Alexander Sanger to be biologically pro-life, one must be politically pro-choice
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The Albert Mohler Program
I just listened to the interview I did last week on the Albert Mohler Program which was followed by commentary from Dr. Mohler and his listeners after I had left the show. I wish I had been invited to remain and to respond to all their comments.

That said, Dr. Mohler's interview was fair, and he gave me a chance to make my points. In his commentary after the interview, Dr. Mohler said I was "honest", "brave" and "courageous" and spoke with "great clarity", and then he proceeded to call my ideas "wrong", "deeply evil" and "subversive of God's plan".

Dr. Mohler was correct that there is a collision of world views between my view and his. He also stated that there is no room for compromise.

For a contrary view, readers interested in hearing the perspective that one can be religious, and specifically Christian, and be pro-choice are urged to read Daniel C. Maguire's "Sacred Choices: The Right to Contraception and Abortion in Ten World Religions" (Minneapolis 2001).

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Recent Radio Interview
You can listen to a recent radio interview from the Albert Mohler program by clicking here and choosing between the RealAudio and MP3 formats.

(If you want, you can download the MP3 of the entire chat by right-clicking or control-clicking this link and selecting "save target as" or "download linked file as," depending on your browser.)
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Article in the Winston-Salem Journal
Here's an excerpt from a recent story in the Winston-Salem Journal by Janice Gaston (you can read the entire article by clicking here):
Anne Higgins, the mother of Margaret Sanger, died of tuberculosis at the age of 50. Sanger, a pioneer in reproductive issues, believed that the punishment her mother's body took during 18 pregnancies sapped her strength and contributed to Higgins' death.

Eleven of Higgins' children survived. Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was the sixth. She bore just three of her own. Trained as a nurse, she spent much of her life educating women about contraception and advocating the development and use of birth control.

Her grandson, Alexander Sanger of New York, took up the issue of reproductive rights during the Reagan administration. In 1984, Reagan signed an executive order that prohibited the United States from giving money to organizations overseas that promoted or performed abortions.

"As the son of two doctors, as well as the grandson of Margaret Sanger, I thought that was an outrage," Sanger said.
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Recent Interviews
Here are links for two recent radio interviews: a discussion with Kalamazoo's Gordon Evans on WMUK, and a talk on the WGBH Cambridge Forum.

Also, from an interview that ran in the Kansas City Star on August 21st:

On With Grandma's Cause

Alexander C. Sanger was in town last week, carrying on the business that his famous grandmother, Margaret Sanger, started nearly 100 years ago.

Alexander Sanger, chairman of the International Planned Parenthood Council, was in Kansas City to address a gathering to raise money for a Kansas political action committee that lobbies for reproductive freedom.

Sanger practiced law for 14 years, then ran a business for three years. About 15 years ago he decided to jump into the waters of reproductive issues on a full-time basis. He was the president of Planned Parenthood of New York City in the 1990s and wrote a book - Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century - that was published in February.

He sat down with The Star to talk about his work and reproductive issues.

Q: Tell us about the book.

A: There has been a constant stream of legislation at the state and federal level restricting a woman's access. I ask, and hopefully answer, why there should be reproductive freedom. I think it's good for humanity. It helps people reproduce successfully.

Q: Is it your position that there should be no constraints on abortion or birth control?

A: That's correct. Until the point of viability, it's a woman's decision. A young woman or man seeking birth control has to have the mental capability to make that decision. Clinics should have screening mechanisms to make sure a girl is making a mature choice. I don't think a birth date is a way to ascertain someone's ability to make that decision.

Q: Are the controversial matters of birth control and abortion close to the hearts of many people in your family?

A: My father helped his mother run (the birth control clinic she opened in Brooklyn in 1916). He is a medical doctor, but he didn't work there. He was a board member. Two of my sisters have been on the boards of local Planned Parenthood clinics. I'm the only one doing it full time.

Q: Did the issue of access to birth control and abortion come up in conversation in your childhood home?

A: Growing up, we talked about it, if not daily, very frequently. My grandmother came to visit frequently. People knew who my grandmother was, and no one had a bad word to say about her, not even the Catholic families that lived in the neighborhood.

Q: The rate of teenage pregnancy has been tumbling lately, hasn't it?

A: It's been going down since 1991. It has decreased by 25 percent or 30 percent.

Q: To what do you attribute that?

A: I think increased economic opportunity for women. They see their prospects as better. I think also improved contraceptive use, especially the injected contraceptives like Depo-Provera. There's been some success in getting both partners to use a contraceptive. And there are reports of less sexual activity. It's partly awareness of AIDS, and there have been programs encouraging young people to abstain until marriage.

The disturbing thing is there's been a rise in sexually transmitted diseases during the '90s among people of all ages, including teens. Gonorrhea and chlamydia in particular.

Abstinence-only education has been damaging because it doesn't educate young people about condom use.

Q: Did raising children - you have three grown sons - modify your attitude about sex education?

A: I became concerned that we needed even earlier sex education. We talked about it at home ad nauseam.

When we watched TV and something about sex came up, we talked about it. It seems to have worked. They are comfortable talking about sex. It reinforced my belief in parents being the primary sex educators. My wife and I were able to do that. But some parents can't. Most people, when asked, want schools to provide sex education.
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Alexander Sanger
Alexander C. Sanger, the grandson of Margaret Sanger, who founded the birth control movement over eighty years ago, is currently Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council.
Mr. Sanger previously served as the President of Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) and its international arm, The Margaret Sanger Center International (MSCI) for ten years from 1991 - 2000.

Mr. Sanger speaks around the country and the world and has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund.

Beyond Choice
Beyond Choice
The new book by Alexander Sanger published by PublicAffairs

Purchase from

Click here for full book information

With reproductive freedom in jeopardy, Alexander Sanger, grandson of renowned family planning advocate Margaret Sanger and a longtime leader in the reproductive rights movement, has taken an urgent, fresh look at the pro-choice position—and even the pro-life position—and finds them necessary, but insufficient. In Beyond Choice he offers the first major re-thinking of these positions in thirty years.

“Well researched and readable, Beyond Choice should be required reading for both pro-choice and pro-life supporters.”
—Governor Christine Todd Whitman


» Much more on Beyond Choice, including an excerpt, discussion guides, reviews
The Sanger List
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External Links
» Eugenics, Race, and Margaret sanger Revisited: Reproductive Freedom for All?
Hypatia, Indiana University Press
Recent Press
» Abortion in the Spotlight [PDF]
Tina Morlock, Oklahoma City Pioneer

» Advocate: Abortion does involve morality
Paul Swiech, The Pantagraph

» Planned Parenthood founder: Republican Party is pro-choice
Elaine Hopkins, The Journal Star

» Women's Studies seminar covers controversial topic
Jamie Smith, The Daily Vidette

» Luncheon promotes teen responsibility
Dahlia Weinstein, Rocky Mountain News
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External Links
» International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region

» UN Goodwill Ambassadors

» The Margaret Sanger Papers Project, NYU History Dept.

» When Sex Counts: Making Babies and Making Law, by Sherry Colb