This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941. (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in Minnesota—is said to be composed of more than a thousand “leaders in American public life” who feel it necessary to focus public attention on the need for “planned parenthood,” especially among the poorer families. As part of its program the committee is conducting a drive for $625,000 with which it intends to finance its activities. It is working in conjunction with the Birth Control Federation of America. We have here another evidence of the insidious methods of the birth preventionists, says an editorial in the Cincinnati Register. Not so many years ago contraception, rightly recognized as a serious interference with the laws of nature, was admitted to be morally wrong.. Today, as “planned parenthood,” it is placed side by side with better housing and the community chest and is given the dignified status of a welfare project. This attempt to surround the movement with an aura of civic righteousness is seen in a statement of the Committee for Planned Parenthood: “Is the American democracy it is clearly up to thoughtful citizens to see that information about child-bearing is made available not only to the ’privileged few’ but to mothers and fathers in homesteads, mining districts, slums, and migrant camps–all American citizens–all who need it for their health and well-being.”
The Catholic Church is the only organization that has consistently pointed out the essential evils of the birth control movement. She denounced these evils years ago and She denounces them today. Most other religious groups at least tacitly favor birth control. Even puritanical groups, whose members would have been shocked fifty years ago at the mention of contraception, today do not experience the slightest qualm about disseminating birth control literature. This about-face need not surprise us. The Catholic Church alone is guided by unchangeable moral principals. Other religious groups, even those which are considered the most hide-bound are beginning to adopt the modern dictum that expediency is the only moral standard. If poor families cannot support more than one child, they say, then it is right to urge the poor parents to practice birth prevention.
The Catholic Church, on the other hand , while deploring the fact that some poor families cannot adequately support their children, contends, nevertheless, that no degree of poverty can justify the practice of artificial birth control. The evil can be remedied not by immorally reducing the number of children, but by increasing the income of needy families. The $625,000 to be contributed to the Committee for Planned Parenthood would be wisely spent if it were to be used to find employment for the fathers of destitute families and to promote a more just social system so that parents can rear a family in frugal comfort.
Another consideration that birth preventionists ignore is the possibility of practicing continence and self-control, but this language, unfortunately is not understood by the modern pagans.
Aside from the incalculable moral harm that the Committee for Planned Parenthood will wreak, there is another poison latent in this organization–a danger to America’s democracy. This is the danger of taking one more step in the direction of national regimentation. The words, planned parenthood, are designed to indicate the noble intention of promoting public health and economic well-being, but they also have a sinister ring. Does the committee intend eventually to have the government regulate parenthood? The committee avers that it has only one laudable intention of persuading and aiding parents to use contraceptive methods, but who is to say that this movement may not lead to the enforced use of such methods? Their standards of morality are not above the level of the barnyard.