative and governor races will focus on abortion, to the disregard of other issues.
Finding a Solution
So, “How do you solve problem like abortion?” The first step in solving any problem is to admit there is one. Regarding abortion, can we all at least agree that there is a dilemma, however you may define it? Please take a look at this diagram, which shows the contrasting positions:
This blogger, as a mediator and business litigator, has seen resolutions reached in some of the most entrenched business and legal conflicts imaginable. Based on this background, we believe that to solve any dispute, you must negotiate.
Please look again at the illustration above. This intentionally was designed as a Venn diagram, with a section in the middle where the two main ovals overlap.
To reveal this shared middle, one must first clear away some obstacles covering it—the unrealistic hopes of both sides that they can, in fact, obtain a complete victory. For one extreme, that would mean no abortions ever again. For the other, that would mean a woman’s unfettered right to abortion. Neither of those goals ever is going to be attained in the real world. Moreover, please realize that the vast majority of people in America do not want either one of those outcomes. Americans overwhelmingly support something in the middle.
The middle ground that most Americans want can be expressed in either of two ways:
A national law banning abortion could have exceptions for situations of rape, with all pregnant minors considered to have been statutorily raped, as this blog initially proposed in A Principled Federal Role in Abortion (July 23, 2021). When pregnancy resulted from rape, an abortion could be obtained in the first 20 weeks or some other agreed period. The life of the mother being at stake is a second exception.
Circumstances matter. The vast majority of Americans believe that abortion should be allowed, sometimes. Timing also matters. Most people believe the day after is different from the ninth month, and that, after some point in time, abortion should not be allowed.
To the most strident among you, we realize that moving toward the middle is not what you really want. A resolution by compromise, however, is better than the situation that has existed either under the now-reversed Roe v. Wade or the troubling future after the new Dobbs decision, as we wrote in If Roe v. Wade is Overturned (December 3, 2021). For the pro-life side, this blog’s proposed resolution would ensure that there are no late-term abortions in any state (except to save the woman’s life), no woman would be traveling from state-to-state looking for an abortion, and the lives of viable fetuses would be preserved. From the pro-choice perspective, all minors and others who have been raped could choose abortion, and the practice of unsafe, “back alley” abortions could be eliminated. A fear of perhaps half the states illegalizing abortion entirely would be alleviated.
Is not the certainty of such a compromise better than the downside of prolonging the fight for unconditional surrender? Beyond the impossibility of either faction winning that fight, the inconsistency between states and the rancor in every state will be worse than at present, while some raped women will be unable to find an abortion and some near-full-term pregnancies will end on a whim.
Americans Will Thank You
The Supreme Court majority is correct that democracy is better served if the nation’s most difficult problems are resolved by our elected representatives, rather than by judges using rules (i.e., the Constitution) that do not really address the problem, as is the case with abortion. If Congress can stand on common ground to pass a law that will cover all 50 states, that would be deeply appreciated.*
*Some astute readers may be wondering how reaching a political compromise is principled, as in our name, Principle Based Politics. This blog believes that resolving the problem of abortion as suggested here honors our principles of peace, law and justice, service, freedom, integrity, limited government, and protecting the vulnerable. Regarding the last listed principle, both the woman and the fetuses are vulnerable, and one or the other will be unprotected without a resolution, as we explained July 20, 2021, in Abortion: Weighing the Principles.
Compromise can happen if politicians will forgo their immediate electoral tactics and rationally explain to voters that such a compromise is (1) an improvement over the status quo, (2) better than the divisive and murky future, and (3) the best resolution that is feasible. Ideal is not an option. Remember, perfect is the enemy of good.
The Reality of Abortion Regret, Trauma, and Healing
I was in college, excited to be free and on my own. I met the man of my young dreams, and we dated for four years. Then, one day, I found myself pregnant and scared. A baby was not in my plans for college, fun, or freedom. Because my boyfriend didn’t want children, he suggested abortion. I started believing the lies in my head: an abortion probably is the best option because you don’t want to embarrass your family. No one ever has to know, and since it’s legal, how could it be so wrong?
As I was laying on the table, it was cold, quiet, then I hear[d] this suction machine. I felt like my body was being ripped out from the inside. It was horrific[.] After a few minutes it was quiet. I believe the nurse took the torn parts and wrapped them in a plastic bag, and I heard it drop on the bottom of a metal trash can. … I was immediately convicted that I just made the worst mistake of my life. I would have done anything to put the baby back inside me… it was too late, I felt I murdered my own flesh and blood. I was devastated and became suicidal. I was filled with so much guilt and shame I couldn’t deal with it at that point. I had nowhere to turn, it was my secret.
I worked with a guy that I knew used drugs. I knew I could OD easily from cocaine. Then no one would know it was suicide…
After 46 years it is still a vivid memory, lying on a cold table in a heartless room. A room where my child died as well as my inner self. … I realized I had done something awful – after that I could do nothing right. I partied hard to forget, was promiscuous, used drugs and alcohol. … The self-loathing brought me to a world of darkness. A world where love was an obsolete word and hate was the name of the game. I deserved punishment and found someone to help me in this goal. My self worth had deteriorated. I gained weight, stopped wearing make-up and did not care what I wore. My husband abused me and I deserved his abuse.
A few months later I attempted suicide with sleeping pills. But I didn’t die; I just got sick. I attempted suicide again, this time by cutting my wrists with a razor blade. Again, I survived. After months of feeling like I was in a black hole, I attempted suicide a third time. I made the cuts lengthwise into the arteries in my wrists. I remember seeing blood spurting out of my arm but not feeling anything. This time I almost died.
The abortion I had when I was just 19 really has ruined the rest of my life. Once upon a time I thought it might get better over time and maybe I might heal. I have not healed at all. It has been 15 years and I am as sad and depress[ed] and despondent about the entire situation as I have ever been.
It took me ten years to repent of my abortion. During that traumatic decade … my first denial stage quickly evolved into unexpressed grief and then into a deep pit of depression and crippling shame. Because my abortion was a secret to everyone except my husband, a cluster of normal human emotions began to freeze up inside of me, isolating me emotionally and psychologically from my family and friends.
I am 55 years old. My mother is 83 and facing her end of life [sic]. I am sad every day that we could not have had a close relationship because of my feelings of resentment towards her for making me have those abortions. I think of this daily. I’m an only child[,] and on the surface we have had the appearance of a close relationship, however secretly, I’ve resented her so much. Sometimes I could even say I felt hatred, I was so angry. Any feelings of happiness between us feel “fake” or forced for the benefit of others. It’s a shame, a waste, such a sad loss of what could have been a loving relationship. But how can a daughter love a mother who forces her to kill her baby, her own grandchild?
I lived my life hanging on by a thread. It was not the thread of His garment because I no longer felt like I deserved to live as a Christian or call God my Heavenly Father. I had lost that privilege with my decision to abort my child. … You see[,] I deserved every terrible thing I got[,] because I had done the ultimate sin[,] one that God would never forgive.
Though my child went through a physical death, I went through an emotional death that was just as sudden and unsuspecting. The years that followed were a downhill spiral, until I met the Healer. Now, instead of mourning over the loss, I know that one day there will be a marvelous human who shares my genetics waiting for me on the other side. Memories of that experience still grip my heart and bring me to tears because choices have consequences. I am being held by the One who holds my child and only because of His mercy will our lives mesh together again … in a place that is immeasurably safer than a mother’s womb.
By humbling myself, submitting my hurt, guilt, shame, and self-condemnation to God … I can stand here today and say that God has forgiven me! God has delivered me! God has set me free! God can now use my testimony of His great healing and restoration to help others in need, as Luke 4:18 says, “… to heal the brokenhearted and to set the captives free…”
I married the live of my life and have been married over 25 years. I have 3 beautiful children that are happy and healthy – and I think about what could have been their older sibling often. I didn’t want my family or friends to think I was getting married because of circumstance. I didn’t want my work to think I was irresponsible and lose a sponsorship of my master’s degree. I was selfish and I’ve had to live with that because I chose myself. I acknowledge that choice and my failure and it is not something you walk away from without regret.
I was 15. Yes, 15 years old and I now pray for our son or daughter in reparation every day! I was so afraid at that time and am so sorry now. I lived in another country and Sadly. It was so easy to have the Abortion of our little preborn child. I regret my Abortion more than any sin I have ever committed. God is so Merciful and I learn in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He is Faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength. I thank Him so much. I now have Spiritualky Adopted several babies over the years, my Husband and I, who are in danger of Abortion. If you have had am Abortion, please consider attending a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat! Beautiful time of healing!!!
I had an abortion 27 years ago when I was 15. I was lied to at the abortion clinic and misinformed. I immediately regretted the decision and went into a deep depression. I no longer wanted to live. Thank goodness for the love and grace of God who shortly after I decided to give my life to. If it wasn’t for God I don’t think I could have lived with what I had done. However 27 years later my heart still aches for my baby and what I did. It’s a regret that never goes away. I still remember my due date and imagine what my child would be doing now. It’s a pain I would never wish on anyone.
I watched my daughter suffer for yrs over her regret of killing another person that should have been protected. My daughter was able to obtain an abortion at 16 yrs. old without my permission and no counseling or anything wtf does that. I watched her for yrs drinking until puking, pills to dull The pain, drugs to try and forget. It’s still a daily struggle for her. For me my heart breaks knowing my first grandchild is with God.
I had three abortions within a timespan of two years. I was age 18 when I had the first, 19 the second, and 20 for the third. God gave me three more children after that. Healthy, beautiful children. However, I have struggled with relational issues and mental/emotional health, and spiritual impacts as well, for many years. I regret my abortions and did almost immediately after each one but my regret manifested in different self sabotaging behaviors. It was after the third abortion that I felt in my heart I could never do it again. I got pregnant again out of wedlock just a little over a year after my third abortion and went home from college to my mom and dad and kept that baby. God helped bring me healing by making me a mother.. Much more to my story and I am still healing and still struggle with self hate at times. But God…
I am a survivor of domestic violence, when I left he took my 3 children. I was depressed and lost at the time and turned to drugs and sex. I ended up getting pregnant twice and had two abortions. God saved me and I got clean and ended up finding the love of my life and got married and had a beautiful baby girl. However the 2 abortions will always and forever haunt me. I have PTSD from the abuse and abortions. I know God has forgiven me but I have not forgiven myself for the children that could have been. I regret those abortions and have to live with it every single day. I am now a huge voice in my children’s life about how wrong abortion is and it doesn’t solve anything EVER. When I went into Planned Parenthood for the pill abortion, I was told that I would pass ’tissue’ and have some cramping. That was a lie, I passed a whole baby in a sac. I will never forget that image. The second time I had an abortion I was 5 months pregnant and had to have the surgical. They never once asked me if I was being forced to have the abortion (which I was), they never told me what they were doing, I even said ‘I dont want to do this’ while crying uncontrollably, you know what they told me, ‘Shut up, it will be over real fast so shut up already everyone can hear you’. I will never forget the sound of the murder of my child. I did ask for the ultra sound images later but Planned Parenthood refused. I would do anything just to see them again. I won’t stay silent against abortions and I won’t stay silent for the crimes of Planned Parenthood.
I was in a vulnerable place in my life, but I thought my boyfriend and I could make it together. He said he didn’t want to be a dad again. He said having an abortion wouldn’t change anything between us. He left me 6 weeks after. I have ptsd from it. I have nightmares. I almost can’t function around the dates of abortion and birthday. I fixate on if it was a boy or girl. I hate the sound of a vacuum. I spend at least 10mins a day praying for forgiveness. I’ve contemplated suicide. I can never share with loved ones, because they were why I wasn’t safe to say I wanted to keep the baby. I will never be the same.
I had two abortions at the age of 18. These abortions lead me down a path of horrible shame, regret, and resentment of myself and the lies I believed about the humanity of my babies. 12 years later, I still feel pain. I still cry myself to sleep at night. I live every single day with the pain of my choices. I have touched their faces, ran my fingers through their hair, and seen the color of their eyes in my dreams. I have talked to them and held them. Then, I wake up to find that it was just a dream. I will never get to know them in this life. I will never watch them grow up and grow old. I will never get to watch them enjoy the wonder and beauty of this life. I cling to God and the hope that I will one day get to be with them again and tell them how very sorry I am for what I did. Our children deserve better than a death sentence. Women deserve better than a lifetime of regret and blood on their hands.
I had an abortion when I was 19 years old. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I cried the whole way there and the whole time I was there. I think I was about 10 weeks pregnant because they made me wait a month from the time I found out I was pregnant because of my low body weight. I remember going in to see the counselor before my procedure and I was still hysterical. She looked at me and said, ‘It’s nothing.” I continued to cry into the procedure room and one of the assistants screamed at me, ‘Stop crying or we can’t do the procedure.’ It was literally one of the worst days of my life. Today, I know that it is not ‘nothing.’ I feel a deep sense of pain and regret over my decision. I am not in my second year of law school and plan to use my law degree to join the fight to protect both woman and their babies from the lies, harm, and destruction of abortion.
17 and pregnant. Told my mom. “What are you going to do about it?” Boyfriend want me to abort. Somehow I thought an abortion would be easier than wondering about how the child was, if he/she was loved/happy/cared for. So wrong. Told the nurse I didn’t want an abortion. Doctor came in and told me not to ruin my life. I did it. I killed my baby. I sank into a deep depression and cried for months, wanting to die. Finally saw a psychiatrist. It took me years to be able to accept forgiveness. I have regretted that abortion every day for the last 47 years.
My beautiful daughter was a teen, about 17 years old. She had been seeing a boy her own age, maybe a little older, and became pregnant. His mother, behind my back, encouraged my daughter to have an abortion. I tried and tried to talk her out of it, offering support to my child, but the boy’s mother took my child across the state line to Granite City, and made her get an abortion (while I was at work). Years later, my daughter became extremely depressed, and when she was 24 years old, she overdosed on Tylenol. She passed away, and I know, as kind and loving as she was, the abortion tore her up. I later found out the reason the boy’s mother insisted on the abortion was so that her son never had to pay child support.
I am a 65 yr old female that made the wrong decision of having an abortion when I was 23…till this day this decision has haunted me & probably will until I am six feet under. I made the decision for selfish reasons. I had a 7 yr old child, divorced & in a relationship when I found out I was pregnant. I worked full time in a good job & all I could think of was, I cannot have a baby in my life at this time. I was scared, what would people think, how would I afford day care, etc. Like I said, selfish reasons. I have hid this for so many years. It makes me sick to even think of what I did to that innocent baby, My Baby ! Then I tried to convince myself that it was the right thing, the father of this baby was a very abusive man & alcoholic (that’s another story to tell but not here) I made one of the biggest mistakes in my life, giving up that baby. I was part of making that baby, & I destroyed it and me ! I ask God every day to forgive me for what I had done. Yes I am a religious person and always have been & yes I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway !!!!
I had an abortion around 19 years old, I had a baby born before that and was determined I couldn’t do it again so I chose to abort the child. I thought it would solve all my problems . What a tragedy, a horrible choice! I was so depressed afterwards but pushed it way deep inside and was in denial for years. I was set free in an post abortion Bible study of which I am a facilitator now. Jesus has set me free!
I got pregnant when I was 17 or 18 years old. The father and I (who I later married) decided we would keep the baby and get married. My mother had a fit, and convinced me to have an abortion. I married the father a few years later and we went on to have 2 beautiful daughters, who are now grown. That was over 45 years ago, and I still feel guilty for ending a life, and I wonder who that little person would have grown to be. I am still ashamed, and have never told another soul what I did.
I was in high school, and I got pregnant. I came from an Italian Catholic background. I was afraid. Because of my fear I had an abortion. To this day I regret it. I suffered many years it’s terrible guilt and depression. It took me a long time to realize what I did was not what I wanted to do. I thank God for forgiveness, and I plan to meet my child in heaven because of Jesus Christ my Lord.
I tried to cover both sides of the issue. However, without a doubt Margaret Sanger was a racist and a eugenist. She favored it for the poor and black populations above the middle class and well to do populations. But this may be a bit simplistic. Until just recently birth control was problamatic annd abstinance was the only full proof means of preventng an unwanted pregnancy. If birth control was available at all, it was not always effective, and it was surely nt available for the poorer populations. So maybe saner was not such a racist after all. But that was then and now is now. Birth control is much more effective and is readily available to even the poorest members of our poppulation. So there is no real reason with the exception of rape, incest and medical necessity for late term abortions to be performed. I believe abortions should not be used in lieu of birth control. I believe that if an unwanted pregnancy takes place, there are less radical means than abortions. there is always adoption. People are always looking for the easy way out.
**Note: The repeal of Roe vs Wade, did not eliminate abortions, it just put it back where it belonged and that is with the states. Also I can’t think of one politician who is against abortions for cases of rape, incest or for medical necessity, so stop the BS.
care-net.org, “Margaret Sanger: Dumb People Shouldn’t be Parents.” By Alana Varley; care-net.org, “Margaret Sanger: ‘Unintelligent’ People are a Drain on Society.” By Alana Varley; care-net.org, “Margaret Sanger: Sex Among the ‘Defective and Diseased’ is ‘Irresponsible Swarming and Spawning’.” by Alana Varley; care-net.org, “Margaret Sanger: Birth Control a Eugenic Solution.” By Alana Varley; care-net.org, “Founder of Planned Parenthood Liked Sterilization, Hated Pregnancy Centers.” By Alana Varley; care-net.org, “Margaret Sanger: More Eugenic Than Fellow Eugenicists.” By Alana Varley; americanmagazine.org, “Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist. Why are we still celebrating her?” by John J. Conley; plannedparenthood.org, “Our History.”; guttmacher.org, “Understanding Planned Parenthood’s Critical Role in the Nation’s Family Planning Safety Net.” by Kinsey Hasstedt; cantstaysilent.com, “Abortion Regret, Trauma, and Healing.”; pai.org, “The Helms Amendment: You Should Have Been Gone by Now.” By Rebecca Dennis; plannedparenthood.org, “ROE V. WADE: ITS HISTORY AND IMPACT.”; principlbasedpolitics.org, “24 Jun Abortion: A Solution”. By Quentin R. Wittrock;
How We Sold Our Soul Postings