For many years Planned Parenthood has denied its commitment to abortion and has been portrayed by the press as a group of concerned citizens trying to save the world from itself.
During the IPPF conference held in Ottawa in November 1989, the national press presented this picture once again. Stuart McCarthy in the Ottawa Sun quotes IPPF spokesman Karen Newman as saying “it (the IPPF) is not about abortion rights” and “abortion” is but a “tiny speck in their work for women’s health.”
The Globe and Mail’s Paul Taylor noted the conference’s view that pro-life policies of religious groups “undermine the development of family planning programs around the world… These groups are winning through intimidation and misinformation… They always use fear.”
Mr. Taylor also gives some insight into the real agenda of the IPPF. He quotes Shannon Camp, a family planning agency worker, in refuting the claim that family planners are part of a white supremacist plot to limit population in developing nations. Camp claims that an African woman is 200 times more likely to die from childbirth than a woman in an industrialized nation. She doesn’t point the finger to the lack of medical knowledge or the absence of proper facilities and clean water, or to poor nutrition. Rather, she blames the pro-life community. Pro-lifers “have taken the high moral ground. We must paint our opponents as… prepared to let women die.”
Catholics may take some solace in the remarks of IPPF’s representative from Columbia, a Dr. Trias. “In some cases, with the Catholic Church, we should not counter-attack for fear of alienating people where the church is strong.”
The Toronto Star chose to report on PP support for RU=-486. The paper had the decency to call it “the abortion pill” but then went on to record statements such as this wonderful option (RU-486) instead of a surgical procedure (abortion),” and “A child aborted by this method is like having a heavier flow than normal during your period.” French delegate Colette Gallard explained that so far the pill is only available through French hospital pharmacies. In the event the pill doesn’t work right away, she explained, a doctor must also administer prostaglandin (to contract the uterus to expel the tiny foetus). She then went on to point out that it might be used as a “once a month pill” or “a morning pill.”
The Ottawa Citizen reported on a speech made by Dr. Norman Barwin, president of Planned Parenthood Canada. This gentleman attacked the government’s proposed abortion bill C-43 as an “insult to medical integrity,” demonstrating “complete lack of respect for women” and leading to inevitable complaints that “poor women, natives, immigrants and women living in remote communities are denied… availability of safe termination” (abortion).
Kate Dunn of the Montreal Gazette provided by far the most exhaustive coverage. She devoted six separate articles to the IPPF.
First, the same Norman Barwin appears this time as dismissing male contraceptives. “We don’t trust men anyway,” he said, adding that these types of contraceptives could “lead to a loss of the sex drive… That’s perhaps a good contraceptive in itself.”
Secondly, one learns that the next target for IPP’s attention is the third world. Barber Conable, president of the World Bank, explained that “the World Bank intends to work more closely with family planners… in the third world to encourage smaller families amongst the poor.” As reported elsewhere in The Interim Barber Conable cited Margaret Sanger – PP founder as a “shining example” for P.P. activists.
Today even radical feminists, including Germaine Greer, denounce Sanger as “a right wing crank who wished to eliminate the poor and unfit through both voluntary and involuntary birth control.” The only error in this evaluation is that she wasn’t right wing but left wing, as almost all such types are.
One also learns from the Gazette about a report from Dr. Chien-Ping Wu (one of mainland China’s top family planning advocates) which states that “Chinese couples are not coerced into limited families,” the very reverse of the truth. It is a widely known fact that women in China are taken from their homes and dragged to traveling abortion clinics after being reported by “grandmother police” – older women in communities paid to keep track of other women’s cycles and stop second children.
Meanwhile, the Gazette’s reporter believed it all despite the chilling admission by Dr. Chien-Ping Wu, that “We have averted the birth of 200 million people.”
Barbara McDougall, Minister for the Status of Women used the convention to announce a foreign aid grant of 24.2 million “to assist with family planning in other countries.” Oh, this Conservative government is so pro-life!