About the Guttmacher Institute

The Guttmacher Institute was founded in 1968 by Frederick S. Jaffe as the Center for Family Planning Program Development, a semi-autonomous division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Jaffe served as director of the institute, which was later renamed in honor of former Planned Parenthood president Alan F. Guttmacher, who had helped develop the institute.

Jaffe, the 1978 winner of Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger award, had also served as vice president of Planned Parenthood and worked on biology and population policy for the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. Jaffe is said to have “argued that institutions and people can learn the principles of scientific theory and that scientific theory should be used to enhance social policy.” Jaffe was raised in New York City and received an economics degree from Queens College.

In 1969, Jaffe reportedly contributed to the research behind the article “Beyond Family Planning” by Bernard Berelson of The Population Council. It was the “Jaffe Memo” that is said to have outlined the policy proposals listed in Berelson’s article.

The thesis of Berelson’s article rests on the propositions that, “(1) among the great problems on the world agenda is the population problem; (2) that problem is most urgent in the developing countries where rapid population growth retards social and economic development; (3) there is a time penalty on the problem in the sense that, other things equal, anything not done sooner may be harder to do later, due to increased numbers; and accordingly (4) everything that can be properly done to lower population growth rates should be done, now.”

Proposals that Berelson suggested include “extensions of voluntary fertility control,” “establishment of involuntary control” (including “Mass use of ‘fertility control agent’ by government to regulate births to acceptable level” and “temporary sterilization of all girls via time-capsule contraceptives”), “intensified educational campaigns” (including population as well as sex education, incentives for childless couples, and “promotion or requirement of female participation in labor force (outside home) to provide role and interests alternative or supplementary to marriage”), “shifts in economic and social institutions,” and “tax and welfare benefits and penalties”.

In 1970, Jaffe argued, “We would advocate education about sexuality and fertility control in all the appropriate places, including the schools, the homes, the churches, the youth groups, the community groups. And that kind of education has to be paid for the way all other kind of education is paid for in our society.”

In 1977, the Guttmacher Institute broke off from Planned Parenthood “because some foundations would not fund an entity linked with Planned Parenthood.” In 2010, President and CEO Sharon L. Camp referred to this as “the divorce that didn’t work,” because they remained affiliated with Planned Parenthood until “the last four or five years.”

But the Guttmacher institute has continued to be strongly linked to Planned Parenthood, receiving millions of dollars from the federation over several years as an “Independent Affiliated Organization”.

In 2010, the Guttmacher Institute received a total of $190,000 from the United Nations Foundation.