Men in the Movement: Stories of Celebration

Alexander Sanger, Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council

Men. Who needs them, right? After all, who created all these laws and strictures against sexual and reproductive rights? Men. The men in churches and the men on thrones and the men in the legislatures and courts. Saint Augustine. Saint Thomas Aquinas. Martin Luther. Anthony Comstock. All of them were men. (Let’s skip over Queen Victoria and Indira Gandhi for a moment, so that I can have my Manichean Moment.)

But wait. Who undid these medieval laws? Men in churches and on thrones and in the legislatures and courts. George H. W. Bush, as a Congressman, introduced the National Family Planning Act, and in 1970, Richard Nixon signed it into law. Nine men on the US Supreme Court overturned the Connecticut Comstock Law in the Griswold decision, and they followed it up with Roe v. Wade.

Now, before we men get too haughty, let us remember that we also have the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney in our ranks, pledging to rid the country of Planned Parenthood. But we can’t forget their female fellow travelers either, like Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, who are trying to do the same. It would be so much simpler if the gals were good and the guys were bad – but it's not that simple and never has been.

So, in honor of Father's Day, IPPF/WHR is kicking off a month-long social media series—Men in the Movement—to celebrate the men whose support, guidance, and commitment to social justice is helping to build a better world.

We asked our colleagues, allies, and supporters to submit stories and partnered with Role/Reboot to share a few that have been published there. This series is an acknowledgement of the fathers, best friends, colleagues, and mentors whose passion and partnership has made a lasting impact on our lives and in our world.

This month, we hope you are inspired by the stories we share. And if reading the series makes you want to tell us about an admirable guy in your life, post your story as a comment on our Facebook page!

Follow us on Twitter (@IPPF_WHR) and use the hashtag #MITM12 to find the latest additions to the Men in the Movement series.

Women Who Inspire Change


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