Faye Wattleton, who was president of Planned Parenthood from 1987 to 1992, spoke with W magazine recently about the abortion giant’s 101st anniversary Monday. Wattleton said that she “would like to think that where we have tried to lead is that we’ve tried to say that this is about liberation for women,” but also went on to emphasize “sexuality is a part of who we are as creatures, from infancy, even during gestation.”
“Interestingly, Planned Parenthood was started by a woman who wasn’t so concerned about parenthood as she was about women’s sexual and reproductive liberation,” Wattleton pointed out in the interview. “Her view was that women should be able to enjoy their sexuality as a normal part of being human, and that they should not be susceptible to unintended pregnancy as a result of not having the means to control that fertility.”
“I would like to think that where we have tried to lead is that we’ve tried to say that this is about liberation for women,” she explained, “but also, it’s really about a world in which we can make our personal choices without other people dictating those choices.”
She commented further on sexuality “people are familiar with it one way or another, whether they’re an activist or not, because it’s human.”
Wattleton then went on to argue that human sexuality begins in the fetus in order to justify a practice that stops the beating heart of that same fetus.
“It’s about human nature. It’s about the human condition. Sexuality is a part of who we are as creatures, from infancy, even during gestation,” she said. “Sexual development takes place in the development of the fetus and so it is a matter of whether we will stand against those who wish to control and regulate or whether we will continue to speak out and advance the notion that, just as other aspects of our health and the wellbeing of our lives is better advanced by being informed, by being educated, by understanding the progression that has been made in understanding how the body functions and how we relate psychologically to one another, it should be a part of that natural aspect of who we are.”
“And, you know, frankly, when people are so consumed with other people’s sexuality, I kind of find it kind of perverse,” she emphasized, “but I can tell you this: We’re all sexual, and the only question is whether we will be able to express our sexuality by an informed process and with the choices to be able to exercise our choices responsibly, or whether we will be circumscribed to another person’s value system and views as to how we should conduct our lives.”
Despite Wattleton’s concern about people being able to express their sexuality in a liberated fashion and her acknowledgement that sexuality begins during gestation, she did not go on to address whether liberation and autonomy should extend to the fetus.
In a 1997 interview with Ms. magazine, Wattleton admitted that “I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don’t know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus.”
The current president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, tends to avoid the question of whether abortion is killing and when life begins. She does echo Wattleton’s emphasis that abortion is about the woman’s choice.
She claimed once in an interview that the question of when life begins is not “relevant to the conversation” of abortion.
“For you, when does life start? When does a human being become a human being?” she was asked by Jorge Ramos.
“This is a question that I think will be debated through the centuries,” Richards said.
“But for you, what’s that point?” Ramos followed up.
“It is not something that I feel like is really part of this conversation,” she said. “I think every woman needs to make her own decision.”
“But why would it be so controversial for you to say when do you think life starts?” Ramos continued.
“I don’t know that it’s controversial. I don’t know that it’s really relevant to the conversation,” Richards said.
“I’m the mother of three children,” she finally said. “For me, life began when I delivered them.”
According to their latest annual report, Planned Parenthood did 328,348 abortions last year, translating to the termination of 899 unborn babies a day. They received a slight increase in government funding for a total of $554.6 million in taxpayer dollars.
LifeNews Note: Lauretta Brown writes for Town Hall, where this column originally appeared.