Planned Parenthood Founder on Abortion: ‘No Matter How Early...It Was Taking Life’

March 26, 2014 - 12:33 PM

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Margaret Sanger, a founder of Planned Parenthood, wrote in her autobiography that an abortion at any stage is the taking of a human life.

“To each group we explained simply what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way—no matter how early it was performed it was taking life," wrote Sanger.

Planned Parenthood, which is now the leading abortion provider in America, will this week give House Minority Nancy Pelosi, its Margaret Sanger Award. Planned Parenthood says Pelosi has earned the honor through her “leadership, excellence, and outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and rights movement over the course of her career.”

According to its website, Planned Parenthood traces its origins to 1916 when Sanger opened a birth control office in Brooklyn, N.Y.  In 1922, she incorporated the American Birth Control League to address issues such as "world population growth, disarmament, and world famine," and in 1923, Sanger opened the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in Manhattan to provide contraceptives to women.

The American Birth Control League subsequently merged with the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau and later became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), 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.  She wrote the article in response to then-Pope Pius XI’s encyclical letter Casti Connubii, or Chaste Wedlock, issued on Dec. 31, 1930.

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In the essay, “Birth Control Advances: A Reply to the Pope,” Sanger wrote: “Abortion destroys the already fertilized ovum or the embryo; contraception, as I have carefully explained, prevents the fertilizing of the ovum by keeping the male cells away. Thus it prevents the beginning of life.”

Sanger also wrote that the Pope’s encyclical “aims to regulate the conjugal affairs of Catholic men and women,” and argued that control should come in the form of contraceptives.

The essay further states that abortion is not a contraceptive.

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.

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Photocopied page from Margaret Sanger's 1931 essay, "Birth Control Advances: A Reply to the Pope." (Library of Congress)

“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.

“Abortion destroys the already fertilized ovum or the embryo; contraception, as I have carefully explained, prevents the fertilizing of the ovum by keeping the male cells away.

“Thus it prevents the beginning of life.”

On Feb. 27, Cecile Richards, president of the PPFA, was asked by Fusion TV’s Jorge Ramos, “When does life start?”

Richards said, “This is a question that I think will be debated through the centuries.”

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Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and President Barack Obama. (AP)

When pressed by Ramos about when she personally thought life begins. Richards said:  “For me, I’m a mother of three children; for me, life began when I delivered them.”

When announcing that Pelosi, who supports abortion,  will accept the Sanger award on March 27, Richards praised her.

“No one is more deserving of this honor than Leader Pelosi, who has fought tirelessly throughout her career to protect and expand women’s access to health care,” Richards said. “As the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House, Leader Pelosi recognized that women’s health is a mainstream issue impacting women and families.”

According to PPFA’s latest annual report, covering fiscal years 2012-2013, affiliated clinics performed 327,166 abortions and provided more than 1.5 million “emergency contraceptive kits,” which contain drugs that can induce abortion.

Other writings by Sanger that express her apparent opposition to abortion include:

-- Her book, “Woman and the New Race” (1920), in Chapter X, Sanger calls abortion “a disgrace to civilization.”

“While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization,” Sanger wrote.

-- In a speech entitled “The Children’s Era” at the Sixth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference on March 30, 1925 Sanger spoke about the rights of the unborn.

“Human society must protect its children–yes, but prenatal care is most essential,” she said. “The child-to-be, as yet not called into being, has rights no less imperative.”

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Margaret Sanger (1879-1966)

-- In the book “Revelations of Self: American Women in Autobiography” (Lois J. Fowler, David H. Fowler, 1990), a collection of five autobiographies,  Sanger says

“To each group we explained simply what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way—no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not begun."

According to the National Abortion Federation, between 1967 and 1973 one-third of the states liberalized or repealed their criminal abortion laws. Legalization of abortion nationwide came in 1973 with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.