Special Report

Planned Parenthood and the Soviet Model

On Margaret Sanger, Stalinist Russia, and Democrats and their Holy Grail.

By 4.15.11

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"[W]e could well take example from Russia," advised Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger, "where birth control instruction is part of the regular welfare service of the government."

My, how far modern liberal Democrats have progressed.

Sanger, Planned Parenthood matron and racial-eugenicist, who ran a "Negro Project," who spoke to a KKK rally in 1926, who wished to rid America of its "human weeds" and "morons" and "imbeciles," and who wanted birth control for "race improvement," had just returned from a pilgrimage to Stalin's Russia. Like many Potemkin progressives, she went there to soak in the glorious triumphs of the communist motherland. Each progressive dupe had a particular interest; John Dewey, for instance, hailed the Bolsheviks' "Great Experiment" in public education. Sanger marveled at Lenin's and Stalin's wondrous advancements for women.

And so, in the June 1935 edition of her flagship publication, Birth Control Review, in an article titled, "Birth Control in Russia," Sanger concluded:

Theoretically, there are no obstacles to birth control in Russia. It is accepted … on the grounds of health and human right…. [W]e could well take example from Russia, where there are no legal restrictions, no religious condemnation, and where birth control instruction is part of the regular welfare service of the government.

I could quote more, including this jaw-dropping prediction: "All the officials with whom I discussed the matter stated that as soon as the economic and social plans of Soviet Russia are realized, neither abortions nor contraception will be necessary or desired. A functioning Communistic society will assure the happiness of every child, and will assume the full responsibility for its welfare and education."

Now there, ladies and gentleman, is progressive utopianism, an absolute faith in central planners. Contrary to the Planned Parenthood founder's optimism, abortions skyrocketed to seven million annually in the USSR.

Looks like Margaret Sanger was wrong on that one. Talk about being duped.

What struck me in recently re-reading this article is how Democrats in America have arrived at Sanger's ideal, where Planned Parenthood's services have become, in their mind, "part of the regular welfare service of the government" -- just like good old Stalinist Russia.

Consider the hysterical response by Democrats to completely legitimate Republican attempts -- amid record deficits and debt levels -- to cut taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood:

"The dangerous, ideological cuts to Planned Parenthood that passed the House are never, never, never going to pass the Senate," vowed Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), echoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who told House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that there's no chance defunding would pass the Senate. Indeed, how could there be? Democrats have a majority there.

Reid said Republicans had placed a "bull's eye on women in America," preventing them from getting "health services they need."

Democrats are united in their vitriol: "The real reason that the right-wing extremists in Congress orchestrated this outrageous government shutdown is to try and defund Planned Parenthood as part of their ideological assault on women's health care," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO).

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) calmly explained, "This is a war on women. They're trying to inject their politics and their religion into local family planning."

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) insisted that defunding efforts were "nothing more than an opportunity for the right wing in the House to sock it to women."

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called it a "very dangerous situation for the health -- the reproductive health -- of women across our country." Pelosi told reporters: "It's degrading to women; it's disrespectful; it doesn't make any sense; and if you want to reduce the number of abortions in our country, you must commit to supporting contraception and family planning." The lifelong Roman Catholic and mother of five said Republicans were using Planned Parenthood as a "whipping boy."

And the always measured Barbara Boxer described Republican efforts as a "vendetta" against women, insisting, "Behind each of these Republican proposed cuts, there are thousands, maybe millions of people who would be hurt."

I thought liberals had called for civility? Well, I guess civility stops when conservatives want to kill American women.

Remember when President Obama referred to "tax cuts for the wealthy" as the Republicans' "Holy Grail"? Well, taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood appears to be the Democrats' Holy Grail (click here). As was reported earlier this week, as Obama and Boehner battled over a budget compromise, Obama drew a line in the sand. As Boehner pushed the president to defund Planned Parenthood, Obama finally snapped: "Nope. Zero. John, this is it."

The room fell silent. Obama had hoisted the Holy Grail.

You'd think from Democrats' reaction that taxpayer funding of the nation's largest abortion provider was Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, an inalienable right in the Declaration, the heart of Federalist 10, Washington's Farewell Address, the writings of Franklin and Adams and John Locke, the cornerstone of the New Deal and Great Society, a sacred political covenant with the American taxpayer, etched in cement at the base of the Washington Monument.

It's preposterous that America has run so far aground that one could even seriously entertain directing taxpayer dollars to America's largest abortion provider. The "right" to an abortion had to be read into the Constitution, at the total exclusion of sections guaranteeing a right to life, such as the 14th Amendment. Abortion was read into the "right to privacy," three words which themselves don't exist in the Constitution. Democrats should praise their stars that they have that much; even then, it isn't enough. Now they want those of us who are pro-life to fork over our dollars to an organization that exterminates more unborn babies (millions of them) than any other. It's downright obscene.

The Democratic Party has truly lost it.

It took Democrats a while to get there, but, finally, almost a century after the launching of the Bolshevik Revolution and Margaret Sanger's organization, they've finally arrived at where Sanger and the Soviets found common ground. They indeed act as if, as Sanger said about Stalin's Russia, "birth control… is part of the regular service of the government."

The saddest thing of all is that neither they, nor their supporters, nor America, seem to comprehend the outrageousness of their position.

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About the Author

Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His latest book is 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative.