Once, in a washroom at Halifax Airport, I discovered that the paper towel dispenser was empty. The condom machine was full, but towels are better for drying hands. In Toronto last year, the condom dispensers in the lady’s room were equally well stocked, but it was impossible to get cough drops in any of the terminal’s many kiosks.

On CBC radio last summer, condom usage was described as “an act of love for fellow human beings, and an act of respect for all life.” The expert of the day went on to state, “Missionaries in developing countries are distributing tens of thousands of condoms, not to prevent life, but to preserve it.”

If that is true, they are defeating their purpose, betraying their calling, and continuing a deceit developed in 1939 by Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood.

She aimed at reducing the number of blacks (“human weeds,” she called them) by promoting contraception, sterilization and abortion as the way to a better life.

“The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal,” she said. So she proposed to hire “colored ministers with engaging personalities” to propagandize for birth control. “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

Ministers and laypeople fell for the lie. Many well-meaning people still do.

Planned Parenthood is skilled at indoctrinating educators and government officials, and at getting its programs, philosophy and attitudes into schools and the general culture, in your home town as well as mine.

A few years back, it set out to persuade inner-city American girls to stay in school. A praiseworthy objective. But there was a hidden agenda: more schooling would ensure more exposure to the PP philosophy via sex education programs, and more openness as adults to its other family planning and sexuality training programs.

During last year’s teen sex scandal in P.E.I., one expert interviewed by CBC revealed that she was doing a Health Canada study of youth sexuality in the province. Human nature hasn’t changed all that much, so why is there suddenly enough sexual activity among Island teens to spark a government-sponsored study?

In large part, it is another consequence of Planned Parenthood’s meddling, along with the unintended way-too-early pregnancies, the thousands of abortions, and the need to test mere 12-year olds for sexually transmitted disease.

So, too, the fact that youth are now the new factor in spreading HIV/AIDS. In October 2003, the UN Population Fund reported, “Every 14 seconds, a person between 15 and 24 is infected with the virus. They now account for one-half of all new cases.”

It’s not just the young that are adrift. A few years ago, a newly widowed New Brunswick woman told me that in the support group she attended, the major “help” she was offered was how to avoid getting AIDS – the assumption was that, as a newly single woman, she would become sexually active.

In 2002, Nature Genetics listed the top 10 developing biotechnologies for improving global health. Number six was “vaccines and vaginal microbicides to allow women to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections.” Chastity might be just as effective, without a risk of harmful side effects.

My husband once asked, “How fast would AIDS or other STDs spread if there was no inappropriate or illicit sexual activity, if all single people were chaste and all spouses were faithful, as our churches teach (or taught)?”

Clearly, we wouldn’t have 6,000 youths a day developing HIV. We wouldn’t need vaginal microbicides. The current health and abortion epidemics would be stopped in their tracks, along with the trail of destruction that follows them.

But, the pundits tell us, the church is punitive, freedom-restricting, guilt-inducing and totally out of date. Since we must be free at all costs, rooting all that archaic church stuff out of our lives and our society would be progress, they tell us.

Writer George Jonas says, “Progress simply means movement from one point to another. It can lead from light to darkness as easily as from darkness to light. To know if it is improvement, you must find out its direction and nature to evaluate it.”

Margaret Sanger didn’t understand that.