One hundred years ago this month, eugenics advocate Margaret Sanger founded the organization today known as Planned Parenthood. While many on the Left will celebrate this anniversary, Planned Parenthood’s “birthday” — an irony given its grim business of preventing actual birthdays — deserves no such distinction. So rather than celebrate, we should mourn the millions of unborn children who have been denied the chance to live. Today, Americans should ask how did we get here? How did a nation that prizes life above all other rights become a massive supporter and taxpayer-funded enabler of ending that basic right? And what can we do to turn the tide and make unlimited abortion a thing of the past?
Since its inception, Planned Parenthood has been directly responsible for the deaths of nearly seven million unborn children. It was founded upon Margaret Sanger’s reprehensible belief that the human race could somehow be “improved" by ridding the world of less fortunate minorities. Never heard that? The media don’t report it.
But take a look at Sanger’s own words. In a 1923 New York Times article, Sanger explained that her goal was the “release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stock — those human weeds which threaten the blossoming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”
“Defective stock.” “Human weeds.” That’s how Sanger viewed minorities, immigrants, the disabled, and the “feeble-minded,” as her cruel determinism labeled it. All, according to Planned Parenthood’s founder, were to be marked for segregation and sterilization.
No sentiment could be further from the universal principles on which our nation was founded. Sanger rejected the very premise of our Declaration of Independence, that all people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” And so does the organization she founded.
Over the years, Planned Parenthood has cunningly and deceptively marketed itself as an organization that exists to champion women’s health. It has tried to cloud the true mission of its business by also providing routine services that nearly any other clinic or medical provider can offer. But, unlike most other clinics, Planned Parenthood draws its main profits — not from women’s health — but from abortion on a massive scale, funded by the American taxpayer. No one should be fooled by their modern rhetoric; one hundred years later Planned Parenthood continues to operate on the principle that an unborn child — which the abortion lobby now calls a “clump of cells” or a “fetus” rather than their previous terminology of a “human weed” — is not equal to other human beings and should be eliminated.
Even more troubling, Planned Parenthood’s abortion business is growing at a ghastly rate. In 1973, Roe v. Wade opened the floodgates of industrialized abortion, and from 2012 through 2014 alone, Planned Parenthood took the lives of 978,818 children. That is almost a million unborn babies in three years. By itself, Planned Parenthood now accounts for nearly one-third of all abortions in the United States.
Planned Parenthood has profited mightily from its life-ending practices, growing into a billion-dollar behemoth that generates up to 40 percent of its clinic revenues from the hundreds of thousands of abortions it performs every year. In Planned Parenthood’s 2015 Annual Report, the group listed a total revenue of nearly $1.3 billion. And although nearly half of its funding comes from American taxpayers, Planned Parenthood nevertheless generously compensates its top officers. And it spends millions on political advertising and lobbying. In a just society, no one should profit, much less get rich, from taking innocent life. Nor should any organization engaged in the abortion business get a dime of taxpayer money.
Liberals may continue to contend that abortion and women’s health care are synonymous — look no further than the Democrat nominee who has long supported abortion without limits. But the pro-life movement’s years of work promoting a culture of life in the decades since Roe has begun to change hearts and minds. Thankfully, our nation’s younger generations are becoming more pro-life than ever before. A Gallup poll found that when compared to all other age groups, young adults were the most likely to say abortion should be illegal. More women are also turning to adoption instead of abortion, granting families who cannot have children their wish of becoming caring, loving parents.
Pro-lifers are not only changing hearts and minds, they’re also successfully encouraging states to pass laws that limit and discourage abortion, such as bans on partial birth and late-term abortion, requirements that mothers be provided with sonograms, parental notification requirements, and incentives to encourage adoption. But our work is not done. We must continue our efforts to expose the abhorrent practices of the abortion industry, and we must not stop until the culture of abortion becomes a thing of the past.
While anti-life advocates may choose to celebrate Planned Parenthood’s founding, we will instead mark this day as one of remembrance for an entire generation who never reached their first birthdays. We will recommit to building a culture of life that cares for mothers, nurtures their children at every stage of development, and rejects the destructive culture of organizations like Planned Parenthood and all those who would permit the taking of human life.
Ted Cruz is a Senator from Texas. Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the Susan B. Anthony List.