From its humble beginnings in a small Brooklyn, N.Y. clinic before First World War, the Planned Parenthood organization has grown quickly into an international behemoth with tentacles reaching into all corners of the world.
With the active support of people in high places, the organization today serves as the world’s leader in a number of areas troubling to persons of faith, morality, conscience and pro-life persuasion: it wantonly provides birth control and abortions; it promotes worldwide population control; it gives birth control devices and counseling to minors and fights parental notification regulations; and it promotes a humanistic world view, among other things.
It was because of these factors and many more that another group with diametrically opposing views sprang up in March, 1985 in LaGrangeville, N.Y., just outside Poughkeepsie. Because a local Planned Parenthood affiliate had announced the start of a fundraising campaign to renovate a building so it could begin performing “surgical services” (its euphemism for abortions), 10 pro-lifers people banded together to combat the effort.
Out of that event, what was to become Stop Planned Parenthood International was born. Today, STOPP boasts an international mailing list of 10,000 and it co-ordinates an international coalition of 31 groups.
“Most of the people who formed STOPP belonged to the local right-to-life group at the time,” recalls STOPP’s founder and president, Jim Sedlak. “When we started doing STOPP’s work, it became clear that it involved an entirely different focus and mission from a standard right-to-life group. Everyone soon agreed STOPP should exist as a separate entity.”
Spreading the word
A year later, STOPP had spread to other parts of New York State. “People . . . heard about us and what we were doing,” says Sedlak. “We were asked to get involved with combating some Planned Parenthood sex education programs in schools, so we branched out from fighting just abortion initiatives to also fighting their sex education programs.”
By 1990, STOPP was getting calls from all over the U.S. “We officially said we were a national group and started publishing a newsletter which covered the national scene,” says Sedlak. “By 1994, we were asked to get involved in fights in Costa Rica, Canada and Mexico.”
STOPP now publishes a monthly newsletter, the Ryan Report, which alerts people to Planned Parenthood’s latest moves and reports what is being done to counteract it.
“Planned Parenthood brought us abortion,” notes Sedlak. “It plotted and planned from its beginning in 1916 to make abortion legal in the U.S. Now that I’m on the international scene, I can see it doing the same thing in other countries.”
Sedlak says Planned Parenthood continues a legacy inherited from founder Margaret Sanger which emphasizes uninhibited sex, birth control (including abortion and the use of chemical abortifacients) and eugenics.
“Sanger was a member of the Eugenics Society. One of the original board members of Planned Parenthood which it was founded as the American Birth Control League was (a man) who wrote the book, The Rising Tide of Colour Against White World Supremacy,” says Sedlak. “Planned Parenthood targets minority groups and tries to limit population in poor countries.”
Sedlak says STOPP’s influence is extending far beyond its Ryan Report mailing list of 10,000. “Many people copy (the Ryan Report) and distribute it to others in their areas, so the circulation is actually much more … The newsletter goes out to all 50 states and 26 countries around the world. There are people in Russia who use it extensively and it also goes to New Zealand.”
In addition, the STIPP International Coalition Against Planned Parenthood joins 31 like-minded groups around the world.
“We’re just small, little people,” observes Sedlak. “Without God’s help, we couldn’t do anything. But because, for whatever reason, God has seen fit to bless what we’re doing, we have seen many victories.”
While the thought of victories over a power like Planned Parenthood may be hard to fathom, Sedlak insists they exist. “Planned Parenthood America issued an annual report at the end of November 1996. Although it is not in trouble from a financial standpoint, it is having trouble getting customers and public support.”
Sedlak said PP closed 38 U.S. clinics that year. It was also the first year in which the number of its female birth control customers was less than the previous year. Educational contacts were also down.
“The report was very positive from our perspective,” says Sedlak. “Not only our efforts, but those of a lot of people are starting to bear fruit. Planned Parenthood announced that it no longer has clinics of any kind in Mississippi. It was very heartening to know it could be thrown out of a whole state.”
Sedlak says another positive development in recent years has been the explosion in critical and scholarly studies of Planned Parenthood. “When we began in 1985, there was no good compilation of information about Planned Parenthood. But in 1988, George Grant came out with the book Grand Illusions and since then, a number of other books have been published. We think this is a young fight. It’s only recently that the evidence has come into print.”
Sedlak says STOPP has been very careful to avoid being the subject of a lawsuit by a usually litigation-happy Planned Parenthood. “We’re very careful about what we publish. We go out of our way not to make outlandish claims. We publish facts and truthful information.”
Not slowing down
For the future, Sedlak looks to continued rapid growth for STOPP, mainly because of demand. “U.S. Planned Parenthood, because of the bad year it had last year, will be pressuring for expansion. It is aggressively trying to open new clinic sites and abortion centers all of the U.S. We’re getting phone calls almost daily from people who want to fight Planned Parenthood’s coming to their town.
“Planned Parenthood has an international plan,” adds Sedlak. “It currently has 900 U.S. clinics and plans to get to 2,000 by the year 2000. It is going to try to more than double in size.”
That fact can only mean a drastically increased workload for Sedlak and others battling PP. “Our work is going to expand tremendously. We’re putting in place plans to handle that. We’ll be on the Internet with a World Wide Web page. We’ll also be expanding our publishing and distribution of the Ryan Report.”
For information or to find out about hosting Jim Sedlak as a speaker, contact STOPP at P.O. Box 8, LaGrangeville, N.Y., U.S.A., 12540, (914) 473-3316.