Alan F. Guttmacher

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Alan F. Guttmacher


Planned Parenthood-World Population (U.S.)
Guttmacher, Alan F. (Alan Frank), 1898-1974


Alan Frank Guttmacher (1893-1974) was a trained obstetrician and gynecologist in Baltimore, Md. and New York City who began advocating for easier access to birth control and legalized abortion in the United States after witnessing a woman die due to a botched abortion as a medical intern. Guttmacher involved himself in Baltimore family planning groups and later became a nationally active member of the Planned Parenthood Federation after relocating to New York City to be the first Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in 1952.

Guttmacher succeeded Abraham Stone as Director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau upon his death in 1959, and was later named President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1962. As Planned Parenthood President Guttmacher built upon Stone’s contributions to the organization by publicizing the importance of family planning by in programs in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, and refocusing Planned Parenthood’s mission to tackle social problems including global overpopulation and providing health care to low-income families in the United States. He led the merger of the organization with World Population Emergency Campaign in an effort to provide voluntary family planning services to low-income communities who needed and wanted them, and to highlight the inadequacies of health care for the poor. Guttmacher also strengthened the organization’s profile in the United States by assisting the government with social policymaking during the 1960s.

Guttmacher fostered a closer relationship between the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the International Planned Parenthood Federation by promoting efforts to educate medical professionals in developing nations about the importance of using birth control to prevent overpopulation. Guttmacher traveled the world conducting educational seminars on birth control and overpopulation and lectured to college campuses in the United States on sexual health and responsibility. He authored several books and articles in his career on family planning, overpopulation, obstetrics, pregnancy, abortion, and sexual responsibility. He lectured to local Planned Parenthood affiliates on the importance of the organization’s mission and educated members on the importance of birth control programs, and appeared before several government panels advocating the legalization of abortion in the United States. Guttmacher died of leukemia in 1974.


Photograph of Alan Frank Guttmacher


Planned Parenthood-World Population (U.S.)

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Alan Frank Guttmacher papers, 1860s, 1898-1974. H MS c155. Box 20, folder 17.


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The Alan F. Guttmacher Papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine in 1975 by Mrs. Leonore Guttmacher.



Planned Parenthood-World Population (U.S.), “Alan F. Guttmacher,” OnView, accessed March 5, 2024,

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