Blessed Are The Barren, by Robert Marshall & Charles Donovan; Selected Quotes


Blessed Are The Barren: The Social Policy of Planned Parenthood, by Bob Marshall and Chuck Donovan represents one of the best scholarly works on Planned Parenthood. Forewards by Dr. Benard Nathanson and John Cardinal O’Connor; published by Ignatius Press in 1991.

Robert_Marshall.jpg Robert “Bob” Marshall

Chapter One, Margaret Sanger: The Founding Mother, the founder of Planned Parenthood frames the book. “Her magazine the Woman Rebel [has] “No Gods, No Masters,” below the masthead…[and] claimed the right to ‘be lazy…an unmarried mother …to create…to destroy…to love.'” p. 7.

“Sanger published such articles as “Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” (June 1920)…” p. 9. The purpose appeared, as Sanger writes, to be “To Create a Race of Thoroughbreds…” p. 9.

“Human sexuality would increasingly fall under the sphere of medicine rather than morals, although it would soon be clear that the criterion of health was often little more than a convenient cover for hedonism.” p. 12.

Margaret Sanger wrote Gamble, a eugenics activist and an heir to the Proctor & Gamble fortune, on December 10, 1939,

While the “Colored Negroes” do respect white doctors, more trust would ensue with black physicians. She wrote that: “We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten that idea out if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” p. 18.

All that is needed to succeed is “a clever bit of machination to persuade them to commit race suicide..” Marshall quotes Dorothy B. Ferebee addressing Planned Parenthood’s minority outreach efforts. p. 19.

“Abortion and sterilization on request should be certainly be introduced before family size by coercion is attempted.” [emphasis added] by Marshall quoting Alan Guttmacher. p 39.

Chuck_Donovan.png Chuck Donovan

Marshall and Donovan quote the founder of Planned Parenthood, “Sex was a natural part of life,” Sanger wrote, “I had always known where babies came from. My mother never discussed sex with us,” p. 58.

The “theme of Sanger’s thought is pervasive in Planned Parenthood’s history: liberality in all things sexual save procreation.” p. 59.

Planned Parenthood was relentless in the “aggressive merchandising of…abortion to children.” p. 65.

“Margaret Sanger believed in the inutility of a state-by-state strategy for legal change…” p. 113. Sanger did not hold for an incremental approach for changing American values.

“The collaboration between the sex industry’s most polished marketeers and the leadership of the sex-education movement occurred first on the level of principle: If to some feminists the objectification of women is offensive, to the harbingers of sexual freedom it is not.” p. 124.

“Margaret Sanger, the sixth child in a family of eleven…was baptized a Catholic. Her father was an apostate Catholic…described as “free-thinking.” Biographer Madeline Gray has written that Sanger sought “poise and surcease for her recurrent depression through astrology, numerology, sex, religious cults…” attended seances; and was a member of the Rosicrucian Society…Sanger believed she had undergone numerous reincarnations usually as a member of the social elite. One such nether-world inquiry placed Sanger…as the daughter of an emperor of Atlantis…” p. 131

“For Sanger the proper attitude toward her critics was difficult to distinguish from personal vilification, character assassination, and old-fashioned bigotry. Sanger, a constant fellow-traveler with anti-Catholics…” p. 133.

“Sam Saloman…who worked at the U.S. Government Printing Office, pointed out…

Appearing before congressional committees…its propagandists [for sexual freedom] appear as the benign, motherly type of women…

Before sex radicals, they appear as sophisticated women, demanding sex equality for women and men…demanding also that society safeguard sex from the inevitable consequences of indulgence…

Mrs. Sanger…was asked to join a group of 30 sex radicals in a symposium on sex…This is her conception of the new morality…”what they consider ‘morality’ we consider ‘moral imbecility’…our morality is an ‘ethics of the dust’…It is not a morality concerned with…absolute rights and wrongs, with unhealthy lingering interests in virginity and chastity…but…solve these problems with instruments of intelligence, insight, and honesty.” emphasis added p. 141.

The Catholic Church was on to Margaret Sanger early, “Archbishop Murray, sensing that Sanger’s real goal included abortion…likening [Planned Parenthood] to the Dillinger mob. Both groups, he said, were “organizing to commit murder.”” p. 143.

“[M]any nonclerical Protestants and Catholics could see through to the real goal of Planned Parenthood, namely abortion on demand and all that entailed.” p. 145.

Not only was Margaret Sanger better at marketing than the Catholic Church, but also better at organizing, “The string of Catholic successes in isolating Planned Parenthood from community support was stopped, largely due to Planned Parenthood’s persistent efforts at coalition building.” p. 157. “Aided by careful Planned Parenthood affiliate intelligence work in identifying sympathetic or friendly Catholics.” p. 162.

“Justice Felix Frankfurter, neither Catholic nor conservative…” rejected the health exception needed for contraceptives. P. 167.

“[Justice William O.] Douglas reached for the novel insight the Court would use repeatedly of the next few decades to strike down state statues affecting family life: “Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees, that help give them life and substance…various guarantees create zones of privacy.” p. 168. (There is no evidence Justice William O. Douglas was drunk when he wrote this decision.)

“Justice Potter Stewart dissented [from Douglas on ‘penumbras formed by emanations’] noting, “With all deference, I can find no such general right of privacy in the Bill of Rights, in any other part of the Constitution or in any case ever before decided by this Court.”” p. 168.

“The Oath of Hippocrates…embodied a “Natural Law” ethic compatible with orthodox Jewish and Christian thought and practice.” P. 175.

“Alan Guttmacher himself said in 1971 that it was a decided advantage for Planned Parenthood not to be tied down by a venerated document like the U.S. Constitution or the constraints of the outdated Hippocratic Oath which forbade doctors from performing abortions or assisting suicide.” p. 175.

“In 1866 the American Medical Association decided to issue a brief but comprehensive statement on abortion…Horatio R. Stone, obstetrics and medical jurisprudence and a leading antiabortionist of his day [wrote] “The Criminality and Physical Evils of Forced Abortions,”…quoted Percivil’s Medical Ethics to the effect that “to extinguish the first spark of life is a crime of the same nature both against our Maker and society, as to destroy an infant, a child, or a man.”‘p. 175.

“In addition, Storer cited a statement from 1653 that decried the putting to death of a being “in the shop of nature,” i.e., the womb, as “a thing deserving all hate and detestation.” With the full support of his colleagues, Storer declared that all “physicians have now arrived at the unanimous opinion that the foetus in utero is alive from the very moment of conception…” p. 176.

“The Academy of Pediatrics also opposed the Reagan administration’s efforts to mandate nondiscriminatory treatment of handicapped newborn infants.” p. 177.

“Dr. Leo Alexander, an official medical expert at the Nuremberg Trials of German physician-executioners of Nazi atrocities, has stated: “Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. It started with the acceptance of the attitude…that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived.” p. 178.

“To retain the logical symmetry a physician is disposed to apply to his trade, it follows that the unwanted child must become the medical equivalent of a disease process…Mary Calderone…in the 1960’s… lamented that: “…we are still unable to put babies in the class of dangerous epidemics, even though this is the exact truth.”” p. 182.

“Planned Parent’s own journal has stated that pregnancy “may be defined as a disease…[and]…treated by evacuation of the uterine contents.” p. 182.

“Medical relativism…[is an]…acceptable goal of “health care”…Dr. J. Robert Willson of Temple University…stated: “We have to stop thinking in terms of individual patients and change our direction…the individual patient is expendable in the general scheme of things, particularly if the infection [that the patient] acquires is sterilizing but not lethal.”…Medical Director of [Planned Parenthood] Mary Calderone…said, “It thrilled me to hear a clinician like Dr. Willson talk in terms of public health applications as I, a public health person, would not have dared talk, particularly in this assembly.” p.183.

Marshall and Donovan quote Shakespeare,

King Lear: Hear, Nature, hear…Suspend thy purpose…To make the creature fruitful! Into her womb convey sterility! Dry up her organs of increase. (Shakespeare, King Lear, act 1, scene 4) p. 221.

“And research has shown that adolescents who believe themselves less responsible to parents, society, or God are more likely to indulge in premarital intercourse.” p. 231.

“It becomes easy to see why Planned Parenthood’s president [at that time] Faye Wattelton believes “it is a mistake to enter into debates on questions of morality.” Minimizing the guilt that accompanies the departure from the moral order is also a convenient way to dull one’s conscience.” p. 231.

“In 1971, Dr. George Langmyhr, Planned Parenthood medical director at the time acknowledged that, “…Planned Parenthood [has] accepted …the necessity of abortion as an integral part of any complete …family planning program.” p 239.

“When the topic of abortion came up, Sanger’s flair for the dramatic helped her draw a line just where her particular audience wanted it. This line was different for each new audience, a testimony to her ability to adapt her …crusade to the needs of the moment.” p. 239.

“[Margaret Sanger] had a long record of support for hygienic abortion performed by “competent” personnel. In March 1914 in a publication call The Woman Rebel, Sanger hinted at approval of abortion. She suggested that feminists would “claim the right to be lazy…an unmarried mother…to create…to destroy…”” p. 240.

So how does Planned Parenthood understand public law? In 1921 in a “conference in New York City sponsored by Sanger’s nascent Planned Parenthood group…Dr. Andre Tridon said, “…breaking the law is not a crime, but a public duty.” p. 241.

“A model abortion law was proposed at a May 1959 meeting of the American Law Institute (ALI). The model law allowed abortion until the twenty-sixth week of pregnancy if the doctor believed that the mother’s physical or mental health would be gravely impaired; if the child would be born with grave mental physical handicap…Judge Learned Hand [was a member of ALI and] Hand’s wife was a member of Sanger’s Birth Control League, and his daughter Mrs. Robert Ferguson, later became president of [Planned Parenthood] from 1953 to 1956. Judge Hand complained to Guttmacher that the ALI proposal was “too d@mned conservative.””p. 247.

“This Planned Parenthood-spawned ALI proposal added some interesting nuances to the meaning of “health.” First was the provision that if the child was not healthy, he could be put to death. Second, the child–and this was not explained–was held capable of causing the mother’s mental health to deteriorate, and therefore he could be killed.” p. 247.

Marshall and Donovan quote “Dr. Bernard Nathanson, former abortion provider and now an ardent pro-lifer…”How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal?…5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year…I confess that i knew the figures were totally false…The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated…”” p. 250.

“One…”benefit,” according to Guttmacher, was that “24 [percent] of the abortions in New York City were done on black women, who form 18 [percent] of the total population.” p. 257.

In the Restated Certificate of Incorporation of [Planned Parenthood] in New York, March 3, 1972, “changed its charter to “provide leadership in making effective means of voluntary fertility including…abortion and sterilization, available and accessible to all…This…should lay to rest any notion that [Planned Parenthood] was merely pro-choice and not pro-abortion” p. 259.

“Abortion as a “Medical Matter” Adolph Hitler wrote in his infamous tract Mein Kampf, “The great masses of the people…will more easily fall victims to a great lie than a small one.”…Because the physician is called upon to use techniques and instruments as tools to implement the abortion decision, abortion has been mistakenly thought by some to be simply a medical matter…But to conclude that abortion is purely a “medical matter” is like saying war is purely a military matter and that therefore only generals should decide…or that capital punishment is simply a concern of electrical engineers.” p.272.

“A doctor who preforms elective abortions is not acting as a healer. In short, he is not practicing medicine; he is merely a biological technician who seeks to bring about the death of the human fetus (a Latin term for “offspring”). p. 273.

As far back as 1859 the AMA understood the marketing of abortion where the baby is ignored, “A law which has maternal health as its sole or main concern is not likely to be worded in such a way that the human status of the foetus be given human rights protected by law.” p. 273.

“A 1970 editorial form California Medicine presaged the now partially completed slide away from the traditional sanctity of life ethic:

Since the old ethic has not been fully displaced it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death…this schizophrenic sort of subterfuge is necessary…” p. 274.

“Margaret Sanger…had as one of [her] major goals the elimination of live births of those, and among those deemed inferior. [T]he cure for these evils is “proper breeding on a scientific basis.” p. 275.

The eugenicist Laughlin cited Justice Holmes’ words:

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime…society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccinations is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes…Three generations of imbeciles are enough. p. 277.

“Mrs. Alva Myrdal…said that Sweden only wanted those children who were wanted by their parents.” p. 279.

Planned Parenthood has always been expert in marketing. “Borrowing sales techniques of striking while the iron is hot, social workers who identified women with possibly inferior offspring were told that “if the patient is in her 14th week or more, while you have the patient there, call in the referral immediately…Presumably delaying the testing too much longer would make the abortion of a possibly less than perfect child a bit messier than usual.” p. 287.

Planned Parenthood emphasizes the mother at the expense of the unborn baby and the humanity of the baby is ignored. “James Hoffman, a public health nutritionist employed by South Carolina [in]… 1983 observ[ed] that the more able the educator is at personifying the fetus, the better the mother will eat. “It seems very inconsistent to me to treat the fetus like a baby when one is interested in feeding him/her, bu to depersonify the fetus when the baby is ‘unwanted’ or has a genetic defect.”” p. 288.

“This policy of semantic gymnastics, successfully carried out over a period of decades, included efforts to redefine nearly every term in the lexicon of human reproduction: pregnancy, conception, abortion, and human being or person.” p.291.

At a Planned Parenthood symposium, “Bent Boving, a Swedish fertility researcher…said…”to destroy an established pregnancy could depend on something so simple as a prudent habit of speech.” p. 292.

“…Planned Parenthood’s redefinition …[of] the claim that no one really knows when human life begins. Yet…in 1933…Dr. Alan Guttmacher [said] “We of today know that man…starts life as an embryo within the body of the female; and that the embryo is formed from the fusion of two single cells,,,This all seems so simple…” p. 295.

“However, after [Guttmacher] conversion to the “pro-choice” view [his] past knowledge seemed to vanish…And …in 1973 [he wrote] Does human life begin before or with the union of the gametes…? I, for one, confess I do not know.” p. 295.

“This view had its origins more in attitudes than knowledge…” p. 295.

“Dr. Sally Faith Dorfman …has noted that during an abortion, “a compassionate and sensitive sonographer should remember to turn the screen away from the plane of view. Staff too may find themselves increasing disturbed by the repeated visual impact of an aspect of their work that they need to partially deny in order to continue…” p. 297.

“Gaining public acceptance for the French abortion pill, RU-486, is in part a matter of contriving and using acceptable euphemisms.” p. 301.

“Notice that when Planned Parenthood uses the “wanted baby” phrase, that such babies have rights. Unwanted babies have no rights and are morally equivalent to disposable property. But under the wanted baby scheme, where do rights come from? From being wanted, of course. But who is it that does the “wanting” that results in the conferring of rights? Not the father, nor a couple seeking to adopt. No, it is the pregnant woman alone who gets to confer rights.

Planned Parenthood could never use the phrase, “Every child a valuable child,” because that would implicitly recognize the intrinsic worth of the child irrespective of whether the father, mother, etc., “wanted” the baby.” p. 310

“As a nation we were once respected and admired for our ideals; now, after the…sexual revolt, we are merely envied for our machines.” p. 316.

“Planned Parenthood sees certain children as a social disease or an epidemic. Barrenness is considered an affliction in Scripture…Planned Parenthood opposes even a twenty-four-hour abortion waiting period…” p. 317.

“Professor Harold J. Laski hinted hinted at some of the ultimate goals his ideological [pro-abortion] kindred had in mind. Laski wrote to Justice Holmes, after the Supreme Court decision upholding Virginia’s law sterilizing Carrie Buck against her will, advocating “steriliz[ing] all the unfit, among whom I include all fundamentalists.” p. 320.

“Those so at war with the order of creation eventually come to propound contradictions without the slightest awareness of doing so. Luke Lee, in a publication funded by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)…and the U.S. State Department would write:

But if a state can justify restrictions on the number of spouses on human rights grounds, it can similarly justify restrictions of the number of children each couple can have…[and] can it not be argued that “in allowing children that are born to live a higher quality of life,” compulsory sterilization may be considered as “reaffirming an individual’s right to procreate”?

Mandatory sterilization means freedom to reproduce. Up is down, good is evil, hatred is love. Big Brother, in George Orwell’s totalitarian novel, 1984, longed for this state of affairs. We have it now. What is to be done?” p. 320.

“French philosopher Etienne Gilson once said that “philosophy always buries its undertakers.” Applying this adage to the present situation, we might say that the Planned Parenthood movement in all its social manifestations is its own best funeral director. It believes in death, it inflicts death; let this movement have what it has given others.” p. 321.


Roe v. Wade, January 22, 1973, A pregnant single woman (“Roe”) challenged the constitutionality of a Texas statue forbidding abortion….Norma McCorvey, an astrology devotee…had already given birth…claimed that she had been raped, but much later acknowledged she had not been raped.” p. 328.

In Roe, “The Court need not “resolve the difficult question of when life begins” because “those trained in medicine, philosophy, and theology” were “unable to arrive at any consensus.” p. 329.


In “1981…[the courts decided that a twenty-four-hour waiting period and…a…parental consent provision were both constitutional.” p. 333.


Harris v. McRae, June 30, 1980, A lower court judge, “Dooling had asserted that, with respect to abortion, the courts, not Congress, had the power over the treasury because “poverty is a medical condition.” As it is known, “The Hyde Amendment was upheld.” This case was argued at the Supreme Court by legal counsel of Americans United for Life.


“The Roe v. Wade decision did not state that a woman had a right to an abortion per se…The “fundamental” right to privacy, which the Court ostensibly found in the Constitution, is surely one of the more curious constitutional rights. For example, it is the only constitutional right that must be secured by a licensed physician in good standing (Connecticut v. Menillo [1975]). p. 339.

“The Court in Roe and Menillo did not rule on the alleged privacy right of a woman to abort herself. So it can be said that, in fact, what the Court did create through its own-conferred legislative powers was not a privacy right of abortion for the pregnant woman, but a right immunizing licensed physicians against state prosecution for aborting women.” p. 339.


“Planned Parenthood Abortion Workshop–Business Principles inside the Killing Center; A “health clinic” that kills 50 percent of its patients at the request of the other 50 percent reduces to absurdity the profession and practice of medicine. But in a permissive, hedonist, neglectful society, the fondness–indeed, the need for euphemisms designates these killing centers as “family planning” clinics.” p.345.

“Potential [abortionist] entrepreneurs were told that if they had a large clientele they would “…be taking in a large, large volume of cold, hard cash” — and that the money would have to be dealt with sensibly.” p. 345. A cash business is the easiest on which to evade taxes.

“Costs could be kept down in several ways [in an abortion center]…”clean” [surgical] techniques were [substituted for] “sterile” ones in order to satisfy Planned Parenthood’s standards.” Planned Parenthood abortion workshop, 1973, p. 346

Marshall and Donovan close their outstanding book with direction from Planned Parenthood on abortion and money, “Though it hardly needed to be mentioned [during the abortion business seminar] it was dutifully pointed out that “[t]he cashier’s desk is the last stop for the patient before she leaves the center.” Patients are urged, management suggested, to bring a certified check, traveler’s check, or money order. Medicaid patients were served if they presented their Medicaid cards.” p. 347


Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

Thank you (foot)notes,

Full Disclosure: Charmaine Yoest used to work for Chuck Donovan. The Honorable Robert Marshall is a state delegate in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


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