On Monday, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America celebrated its 100th birthday, but it is hardly cause for breaking out the party hats and noisemakers. Since 1978, Planned Parenthood has killed more unborn babies than the current populations of Chicago and Los Angeles combined — a statistic that would surely have horrified the group’s founder, Margaret Sanger, who, for all her faults, was adamantly opposed to abortion.
Planned Parenthood traces its origins to Sanger’s opening of the first birth-control clinic in the United States, on October 16, 1916. Sanger, a radical leftist and eugenicist who feared “overpopulation,” founded her Brooklyn clinic as part of her ongoing crusade to reduce the size of families. The New American’s Lisa Shaw wrote:
Sanger worked tirelessly to fight against the “breeding” of too many children, which she considered “the most immoral practice of the day,” according to her manifesto Woman and the New Race. In this book, Sanger insists that “The immorality of large families lies not only in their injury to the members of those families but in their injury to society,” asserting that not only is the large family the greatest evil of the day, but also the cause of other evils, including prostitution, oppressed labor, and war. Her bias, it seems, did not end with the number of children in society, but reached further to the worth of the child. “Birth control itself,” she insisted, “often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives.”
What criteria did Sanger consider in deciding who was either “unfit” or “defective”? Sickliness and poverty were certainly factors. Race was another. In Woman, Morality and Birth Control, Sanger wrote, “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” To bring about this “cleaner race,” Sanger sought a way to eliminate the races she considered inferior — especially blacks.
Sanger’s clinic was shut down shortly after it opened, and Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, were arrested and convicted of violating a New York state law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives. Sanger appealed; while her conviction was upheld, the judge ruled that physicians had the right to prescribe contraceptives.
In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League and in 1923, taking advantage of the loophole created by her appeal, opened a new, legal birth-control clinic, the Clinical Research Bureau. The American Birth Control League later merged with the Birth Control Council of America, ultimately becoming the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.
Abortion was illegal in the United States at that time, but once it became legal, Planned Parenthood was at the forefront of killing the unborn. According to American Life League executive director Jim Sedlak, “New York decriminalized abortion on July 1, 1970, and Planned Parenthood did its first legal abortion on July 2, 1970, in Syracuse.” The Chicago Tribune reported at the time that Planned Parenthood expected to perform at least 5,000 abortions a month on Empire State residents. The Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, and by 1976, Planned Parenthood was performing 70,000 abortions a year, Sedlak averred.
Although documenting the first several years of Planned Parenthood’s abortion business is difficult because of a lack of public records, it is no trouble at all to calculate how many lives the group has snuffed out since 1978. In that year, Planned Parenthood began issuing annual reports listing the number of abortions they had performed, starting with “about 70,000” in 1978, reaching a high (thus far) of nearly 334,000 in 2011, and falling to 324,000 in 2014, the last year for which a report has been made public. All told, says CNSNews.com, Planned Parenthood has murdered over 6.8 million babies since 1978 — more than the combined (non-metro) populations of Los Angeles and Chicago in 2015.
Ironically, Sanger herself strongly and repeatedly opposed abortion except to save the life of the mother, as CNSNews.com documents:
[Sanger], in an essay written in 1931, sought to distinguish between contraceptive measures that prevent a sperm from fertilizing a woman’s egg and post-conception measures that would destroy a fertilized egg, an embryo….
Under the sub-headline “Birth Control Does Not Mean Abortion,” Sanger wrote: “’The real alternative to birth control is abortion,’ wrote Dean Inge, in his article already quoted [in the essay]. It is an alternative that I cannot too strongly condemn.
“Although abortion may be resorted to in order to save the life of the mother, the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and vicious.
“I bring up the subject here only because some ill-informed persons have the notion that when we speak of birth control we include abortion as a method. We certainly do not.”
In her 1938 autobiography, Sanger maintained that abortion was immoral because “no matter how early it was performed it was taking life.”
Clearly, Sanger’s ideological descendants do not share her concern for the lives of the unborn. Nor do they have any qualms about profiting from the sale of parts of the babies they have killed, as the numerous undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress have so amply documented.
On top of all that, Planned Parenthood survives largely by forcing taxpayers to fund its operations, whether they approve of them or not. The group’s 2014 report, noted CNSNews.com, “shows that 43 percent of Planned Parenthood’s revenues come from government health services grants and reimbursements (state and federal) for a total of $553.7 million.” And despite decades of promises from the Republican Party to cut off this funding, the blood money continues to flow.
Planned Parenthood claims it is primarily in the business of promoting "women’s health," but whatever good the organization does is dwarfed by the evil it perpetrates. Were Margaret Sanger alive to witness what her heirs are celebrating a century later, might she be moved to repeat her 1920 assertion that “the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization”?