As promised, we begin today’s chapter with a segment of Margaret Sanger’s own writings on her opinions of birth control that include eugenics, abortion, and infanticide. Her ideas were startling, dramatic, and openly unspeakable in her time. Her establishment of the original Planned Parenthood organization was her effort to bring her birth control and pre-birth termination philosophies into the Mainstream in the U.S. This did that and much more.
BIRTH CONTROL OR ABORTION?
By Margaret Sanger: December 3, 1918: In her own words
Family limitation will be practiced. No law has yet been framed that can prevent it. The church has been powerless and the champions of worn-out moral creeds find themselves trying in vain to force all women to become mothers against their wills.
Abundant evidence of the futility of seeking to impose involuntary motherhood upon women is found in the size of the families of the rich, of the well-to-do and of the wage workers of larger earning capacity. The women of these classes long ago refused to be mere brood animals–-usually, they prefer to be voluntary mothers, determining for themselves the number of children they shall have and when they shall have them. Family limitation for them is an accomplished fact.
It is also an accomplished fact with many of the wives of the less highly paid workers. But with the latter, as well as with some of their more fortunate sisters, family limitation takes a far more drastic and too often a terribly dangerous course. The awakened woman of today will not bear unwanted children. She will not bear more children than she can care for. And if she is denied the knowledge of the safe, harmless, scientific methods of Birth Control, she limits her family by means of abortion.
In the very nature of the case, it is impossible to get accurate figures upon the number of abortions performed annually in the United States. It is often said, however, that one in five pregnancies end in abortion. One estimate is that 150,000 occur in the United States each year and that 25,000 women die of the effects of such operations in every twelve months. Dr. William J. Robinson asserts that there are 1,000,000 abortions every year in this country and adds that the estimate is conservative. He quotes Justice John Proctor Clark as saying that there are at least 100,000 in the same length of time in New York City alone. Dr. Max Hirsch, a famous authority quotes an opinion that there are 2,000,000 abortions in the United States every year! “I believe” declares Dr. Hirsch, “that I may say without exaggeration that absolutely spontaneous or unprovoked abortions are extremely rare, that a vast majority–I should estimate it at 80 percent–have a criminal origin.”
“Our examinations have informed us that the largest number of abortions are performed on married women. This fact brings us to the conclusion that contraceptive measures among the upper classes and the practice of abortion among the lower class are the real means employed to regulate the number of offspring.”
The question, then, is not whether family limitation should be practiced. It is being practiced; it has long been practiced and it will always be practiced. The question now is whether it is to be attained by normal, scientific Birth Control methods or by the abnormal, often dangerous, surgical operation. That is the question which the church, the state, the moralist and most of all, the woman herself, must face. The knowledge of Birth Control methods may for a time be denied to the woman of the working class, but those who are responsible for denying it to her, and she herself, should understand clearly the dangers to which she is exposed by the dark age laws which force her into the hands of the abortionist. To understand the more clearly what these dangers are, and to realize the more fully how much better it would be to avoid them, it is first necessary that women should know something of the processes of conception, the prevention of which frees them of all risk of having to resort to abortion.
There is no doubt that women are apt to look upon abortion as of little consequence and to treat it accordingly. An abortion is as important a matter as a confinement and requires as much attention as the birth of a child at its full term.
“The immediate dangers of abortion,” says Dr. J. Clifton Edgar, in his book “The Practice of Obstetrics,” “are hemorrhage, retention of an adherent placenta, sepsis, tetanus, perforation of the uterus. They also cause sterility, anemia, malignant diseases, displacements, neurosis, and endometritis.”
In plain, everyday language, in an abortion, there is always a very serious risk to the health and often to the life of the patient. It is only the women of wealth who can afford to give an abortion proper care and treatment both at the time of the operation and afterward. These women often escape any serious consequences from its occurrence. The women whose incomes are limited and who must continue at work before they have recovered from the effects of an abortion are the great army of sufferers. It is among such that the deaths due to abortion usually ensue. It is these, too, who are most often forced to resort to such operations.
Sanger couched her teachings in the thoughts regarding birth control. As you read in Chapters I and II, birth control itself and even public discussions of birth control were actually illegal in the U.S. in the early 1900’s. Then doctors were allowed to discuss birth control privately with patients. Abortions were rampant, (see numbers listed below in Sanger’s own writings) but their numbers were kept hidden and were just projections rather than actual. But it is fair to say there were millions of abortions before Roe v. Wade made abortions legal throughout the U.S. and states could no longer block them.
Proof or Conjecture?
The stories surrounding Planned Parenthood and its work today are many and varied. Just as is the case of the history of Margaret Sanger and her work, these Planned Parenthood stories contain claims and acknowledgment of abortions performed and other services that range from one spectrum to the opposite.
Getting factual verification of Planned Parenthood’s real intentions is extremely difficult. “Facts” are everywhere and are all over the place. But the determination of its primary purpose for existence is fairly easy to do: “Follow the Money.” Here from Planned Parenthood is their actual “Money In — Money Out” report for five years: (click on the link to see or download)
Looking at their income shown this report, American taxpayers funded $2.72 Billion for the previous 5 years.
We leave it to you to examine their numbers of cases and dollars allocated to those. However, here are some thoughts to ponder:
- 1,628,550 abortions funded and provided for in years 2011-2016
- There are 665 total Planned Parenthood Centers that provide federally funded women’s health services
- Planned Parenthood offers services to 2.4 million people a year
- That 2.4 million number includes women, men, and children
- Planned Parenthood administered 321,384 abortions in 2017.
According to Planned Parenthood’s own numbers, if the $500 million in taxpayer funds per year were NOT funded, the already existing over 13,000+ non-abortion providing Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) service sites and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) with fewer taxpayer dollars could easily and more effectively continue to provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care to even more people than the 665 Planned Parenthood centers do today.
The videos provided by hidden cameras the last few years in which Planned Parenthood personnel discuss how they negotiate prices for baby body parts that result from abortions. Apparently, this practice is common among their healthcare centers. This practice is not only reprehensible, but it is also illegal. Planned Parenthood announced after several of these secret videos became public they have suspended the practice of selling baby body parts obtained by abortions.
I think it is safe to say that Planned Parenthood was established, operated initially, and operates today to chiefly provide birth control and abortions primarily to federally funded individuals. Our understanding is that Planned Parenthood bills Medicaid for services provided by their clinics for patients who are Medicaid eligible. They even will retroactively enroll those not already enrolled in Medicaid to get their procedures performed before acceptance into Medicaid are paid for. This money paid through Medicaid is in addition to the money already paid to Planned Parenthood by the federal government as part of grants.
So is Planned Parenthood an entity that exists primarily to perform abortions for economically disadvantaged people? Are all (or some) of these abortions performed simply to stop the generational proliferation of “undesirables” as Margaret Sanger spoke of in her early writings? Or is Planned Parenthood operating to primarily offer healthcare information, advice, birth control, and disease testing from low-income Americans?
Oddly enough, abortion’s political discussion reaches to even to the United States Supreme Court. Senior Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg weighed in more than a decade ago, saying, “Frankly,” said Ginsburg in July 2009, “I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. The great added blessing of Roe: Not only could it give women the “right” to abortion, but it could open the way for the federal government, via Medicaid, to fund abortions of children in undesired populations.” (There’s that “undesirable” reference again — this time from a U.S. Supreme Court Justice)
That assessment by Ginsburg was provided in a July 7, 2009 piece in the New York Times Magazine, titled, “The Place of Women on the Court.” And for 25 years, succeeding a pro-life justice named Byron White, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has held the Planned Parenthood seat on the nation’s high court, where she has fought for the hopes and dreams of Margaret Sanger’s organization. In fact, she has done so in ways more in keeping with Sanger than liberals would care to admit. Sanger wanted Planned Parenthood, whose clinics are disproportionately located near African-American neighborhoods, to achieve precisely what Ginsburg alluded to. There were certain populations that Sanger badly didn’t want too many of.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to change Title X federal funding rules and stop subsidizing businesses that provide abortions is drawing widespread praise from the faith community. The rule, which previously was in place under President Reagan, is simple: The hundreds of millions of dollars of annual Title X funding will go only to family planning centers that don’t provide or refer for abortion. That means all of the abortion businesses that have received federal funding and used it for rent, maintenance, staffing, utilities, and advertising – but not actual abortion costs – will be left out. The proposal, after a time of public comment, will become final. The change is being filed with the Office of Management and Budget to “ensure compliance” with laws that prohibit federal funds from going toward abortions. Tax dollars spent on family planning services, including birth control, STD testing and cancer screenings will not be cut, officials said. But the change will drop a requirement that Title X grant recipients provide abortion counseling to patients.
I think it is highly doubtful that in the Planned Parenthood discussions we will ever agree on exactly what the organization is actually doing: apparently all of the above, or at least in part. Whether or not the U.S. government should be involved with direct funding is an entirely different question.
Please note in this discussion, we have not attacked abortions, those who have had abortions or been a part of abortions, nor discussed the pros and cons of the practice. Abortions have existed in humanity for as long as women and men have existed. My guess is the population is close to evenly split between supporting and rejecting abortions in society. For every person who adamantly supports abortion, there is a person who is adamantly against abortion.
Politics, unfortunately, plays a major role in this discussion, primarily because of federal funding.
In closing, there are several questions regarding abortion that have yet to be answered:
- According to Roe v. Wade’s Supreme Court interpretation, American women cannot be prevented from having abortions. Should abortions be underwritten by federal tax dollars?
- When does life begin: at conception or at birth?
- What happens if at some point scientists prove factually that life begins at conception and that all the abortions have (as defined by law) actually been taking a life?
- If life doesn’t begin until birth, why don’t those who are pregnant say “I’m having a fetus” instead of “I’m having a baby?”
Everyone in this discussion has an opinion. Those with opinions have the freedom to share their opinions with everyone.
I wonder (if they could speak) what the fetus (or baby) would have to say about abortion if they were given a chance?