Guess who said this:
We of today know that man is born of sexual union; that he starts life as an embryo within the body of the female; and that the embryo is formed from the fusion of two cells, the ovum and the sperm. This seems so simple and evident to us that it is difficult to picture a time when it was not part of common knowledge.
These are not the words of a pro-life activist. They’re not the words of a clergy council or a political action committee. These are the words of Alan Guttmacher, from his 1933 book, Life in the Making. Guttmacher served as the second president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1962-1974.
You may be surprised to learn that when Guttmacher took over at Planned Parenthood for founder and fellow eugenicist Margaret Sanger, the organization was officially opposed to abortion. A Planned Parenthood booklet still in use at that time said that abortion “kills the life of a baby after it has begun.”
But today, as Planned Parenthood celebrates their 100th anniversary, the organization and its current president now deny what Guttmacher considered “common knowledge”: that human life starts at the moment of conception—and that abortion ends that life.
In a 2014 interview, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards was pressed by Fusion TV’s Jorge Ramos to say when human life begins. She answered, “I don’t know that it’s really relevant to the conversation. I’m the mother of three children. For me, life began when I delivered them.”
Does anyone really believe Richards is being honest here? If, God forbid, any of Cecile Richards’s three children had died during delivery, would she not have mourned them? Would she not have buried them? Did she feel no motherly instinct when her daughter Lily kicked inside her? Did she and her husband Kirk never share a moment of wonder as she held his hand over her belly, feeling the movement of their twins, Hannah and Daniel?
As Planned Parenthood marks 100 years, there’s plenty to criticize about the organization—from Medicaid fraud, to shielding child predators, to harvesting and selling body parts of the human beings whose lives they end. But Planned Parenthood’s greatest injustice is the basic lie they’re telling about unborn children: that we just don’t know, and cannot know, when their lives begin.
Cecile Richards knows better. That’s why she works so hard to minimize public awareness of Planned Parenthood’s role in the abortion business, claiming abortion is only three percent of what they do—a figure that even the liberal website Slate called “meaningless.” The reality is that, year by year, Planned Parenthood sees fewer and fewer clients for any of those other services. Only when it comes to abortion is Planned Parenthood expanding, and they now perform over 320,000 abortions a year—nearly a third of the U.S. total.
The life of every one of Planned Parenthood’s abortion victims began just as Richards’s predecessor Alan Guttmacher said it did—at the moment of conception. And those lives ended when Planned Parenthood took them, knowing full well what they were doing.
Eric Scheidler is the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, a national pro-life education and activism organization based in Chicago.