Margaret Sanger Awards

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The Margaret Sanger Award was an honor awarded annually by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1966 to 2015. [1] Created to honor the legacy of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, it is the Federation's highest honor. It is given to individuals to recognize excellence and leadership in the reproductive health and rights movement. Although it is identified as an annual award, it hasn't been given out and since 2015.[2]

National award recipients[edit]



The first Sanger awards were given in 1966 under four categories, Human Rights, Medicine, Leadership and Service, on the 50th anniversary of Planned Parenthood's founding. The award in human rights was presented to Martin Luther King Jr. who was unable to attend due to critical work on his Chicago Freedom Movement; his wife, Coretta Scott King, received the award on his behalf.[3] Carl G. Hartman was awarded with the award in medicine for his research that led to the discovery of basic principles of birth control methods. He was also unable to be present to receive it due to illness.[4] Betty Mary Goetting was the third person to receive the National Margaret Sanger Award for her work in promoting birth control in El Paso, Texas.[5][6] Lyndon Baines Johnson, then president, received the award in World Leadership for his "vigorous and far-sighted leadership" in implementing a national family planning policy.[7] He sent his labor secretary, Willard Wirtz, to receive it on his behalf. The final award was presented to William Draper for service in voluntary family planning, he was the only recipient who was present to receive the award.[8]


Philanthropist John D. Rockefeller III won the Sanger Award in World Leadership.[9] His recognition underscored his being instrumental in organizing the first World Population Conference as well as his founding of the Population Council.[10]


Ernest Gruening received the Margaret Sanger Award in World Leadership. At the time he was a Democratic U.S. Senator from Alaska.[8]


Hugh Mackintosh Foot, also known as Lord Caradon, was given the Margaret Sanger Award in World Leadership for his "farsighted leadership in the area of international family planning and population issues".[11] At the time, he was the British ambassador to the United Nations.[11] Lord Caradon was a well known supporter of Planned Parenthood, free contraceptives and sex education in schools.[12]



Then a Democratic U.S. Senator from Maryland, Joseph D. Tydings received the Margaret Sanger award in 1970 for "activities related to population and birth control."[13][14] Tydings was known as a strong proponent for access to reproductive health care having had introducing fifteen bills towards this goal. He also promoted gearing foreign aid to promote reproductive care access.[15]


The 1971 Margaret Sanger Award was presented to Louis M. Hellman for service in the field of voluntary family planning.[8] A physician, at the time of his receiving the award he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.[16] He was known for his actions in 1958 when he defied a ban on prescribing contraception in the New York municipal hospital system as part of a citywide campaign supported by Planned Parenthood that was successful in getting the ban repealed.[17] As deputy secretary, he continued his advocacy of access to contraceptives as well as abortion access.[17]


In 1972, Planned Parenthood awarded its former president, Alan Frank Guttmacher, with the award.


Sarah Lewit Tietze and Christopher Tietze, MD


Harriet F. Pilpel, JD


In 1975, Cass Canfield a publishing executive and rose to become Chair of the Board of Harper and Row (now HarperCollins). He was also a former chair of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.[18] He was also noted to have taken a "special interest" in advocating for a Margaret Sanger commemorative stamp from the U.S. Postal Service, realized in 1972 as the Family Planning commemorative stamp.[19]


John Rock, MD


Bernard Berelson, PhD


Julia Henderson Frederick S. Jaffe Edris Rice-Wray, MD, PhD


Alfred F. Moran Robert Packwood



Mary S. Calderone, MD Sarah Weddington, Esq.


William G. Milliken


Madame Jihan Sadat


Katharine Hepburn


Bishop Paul Moore


Guadalupe de la Vega Mechai Viravaidya


Jeannie I. Rosoff


Phil Donahue


Ann Landers Abigail Van Buren


Canadian pro-choice advocate Henry Morgentaler received the 1989 Margaret Sanger Award.[20] He was known for his successful efforts spearheading efforts to repeal Canadian laws restricting access to abortions.[20] Planned Parenthood also noted his "outstanding contributions to expanding the public's understanding of reproductive health and individual rights issues" in presenting him with the award.[20]



Mufaweza Khan


Bella Abzug


Faye Wattleton


Richard Steele, Audrey Steele Burnand, Barbara Steele Williams


Fred Sai


Jane Elizabeth Hodgson, MD


Justice Harry A. Blackmun


Louise Tyrer, MD Robin Chandler Duke


The Reverend Howard Moody



The 2000 Margaret Sanger Award went to Nafis Sadik, a physician and executive director of the United Nations Population Fund.[21] She was presented with the honor at Planned Parenthood's annual Honors Gala concluding its Annual Conference in Washington, D.C..[21] The Federation cited her efforts to increase access to family planning, first as a physician with her own practice in Pakistan, then as director of Pakistan's national family planning service and finally at the United Nations Population Fund.[21]


In 2001, Planned Parenthood presented the annual Margaret Sanger Award to actress Kathleen Turner in Dallas, Texas.[22] A statement from the organization stated that "millions of women, men and families have been affected by Kathleen Turner's advocacy for increased access to family planning."[22] It went on to cite her "extraordinary efforts" for reproductive health issues.[22] Widely recognized as one of the premier American actors in film and on the stage, Turner had chaired the Federation's Board of Advocates since 1995.[22] She had been active in promoting Planned Parenthood's Responsible Choices Action Agenda through her active appearances at numerous events nationwide, lobbying and multimedia efforts.[22]


Jane Fonda received the 2003 Margaret Sanger Award at Planned Parenthood's annual Planned Parenthood Honors: A Salute to Courage, Integrity, and Leadership gala which culminated its annual conference in Portland, Oregon.[23] Fonda received the award for her "passionate advocacy for reproductive rights and a leader in the field of teen pregnancy prevention."[23] Upon receiving her award, Fonda said she was "going to help you [Planned Parenthood] raise lots of money for your 'Power the Promise' Campaign," continuing her advocacy for reproductive rights.[24] She later went on to establish the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia the goal of which was to prevent adolescent pregnancy through training and program development.[25]


Ted Turner, Forum for Women, Law, and Development of Nepal, Kisumu Medical and Educational Trust of Kenya, and television writer and producer René Balcer for the episode The Third Horseman of the series Law and Order Criminal Intent championing reproductive rights.


Gloria Feldt


Karen Pearl and Allan Rosenfield, MD


Dolores Huerta


Kenneth C. Edelin, MD


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton



Ellen R. Malcolm


Anthony D. Romero


Philip Darney, MD, MSc and Uta Landy, PhD


Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer


Rep. Nancy Pelosi first made history in 2002 when the Democrats elected her the first woman to lead a major political party. Then, in 2007, Pelosi was elected the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House. [26]


Dr. Willie Parker[27]


  1. ^ "The Maggie Awards recognize contributions made by the media and arts that enhance the public's understanding of reproductive rights and health care issues". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  2. ^ "Planned Parenthood Quietly Cancels Their 'Margaret Sanger Award' Named After Racist Founder". MRCTV. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  3. ^ "The Afro American - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Mrs. Charles Goetting Receives Sanger Award". El Paso Herald-Post. 29 April 1966.
  6. ^ Wilson, Kim; Van Velkinburgh, Jane (2010). "Betty Mary Goetting Brought Birth Control to El Paso". Borderlands. El Paso Community College Library. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Population Planner Honored". 28 November 1971.
  9. ^ "Rockefeller 3d Wins Sanger Award". The New York Times. 9 October 1967.
  10. ^ PPFA John D. Rockefeller III, Margaret Sanger Award Winners Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine. Planned Parenthood.
  11. ^ a b "Margaret Sanger Award Presented to Lord Caradon". The New York Times. 29 October 1969.
  12. ^ "The Age - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Joseph D. Tydings papers > ArchivesUM". Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Celebrity speakers at Towson State". 29 September 1974.
  15. ^ Joseph D. Tydings, PPFA Margaret Sanger Award Winners Archived 2014-01-16 at, Planned Parenthood.
  16. ^ Schmeck Jr, Harold M. (23 January 1970). "Doctor Says Birth Pills' Effects Hint at Several Health Hazards". The New York Times.
  17. ^ a b Fowler, Glenn (25 July 1990). "Dr. Louis M. Hellman Dies at 82; A Champion of Family Planning". The New York Times.
  18. ^ "Mrs. King receives award for husband", The Afro American, May 21, 1966.
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ a b c "Dr. Henry Morgentaler, noted Canadian abortion rights crusader, to receive Planned Parenthood's 1989 Margaret Sanger Award." PR Newswire 18 Oct. 1989: 1018DC003X. General OneFile. Web. 11 Feb. 2011.
  21. ^ a b c "Planned Parenthood to Honor UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Nafis Sadik with Margaret Sanger Award March 25". U.S. Newswire. March 24, 2000. Retrieved February 12, 2011.[dead link]
  22. ^ a b c d e "Planned Parenthood to Honor Kathleen Turner with Margaret Sanger Award in Dallas on March 31." Business Wire 30 Mar. 2001: 304. General OneFile. Web. 11 Feb. 2011.
  23. ^ a b "REMINDER/Planned Parenthood Salutes Visionary Leaders in the Fight for Reproductive Freedom." Business Wire 29 Mar. 2003: 5006. General OneFile. Web. 11 Feb. 2011.
  24. ^ 'Hanoi Jane,' abortion, and Iraq. (Insider Report)." The New American 5 May 2003: 6. General OneFile. Web. 11 Feb. 2011.
  25. ^ "Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health". Emory University, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Archived from the original on 2005-11-11. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  26. ^ "The Maggie Awards recognize contributions made by the media and arts that enhance the public's understanding of reproductive rights and health care issues". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  27. ^ Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "PPFA Margaret Sanger Award Winners"