Plowboy Interview: Ira L. Neiger Looks Back at Planned Parenthood

A Plowboy Interview with Ira Neiger, the 1972 Director of Public Information for Planned Parenthood's New York City office.

| September/October 1972

Many of today's environmental problems boil down to one word: people. With no real natural predators or other checks to control our numbers, an increasingly good case can be made for viewing the species "man" as a cancer upon the face of the planet. One United Nations survey has projected that—whereas the earth's population increased about 20,000,000 annually only 40 years ago—it now accelerates by more than 72,000,000 every 12 months. That is, we are not only increasing . . . but we are frightfully increasing the rate at which we increase.  

Clearly, when confronted with such numbers, the finite platform (earth) upon which we live must begin to show alarming signs of wear and tear at some point . . . and many concerned individuals believe that point has already been reached. "Something must be done to limit population growth," they say, "especially in the areas of illegitimate and unwanted births. "  

And something is being done. Planned Parenthood is just one of the many public and private agencies that currently provide services, information and education about the population problem, contraception, abortion, vasectomy and sexuality in general. The Director of Public Information for P.P.'s New York City office is Ira L. Neiger, and Allan Richards recently visited that office to question Mr. Neiger about Planned Parenthood's work.  

How long has family planning and Planned Parenthood been in existence?

Family planning has been practiced in one way or another since man formed the first tribal units. Birth control was known and practiced in ancient African kingdoms and. in this country, among American Indian tribes before Columbus arrived. The diaphragm was developed as a birth control device in the late 19th Century and condoms have been used many, many years.

Our organization, Planned Parenthood, has existed only since the early '50s and Planned Parenthood in New York City is just five years old. Our New York City operation, however while relatively young in its current form represents an amalgamation of borough units that were here 50 years ago when Margaret Sanger was active.

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