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Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA): #2 High Impact Nonprofit in National Women’s Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice

November 25th, 2010 by Erinn Andrews Leave a reply »

Our #2 top nonprofit is likely more well-known to the public: Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). However, it’s not their marketing that has made them so outstanding, it’s the impact they’ve had on thousands of women across the country. Our experts cited Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s status as the go-to family planning service and policy institution in the United States. Their service, particularly to underserved populations, was cited as a marker of meaningful impact.

This is the founding story of PPFA:

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, with her sister, and a friend opened America’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York in 1916. In Sanger’s America, women cannot vote, sign contracts, have bank accounts, or divorce abusive husbands. They cannot control the number of children they have or obtain information about birth control, because in the 1870s a series of draconian measures, called the Comstock laws, made contraception illegal and declared information about family planning and contraception “obscene.”

Sanger knew the tragic toll of such ignorance. Her mother had 18 pregnancies, bore 11 children, and died in 1899 at the age of 40. Working as a nurse with immigrant families on New York’s Lower East Side, Sanger witnessed the sickness, misery, and death that result from unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion. The clinic she opened provided contraceptive advice to poor, immigrant women, some of whom line up hours before the doors open. Police raided the clinic and all three women were convicted of disseminating birth control information.

Undaunted, Sanger found The Birth Control Review, the first scientific journal devoted to contraception. She also appealed her conviction, which lead to a new, liberalized interpretation of New York’s anti-contraception statute. In 1923, Sanger opened the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in Manhattan to provide contraceptive devices to women and collect accurate statistics to prove their safety and long-term effectiveness. That same year, Sanger incorporated the American Birth Control League, an ambitious new organization that embraced the global issues of world population growth, disarmament, and world famine. The two organizations subsequently merged, and later became Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA®).

(To learn more, visit:

Read more reviews from women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice experts here to learn more about the great work PPFA is doing.


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