Kathryn Lopez

What's so bad about Planned Parenthood? It's a question Americans must wonder about as they see pro-lifers protesting or praying outside clinics. And it deserves an answer because it gets to the heart of some key and contentious questions we face as a society, one that is ever creeping toward a brave new world (in many respects already living in it) as biotechnological choices propagate.

Consider that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood in her Senate runs. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, has given money to them in the past. Ann Romney, wife of the former governor of Massachusetts, another Republican, who is a fairly recent pro-life convert, once gave money to Planned Parenthood too. Democrats' associations with Planned Parenthood are no real surprise. Close ties and the support of, and for, the nation's largest abortion provider is not really a shock. On the Republican side, it's a different story. The GOP's platform is pro-life, as the party's presidential nominees tend to be. While it's no secret that Giuliani is pro-choice and Mrs. Romney is not actually a candidate herself, the recent revelations about their donations do feed into a sense that Planned Parenthood is as American as apple pie.

So what's so bad about Planned Parenthood? What is it about the organization that makes pro-lifers go wild with outrage and concern? After all, Planned Parenthood does do things other than abortion. Along with providing abortion, they provide contraception. As Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani recently explained, he gave the group money "Because Planned Parenthood makes information available. It's consistent with my position."

To anyone who does not follow Planned Parenthood headlines, that makes some sense. The rest of his answer, though, begged for further interrogating: "I disagree with (abortion), I think it is wrong." He has also said that he hates abortion. But it's not believable that someone who truly hates abortion could ever have anything nice to say about Planned Parenthood.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.