George Grant, Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood, 2nd edition (Franklin, Tennessee: Adroit Press, 1992), 314pp. and Douglas Scott, Bad Choices: A Look Inside Planned Parenthood (Franklin, Tennessee: Legacy Communications, 1992), 294pp.
Reviews by David Curtin
In Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood, George Grant urges that Planned Parenthood was founded on a mixture of ideologies-including racism and sexual libertinism-and that those ideologies persist in the movement to this day. He bases his argument on the writings of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and her biographers, and on the organization’s own literature over the years.
Grant begins by exposing the “illusions” about Planned Parenthood. He explains, for example, that although the movement claims to be “pro-choice,” in fact it supports coercive government “family planning” programs (such as China’s “one-child policy”), and its counselors are heavily biased in favor of women “choosing” abortions when faced with a crisis pregnancy.
The author proceeds to outline the legacy of Planned Parenthood on several levels. He shows, for example, how Sanger was a firm believer in ‘eugenics” (the pseudo-science of creating a “master race”), and how she saw the eugenics and birth-control movements as sharing the same goal. Grant also brings to light Planned Parenthood’s overtly racist publications (an essay on eugenic sterilization by Nazi “racial hygiene” leader Ernst Rudin, for example), and their covertly racist programs (the “Negro Advisory Council,” for example, set up to push the contraception on wary U.S. blacks).
Most important, the author shows how the legacy of Planned Parenthood’s early years endures today. He reveals how the organization still targets poor and ethnic communities, for example, and how abortion has devastated such communities. Similarly, Grant shows how Margaret Sanger’s obsessive advocacy of “free love’ endures in contemporary Planned Parenthood sex education programs, which downplay parental and religious authority, and promote virtually unlimited sexual licence.
Other sections of the book deal with government and corporate financial support of Planned Parenthood, and the role of the media in spreading the movement’s propaganda. The author, and evangelical Christian, concludes with several moving chapters on the traditional Christian responses to abortion, and what Christians today must do to confront and resist Planned Parenthood.
In Bad Choices: A Look Inside Planned Parenthood, Douglas Scott covers the same ground and reaches the same conclusions as Grant.
Scott’s book is quite valuable in its own right, however, for three reasons: he highlights different sources; and he pays more attention to the activities of Planned Parenthood outside the U.S.
Like Grant, Scott details Margaret Sanger’s belief in eugenics, and how that belief has persisted in Planned Parenthood over the years. His use of different sources to show this, however, provides the reader with some very powerful corroborating evidence. He quotes Sanger’s articles favoring mandatory sterilization for “morons,” for example, and a 1975 Planned Parenthood article implying that the mentally disabled should be sterilized.
Although Scott’s book is not as vivid and spiritually compelling as Grant’s, it covers the activity of Planned Parenthood outside the U.S. more extensively, including frequent references to Canada. It also goes into greater detail in describing Planned Parenthood’s strategy and tactics, and concludes with a chapter giving practical advice on fighting the movement on the local level.
Scott’s book is even-handed and scholarly, and makes a very important contribution to the literature on Planned Parenthood. Concerned pro-lifers should add it to their reading lists.