A History of the Republican Love Affair with Planned Parenthood

by Rachel Baker on August 25, 2015

Regardless of your personal politics, its important to understand the history of the issues (real or perceived) in an election season. Frankly, considering the vitriol surrounding Planned Parenthood throughout my lifetime, I was stunned to find out Planned Parenthood was originally a Republican established organization.

One has to ask, how much of actual criticism surrounding Planned Parenthood by the Republican candidates is real and how much is contrived to pull at Christian Conservative heartstrings and garnish votes?

Read the Full article:
The secret Republican love affair with Planned Parenthood: A history

Believe or not, the Republican Party and Planned Parenthood used to be best friends. It was Republican activists who helped establish Planned Parenthood and the Republican Party that got federal funding for the organization in the first place. This seems hard to believe when the Republican-controlled Congress is trying defund the Planned Parenthood, all the GOP presidential candidates (with the possible exception of Donald Trump) are on board, and 16 GOP-majority states have either defunded the organization or are trying to.

Planned Parenthood might be public enemy #1 of the Republican Party today, but for most of the 20th century it was a favorite cause of well-heeled, WASP-y Republicans.

Katherine Hepburn’s mother Kit Houghton Hepburn typified the progressive Republican activists who campaigned to legalize access to contraception and raise money for Planned Parenthood. In the early 1920s, when public discussion of birth control was still scandalous, she helped start the Connecticut Birth Control League, an affiliate of Margaret Sanger’s American Birth Control League, which would eventually become Planned Parenthood.

At the time, the biggest opponents of birth control were the leaders of the Catholic Church. In 1921, New York Archbishop Patrick Hayes got the police to raid the first public meeting of the American Birth Control League on the grounds that it was indecent. Hepburn and other activists in Connecticut battled the Catholic Church for years over access to birth control, a fight that wasn’t won until 1965, when the Supreme Court legalized contraception in the historic Griswold v. Connecticut decision.

And while there were class and racial overtones to some of the early birth control activism, which promoted making contraception more widely available to poor white immigrant populations and African Americans, women like Hepburn were motived by a genuine desire to give women control of their reproductive destinies. This was something more and more WASPs were doing themselves as the diaphragm became popular and the Episcopalian Church approved the use of birth control in 1930. “I felt that woman would always be hopelessly handicapped if they did not have control of how many children they produced,” she said.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to follow on Twitter; or you can follow her at The Crafty Veteran on Bloglovin. You can also follow her writing about women veteran interests at Shield Sisters

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