Birth Control Organizations - International Planned Parenthood Federation

History - International Planned Parenthood Federation

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) was formally founded on November 29, 1952, by a resolution of the Third International Conference on Planned Parenthood in Bombay, India. The IPPF was formed out of the provisional International Committee on Planned Parenthood (ICPP) as a permanent organization dedicated to the advancement and acceptance of family planning around the world. The original four member nations of the ICPP, the U.S., Great Britain, Sweden, and the Netherlands, were joined by national birth control organizations from West Germany, India, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Japan, which had not yet created a national federation of birth control organizations, was made an associate member. The IPPF incorporated new member nations each year and formed a regional structure in 1953. By 1961, the IPPF consisted of thirty-two members divided into four regions.

The IPPF continued to pursue the aims and objectives of the ICPP, including the collection and dissemination of information on birth control and human reproduction, population problems, and sex education, as well as furthering research, training and organizational activities in these fields. But the IPPF dedicated more of its resources to the creation of new family planning associations, and building a federation of existing organizations. The IPPF also gave greater priority to the development of an inexpensive and easily accessible contraceptive and assisted with research and testing of foam powder spermicides and the anovulant pill, among other methods. It organized and sponsored three major international conferences in 1953, 1955, and 1959, and many smaller regional conferences and seminars around the world. The Federation also published a monthly bulletin, The operating budget for the IPPF came primarily from member dues, while donors and foundations, particularly in the U.S., provided funding for the conferences and various special projects.

Margaret Sanger, who had helped to form the ICPP in 1948, was the principal force behind the decision to create a permanent federation at the Bombay conference in 1952. First appointed honorary co-president in 1952 with Lady Dhanvanthi Rama Rau of India, the IPPF council elected her president in 1953 at the 4th International Conference on Planned Parenthood in Stockholm, Sweden (Lady Dhanvanthi Rama Rau was voted chairman). When Sanger resigned as president in 1959 at the Sixth International Conference on Planned Parenthood in New Delhi, India, she was given the titles of founder and president emeritus. Beginning in 1952, Sanger also led the Western Hemisphere Region of the IPPF, serving as its president until 1955, as a member of its executive committee until the late 1950s, and a member of the council until the early 1960s.

Sanger assumed the major leadership role in the IPPF at a time when declining health greatly limited her activities. During her tenure as president a core group of IPPF officers and governing body members, including Elise Ottesen-Jensen (Sweden), Dhanvanthi Rama Rau, C. P. Blacker (England), and Vera Houghton (England) became the key decision makers, though they communicated regularly with Sanger about IPPF policy and actions. Sanger meanwhile used her energies to pursue several key goals. She sought to focus the Federation's limited resources on expanding birth control efforts in India and Japan -- two countries whose governments supported birth control measures -- and to utilize the conference forum she had developed for the 1927 World Population Congress in Geneva as the chief means of unifying the autonomous family planning members, and attracting and educating new member organizations. She also raised substantial funds for the international conferences and for the Western Hemisphere Region of the IPPF. Sanger's goal was to have government public health and welfare departments provide sustained, affordable and effective birth control services. The IPPF continues to pursue the crux of her agenda today.

Organizational Structure

Member Organizations:

By 1962, 32 organizations were federated as the IPPF. The Federation also included numerous associate members and affiliated organizations.

Member Organizations by region (including first year of membership):

Indian Ocean