Part of the From Margaret to Cecile: Planned Parenthood’s 100 Years of Scandals Series
Margaret Sanger laid the foundation for some of Planned Parenthood’s most radical policies based on her beliefs on sex, sexuality, marriage, family and children. Like other leaders, Cecile Richards picked up the banner and continues to push a liberal social agenda. As a result, Planned Parenthood has left a legacy of tears, confusion, pain and death during its 100 years in operation.
Sexuality/LGBT issues: Margaret was in many ways a woman ahead of her time, especially on the topic of sex and sexuality. One of the greatest influences on Margaret’s views on sex was Havelock Ellis. He strengthened Margaret’s argument that contraception could allow women to more fully enjoy sexual relations without the fear of getting pregnant.
As a psychologist, Havelock was one of the first to study gender confused people in the early 20th century. Sanger wrote in her autobiography that, “He, beyond any other person, has been able to clarify the question of sex, and free it from the smudginess connected with it from the beginning of Christianity, raise it from the dark cellar, set it out on a higher plain.” In her televised interview with Mike Wallace, he asked her to clarify what she meant by the “smudginess of Christianity.” She explained that Havelock explained homosexuality was something a person is born with and not a sexual perversion, a radical statement at the time.
In general, Planned Parenthood continues Margaret’s philosophy and supports any type of sexual expression and/or experimentation. On its website, the organization graphically describes and gives advice for various types of sexual activity, as well as different sexual relationships and sexual identities. Planned Parenthood is also the largest sex educator in the country, reaching at least 1.5 million young adults every year with explicit information on sex.
The social media accounts of Planned Parenthood and Cecile Richards routinely support various LGBT causes, and its centers across the country offer services for transgender individuals. The organization continues to fight against legislation opposed by the LGBT lobby. For Cecile and Planned Parenthood, as long as people practice “safer sex” and give consent, anything goes.
Pornography: During the early years of Margaret’s advocacy efforts in New York City she frequently found herself violating the Comstock Act, which were a set of laws designed to prevent pornography , contraception, abortion and other material considered obscene from being sent through the postal service. Though her efforts with the birth control movement highlighted the abortion and contraception portion of the law, her fight against the Comstock Act had the unintended consequence of possibly opening the legal door for the publication of magazines like Playboy.
As federal authorities first began to try and regulate the Internet in the mid-1990s, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union fought against laws that would limit the amount of pornography on the Internet over concerns that information on birth control and abortion would also be blocked. The organization successfully argued that the Communications Decency Act (CDA) would prevent it from providing information online.
In 2016, Planned Parenthood’s website had more than 70 million visits. On its website, clients and young people are offered explicit sexual information that is advertised as education and in some locations, can begin the process of a chemical abortion via video chat. By fighting against the CDA it appears Planned Parenthood —intentionally or not—may have even encouraged the availability of graphic material, and even the growth of the pornography industry. It also strongly advocated for the ability of abortionists to prescribe the abortion pill remotely without physically examining the pregnant woman.
Religion: Throughout her life, Margaret had a difficult relationship with Christianity and especially the Catholic Church because of its opposition to her work with birth control. According to Margaret’s autobiography, she disliked many of the rituals of many church services, but enjoyed a “Methodist chapel (where) anyone could get up and express conviction.” A self-identified Episcopalian, Margaret also believed that “we have divinity within us” and that other religions taught similar ideas.
Cecile continues to carry this banner of anti-Christianity, and sent an email to Planned Parenthood advocates condemning the 2018 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement of the new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division. The group is designed to help enforce federal laws that would “protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedoms” for healthcare workers. For example, it’s intended to protect medical professionals from being forced to participate in abortion if they have a moral objection. Cecile calls this reasonable protection “shameful.”
Conclusion: The Legacy
Planned Parenthood’s legacy is one of radical feminism and eugenics that in recent years expanded to include abortion on demand and sexual experimentation. Margaret Sanger and Cecile Richards were both instrumental in providing Planned Parenthood with radical socially liberal agendas that continue to push boundaries of acceptability. Through their influence, Planned Parenthood will continue to have a detrimental impact on the culture and leave a legacy of broken relationships, families, marriages and lives in its wake.