Planned Parenthood: Number One Pro-Abortion Litigants

Author: A.L.L.


American Life League

If, as Roe teaches, the 14th Amendment protects a woman's right to decide whether she will terminate her pregnancy, it must also, we believe, protect her right to take measures to guard against pregnancy ... We believe that, in appropriate cases, the state's interest in enforcing parental prerogatives must yield to the fundamental rights of minors ... these youths will be aided by the mature judgment of trained [Planned Parenthood] adults before making important decisions regarding sexual conduct.

Judges Ritter and Lewis, writing for the majority, T__H__ v. Jones, July 23, 1975.

Anti-Life Philosophy.

Planned Parenthood is the largest pro-life, pro-family organization in the world, and uses its vast resources to work for the best interests of both parents and children. To this end, we must continually fight in the courts against the rising tide of reactionary legislation whose only purpose is to deny women the most fundamental right of all: The right to decide when and if to bear children.


Planned Parenthood opposes even the most trivial limits on any aspect of abortion. It has opposed any restrictions on third-trimester abortions, it has opposed burial for the aborted infants, and it has fought against any type of communication between parent and child regarding abortion. It even fights those who want to tell women the facts about abortion primarily its dangers and information on fetal development.

The part of its budget that Planned Parenthood sets aside for pro-abortion lobbying alone each year is far greater than the total annual budgets of almost every pro-life organization. For example, the total amount of money spent by Planned Parenthood on lobbying during the four-year period 1983 to 1986 was $1,267,904.[1]

The following description of United States Supreme Court cases shows that Planned Parenthood is the most virulently anti-life and anti-family organization on earth. It is very significant that Planned Parenthood either initiated each of these actions, or was a major 'player' on the pro-abortion side.

Note that the first name in the litigation title is the sole or primary plaintiff (the person or entity who initiates the lawsuit).

Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965.

This case demonstrated that Planned Parenthood has been deeply involved in the judicial re-engineering of our country's sexual ethics right from the very beginning.

Estelle T. Griswold, the executive director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, and her medical director, were convicted under an 1879 Connecticut statute that forbade counseling and advising on or prescribing birth control devices for married persons.

Griswold challenged the law, arguing that the Connecticut law was in violation of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, and an appellate court and the Supreme Court of Connecticut agreed with her. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Connecticut courts.

Griswold v. Connecticut is the most important Supreme Court decision ever made (surpassing in significance even Roe v. Wade), because it established the "right of privacy" which would be used later by numerous courts to justify both abortion and euthanasia.

In one sweeping motion, the court had transformed the concept of privacy from an aspect of the common-law right of private property the "general right of the individual to be let alone" to the new legal concept of an individual's "inviolate personality."[2]

An excerpt from the majority opinion read "But, as we have stated, neither the 14th Amendment nor any other provision of the Constitution of the United States imposes upon the states any restrictions about 'freedom of speech' or the 'liberty of silence,' nor, we may add, does it confer any right to privacy upon either persons or corporations."

In his dissent, Justice Potter Stewart reached the heart of the pro-life argument when he wrote that; "In the course of its opinion, the Court refers to no less than six amendments to the Constitution: The First, the Third, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Ninth and the 14th. But the Court does not say which of these amendments, if any, it thinks is infringed by this Connecticut law.

What provision of the Constitution, then, does make this law invalid? The Court says it is the right of privacy 'created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees.' With all due 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.

At the oral argument in this case we were told that the Connecticut law does not 'conform to current community standards.' But it is not the function of this Court to decide cases on the basis of community standards. We are here to decide cases 'agreeable to the Constitution and laws of the United States.

                                                                                   T__H__ v. Jones, July 23, 1975.

Utah law forbade the distribution of contraceptives to minors and the provision of information and advice on contraceptives to minors, without parental consent.

This regulation was challenged by an anonymous teenaged girl who had requested birth control devices from the Utah Planned Parenthood Association. She was a member of a family receiving Medicaid and Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC).

The three-judge panel of the District Court of Utah decided that the Utah parental consent requirement violated the 'right to privacy' of the minor as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Among his other arguments, the Utah State Attorney General held that it was absurd for the State to expect parents to have a legal responsibility for their children, and then ban the parents from involvement in such a sensitive issue.

Judges Ritter and Lewis, writing for the majority, stated that "If, as Roe teaches, the 14th Amendment protects a woman's right to decide whether she will terminate her pregnancy, it must also, we believe, protect her right to take measures to guard against pregnancy ... We believe that, in appropriate cases, the state's interest in enforcing parental prerogatives must yield to the fundamental rights of minors ... these youths will be aided by the mature judgment of trained [Planned Parenthood] adults before making important decisions regarding sexual conduct."

On May 24, 1976, the United States Supreme Court let stand the lower Federal court ruling.

Once again, the mythical "right to privacy" had been extended this time, to fornicating teenagers, to the delight of Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth, July 7, 1976.

Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri challenged a set of humanitarian regulations of abortion that were passed by the Missouri legislature.

These regulations, which would seem minimal to anyone but a true extremist, held that a husband or parent should be informed about a wife's or minor's abortion, and that the salt poisoning method of abortion should not be used so as to increase the preborn baby's chances of survival and to decrease its suffering.

Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri, driven by its no-compromise mentality, challenged the regulations, and were eventually vindicated by the Supreme Court.

This decision stripped fathers of any legal right whatever to protect their own preborn children. The father therefore has less of a right to protect his own child than abortion referral agents have to arrange its death, the abortionists to kill it, or the State to declare his slightest opposition unconstitutional and punishable. His relationship to his own child is deemed much less important than his relationship to a piece of property say a car stereo.

According to a national poll, more than half of all fathers including married men are not even told that their child has been aborted.[3] In one case, one father desperate to save his child filed suit to stop an abortion, and found that the only reason his wife wanted to kill their child was so that she would look good in a bikini when they went on summer vacation![4]

On the other hand, the Danforth decision enforced "mandatory fatherhood" for those men who did not want a child. In summary, a father has literally no voice whatever in the decision to have or not have a child. And this glaring and hurtful inequality is ignored by the same Neofeminists who are demanding equality themselves.

In his dissent, Justice Byron White stated that "It is truly surprising that the majority finds in the United States Constitution, as it must in order to justify the result it reaches, a rule that the State must assign a greater value to a mother's decision to cut off a potential human life by abortion than to a father's decision to let it mature into a live child."

Of course, Planned Parenthood has never cared about the rights of the father in any case. When interviewed about the rights of husbands to protect their own preborn children, Louise Tyrer, vice-president of medical affairs at Planned Parenthood, reacted in a manner typical of the utter callousness that pro-abortionists show towards any rights other than their own; "But it doesn't matter how much men scream and holler that they are being left out [of the abortion decision]. There are some things that they are never going to be able to experience fully. I say, 'tough luck.'"[5]

Planned Parenthood of Kansas City, Missouri v. Ashcroft, June 15, 1983.

A Missouri statute required that abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy be performed in a hospital; parental notification or judicial bypass for minors seeking an abortion; the presence of a second doctor at abortions performed after viability in order to preserve the life of the baby; and pathology reports for each abortion.

Planned Parenthood Association of Kansas City, Missouri, challenged these rules in court. The Supreme Court ruled that all of the requirements were constitutional except the one that stated that second-trimester abortions be performed in hospitals, because, as the Court held, such a restriction would "unreasonably infringes upon a woman's constitutional right to obtain an abortion."

Rust v. Sullivan, May 23, 1991.

This decision upheld the constitutionality of the government's decision to cut off Title X family planning funds to those organizations that promote or perform abortions. Planned Parenthood lost tens of millions of annual tax dollars due to this decision because it stated that it would rather give up this money that stop providing the "complete range of family planning services."

Planned Parenthood officials also whined that the decision would "hurt poor women." However, PP apparently loves abortion so much that it is willing to give up millions just to be able to continue killing preborn babies.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey, June 29, 1992.

Previous Abortion Control Acts.

The Pennsylvania legislature had been trying since shortly after Roe v. Wade to enact protective statutes for preborn children.

The original Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act took effect on October 10, 1974. This statute required;

• Written consent of the husband prior to an abortion;
• Parental consent for a minor's abortion;
• Reporting of the above information by abortion clinics;
• Required licensing of all abortion facilities by the State of Pennsylvania 
    Health Department;
• The definition of "viability" would mean the ability of the preborn baby to 
    live outside the mother's womb, even with artificial aids;
• No abortions after viability except to preserve the life or health of the 
• Disposal of aborted preborn babies in a dignified and humane manner;
• Abortion advertising prohibited, except in the Yellow Pages; and
• No funding for abortions except to save the life of the mother.

The law was immediately challenged by Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania and most of its meaningful controls were held unconstitutional by a three-judge federal district court in the case known as Planned Parenthood v. Fitzpatrick (401 Fed. Suppl. 554, Civil Action No. 74-2440, U.S. District Court, Eastern District, Pennsylvania, decided September 4, 1975).

The elements of the Abortion Control Act that were held unconstitutional by the federal court were the spousal and parental consent and reporting provisions, the definition of "viability," and the restriction on funding.

Significantly, Planned Parenthood argued that "menstrual extraction" is a true abortion procedure, asserting that "Under certain circumstances, the procedure known as menstrual extraction can be, and desirably is performed prior to the time when an average facility can determine with absolute certainty whether or not the patient is pregnant."

The Case At Bar.

In 1988, the Pennsylvania state legislature amended the state's 1982 Abortion Control Act. After the Supreme Court's July 1989 Webster decision, it amended the Act a second time to include several portions that had been held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its June 6, 1986 Thornberg v. ACOG ruling (described above).

After the modified Abortion Control Act was passed, five abortion clinics (including Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania) and an abortionist obtained an injunction preventing implementation of some of its provisions.

The Pennsylvania legislature amended the Abortion Control Act once again in 1989, and the plaintiffs asked the court to extend the 1988 injunction to cover the new aspects of the law. This request was granted.

Elements of the Abortion Control Act.

At issue in this case were four central components of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act. These are listed below.

Informed Consent and Waiting Period.

At least 24 hours prior to aborting, a woman must be given certain information by the abortionist or the doctor referring for the abortion. These facts include information on the development of her child, on the risks of the particular abortion procedure she would be undergoing, and the medical risks of carrying the child to term. The woman must also be told that alternatives to abortion are available. After this counseling is finished, the woman must sign a form stating that she has received the information.

These articles are not applicable if a "medical emergency" exists, or if the abortionist can show that the provision of such information would have a "severely adverse effect on the physical or mental health of the patient."

It was not surprising that Planned Parenthood opposed this section of the Pennsylvania bill, because it strives to keep women as ignorant as possible about the various aspects of the abortion procedure, particularly in the area of fetal development. The only known instance where PP has officially supported informed consent is to warn against exaggerated 'dangers' of continuing pregnancy![6]

Parental Consent.

Unemancipated minors must obtain the consent of one of their parents. In seeking this consent, the information that is required under the informed consent portion of the statute must be provided to the parent(s). A judicial bypass provision is available. As with informed consent, parental consent is not required in a "medical emergency."

Spousal Notification.

A married woman must present to the abortionist a signed statement that she has notified her husband of her decision to abort. This article is not necessary if she is pregnant by another man, if her husband could not be located after "diligent effort," if the pregnancy was the result of spousal rape that has been reported to law enforcement agencies, or if the woman believes that spousal notification will result in bodily injury to her. Once again, notification is not required in "medical emergencies."


Abortion mills must file quarterly reports with the state detailing how many abortions they performed. If the mills receive public funds, this information will be made public. For each abortion performed, the abortionist must file with the state public health department, among other items, the basis for determining the gestational age of the child, the basis of any judgment declaring a "medical emergency," and the justification for third-trimester abortions.

Higher Court Decisions.

The Federal district court judge ruled all of these articles unconstitutional, but was partially reversed by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals on October 21, 1991. The Circuit Court found all articles of the Abortion Control Act except spousal notification to be constitutional.

On June 29, 1992, the Supreme Court handed down its decision. It agreed with the Circuit Court in finding all portions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act constitutional except for the spousal notification provision.

However, the Court adopted Justice O'Connor's "undue burden" criteria, which means that states may not pass a law that creates "absolute obstacles or severe limitations on the abortion decision."

Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the genocidal Roe v. Wade decision, simpered that "Now, just when so many expected the darkness to fall, the flame has grown bright." Perhaps Blackmun was referring to the flames of the miniature abortion clinic ovens used to incinerate the sad little bodies of their victims.

Justices Sandra O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter wrote that "The woman's right to terminate her pregnancy before viability is the most central principle of Roe v. Wade. It is a rule of law and a component of liberty we cannot renounce."

Justice Souter spoke from the bench, taking the strictly utilitarian viewpoint and claiming that to overrule Roe v. Wade "would subvert the court's legitimacy beyond any reasonable question. If the court were undermined, the country would also be so ... Roe has not proven unworkable in practice."

References: Planned Parenthood Litigation.

[1] Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 1986 Federal Tax Return, Part VI, filed as Exhibit E in Planned Parenthood v. Horner, United States District Court, District of Columbia, Docket No. 88-1751.

[2] Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis. "The Right to Privacy." Harvard Law Review, December 1890.

[3] Marie Shelton. "Abortion Often Causes Guilt, Regret, Poll Finds." Sacramento Bee, March 19, 1989, page A7.

[4] In re Unborn Baby H., No. 84C01 8804JP185, slip opinion at 1-2 (Vigo County, Indiana Circuit Court, April 8, 1988).

[5] Louise Tyrer, vice-president of medical affairs at Planned Parenthood, quoted in John Leo. "Sharing the Pain of Abortion." Time Magazine, September 26, 1983, page 78.

[6] "Planned Parenthood Intensifies Attack on Motherhood." National Right to Life News, December 22, 1980, pages 1 and 3.

Further Reading: Planned Parenthood and Other Pro-Abortion Litigants.

American Civil Liberties Union. Defending the Right to Choose
This 65-page booklet, published by the fanatically pro-abortion ACLU, is essential for any pro-life organizer's library. It describes in detail the tactics that pro-aborts and clinics may use to defend against picketing and rescue missions, and also describes the limits of the rights of protesters. It is, in fact, a blueprint for pro-abortion defensive strategy. If you obtain only one book on street activism, this must be the one, because by knowing your enemy's tactics and strategy, you can avoid being taken by surprise, and you can better plan your own activities. You can pick up a copy from your local ACLU office.

Dave Andrusko (editor). A Passion for Justice
National Right to Life Committee, 419 7th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20004. 1988, 160 pages. This is one of an excellent continuing series of National Right to Life Committee books that summarize the preceding year in the courts and legislatures, and looks ahead to future years.

Judge Robert H. Bork. The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law
Free Press, 448 pages, 1989. Reviewed by United States Senator Orrin G. Hatch on pages 39 and 40 of the December 22, 1989 issue of National Review. Judge Bork touches briefly on his bitter United States Supreme Court confirmation fight and then goes on to cogently examine the basic problems involving law at the highest level in our land today. The problem he deals with most is the tendency of the Supreme Court to make law, not interpret it, depending upon prevailing social mores or the justices' desire to create these mores.

Stephen Freind. God's Children
New York: Morrow, 1987. 538 pages. A fictional story of Kevin Murray, a Pennsylvania legislator who is the statewide leader of the pro-life movement.

Judge Randall J. Hekman. Justice for the Unborn
Servant Books: Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1984. This is the personal story of a rare judge who stood up to the system by denying a 13-year old girl an abortion petition, and by doing so, stirred up a firestorm of protest from radical far-left groups and the press. Judge Hekman also reviews the inherent illegality of so-called 'legal' abortion, and examines its consequences for society.

P. McGuigan and R. Rader (editors). A Blueprint for Judicial Reform
Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, 1981. Reviewed by Lynn D. Wardle, Esq., on page 5 of the May 20, 1982 issue of National Right to Life News.

Father Edwin J. Melvin. A Nation Built On God
Our Sunday Visitor, Noll Plaza, Huntington, Indiana 46750. 1975, 223 pages. An analysis of the role of the United States Supreme Court in turning our country's path away from our Founding Father's theistic principles. A very readable and enjoyable analysis of a critically important subject.

Barbara Milbauer and Bert O. Obretz. The Law Giveth
Atheneum Press, 1983. 307 pages. Reviewed by Patrick B. McGuigan and Teresa L. Donovan on pages 7 and 9 of the November 24, 1983 issue of National Right to Life News. This book is similar to an extensive law review article on the series of Supreme Court decisions dealing with abortion until the year 1982. Unfortunately, the author's obvious pro-abortion bias causes her to sink into slogans frequently, and causes her to have a skewed theory of the law.

Richard Neely. How Courts Govern America
Yale University Press, 1981. 226 pages. Reviewed by Rita Radich, Esq., on page 5 of the May 20, 1982 issue of National Right to Life News.

Laurence H. Tribe. Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes
W.W. Norton & Company Publishers, 270 pages, 1990. Reviewed by Brian Robertson on page 48 of the July 9, 1990 issue of National Review. Laurence Tribe, the man who asserts that women "speak with their bodies" when they abort, here attempts to shore up the crumbling foundation of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. If you are a Neoliberal abortophile, then he will appear to have done a fine job. If you are any kind of Constitutional scholar, you will be fascinated at the depth of self-deception that even lawyers (especially pro-abortion lawyers) are capable of. This book provides fine insight into the 'logic' of the Neoliberal mind.

Lynn Wardle. The Abortion Privacy Doctrine
Buffalo, New York: William S. Hein and Company, 1981. 311 pages. Reviewed by Rita Radich on page 7 of the January 11, 1982 issue of National Right to Life News. The definitive study of abortion case law.

Lynn D. Wardle and Mary Anne Wood. A Lawyer Looks At Abortion
Brigham Young University Press, 1981. 209 pages. Reviewed by Gorver Rees III on pages 9 and 11 of the June 10, 1982 issue of National Right to Life News. All aspects of the abortion controversy thoroughly and lucidly explained.

Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong. The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979. A gold mine of information on the inner workings of the Supreme Court, including much revealing background on the Abortion Decisions.

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This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia published by American Life League.