Birth Control Organizations - World Population Emergency Campaign

World Population Emergency Campaign - History

The World Population Emergency Campaign (WPEC), a private organization administered by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), was set up for the purpose of alerting Americans to the danger of the "world population explosion" and raising money for international birth control programs. Its founding conference held on March 20, 1960 in Princeton, N. J. was organized by Hugh Moore, founder of the Dixie Cup Corporation and an IPPF council member, and by General William H. Draper Jr., whose well-publicized 1959 presidential report recommended that the federal government assist nations seeking to control their population growth.

With the use of the slogan, "Not just another cause, but the problem of our time," WPEC worked to publicize the potential perils arising from rapid world population growth. Through advertisements in the New York Times, meetings with business leaders in various cities, and mass mailings signed respectively by Margaret Sanger and novelist, James A. Michener, WPEC also worked to raise funds for IPPF--Western Hemisphere Region projects. Through the IPPF--Western Hemisphere Region's Allocation Committee, the WPEC funds were distributed to such organizations as the Family Planning Association of India for a mobile field clinic; the IPPF Far Eastern Region for the training of Indonesian doctors; and the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau in New York City for free distribution abroad of birth control literature and devices.

Margaret Sanger was not involved with the daily activities of the WPEC; rather her primary role was as a fund-raiser. In addition to lending her name to its mass mailings, she counseled the leadership of WPEC on fund-raising strategies and public relations. Drafts of proposed form letters reveal her efforts to diminish the WPEC's attempts to appeal to Americans' fears of "communist exploitation" in overpopulated countries. WPEC's largest fund-raising event was the Margaret Sanger World Tribute held in New York City on May 11-12, 1961, the 45th anniversary of Sanger's opening of the Brownsville Clinic. With this conference and dinner chaired by Sir Julian Huxley, the Tribute fund immediately exceeded its $100,000 goal. Sanger's attendance was her last major public appearance.

WPEC operated independently for just over a year before it agreed to a merger with the Planned Parenthood Federation ofAmerica (PPFA) in the fall of 1961. Although the PPFA added WPEC to its name and invited Campaign members to serve on its board, the merger had little effect on PPFA operations, save that it increased the funds available for PPFA's international efforts in conjunction with IPPF. It was, however, a short-lived enterprise; by 1963, PPFA dropped WPEC from its official name.

Organizational Structures and Committees

Margaret Sanger Tribute Committee:

Consisted of Steering Committee members who organized the World Tribute to honor Sanger in 1961.

National Committee:

Composed of the original members of the Steering Committee along with prominent donors.

Projects Committee (Projects and Allocations Committee):

Comprised of members of the Steering Committee, the Projects Committee evaluated requests for funds submitted to the WPEC before they were brought before the Steering Committee.

Steering Committee:

Consisted of a chair, 3 vice-chairs, a treasurer, and a secretary. The Steering Committee oversaw the operation of WPEC, and was primarily concerned with fund-raising and public relations.

Other committees included Budget and Finance and Fund-raising.

WPEC Officers and Committee Members