Kathryn Lopez

"Growing up, Mom always told me, 'The answer to life is yes.'"

That was Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, speaking and Barnard College's commencement last month.

Richards is the daughter of a former Texas governor, the late Ann Richards, and in her speech Cecile Richards went on to praise another feminist icon, Margaret Sanger, the mother of Planned Parenthood. In describing the "movement" Sanger gave birth to, Richards left out its eugenics-based origins and its current dark side, which give a dark irony to her life-affirming message above.

A new report from Live Action, a group that has been doing undercover investigations of Planned Parenthood clinics for six years, addresses those issues and more. Planned Parenthood clinics "committed 327,166 abortions -- about a third of the national total," from 2011-12, the report says.

The report notes Planned Parenthood's insistence on campaigning against just about every possible law that might curtail "abortion rights" in the least -- including bans on sex-selective abortions and waiting periods for the procedure. Live Action also makes the case that Planned Parenthood's ideological commitment to abortion and contraception for women and girls of all ages seems to blind the organization to the difference between "choice" and exploitation when it comes to sexually active minors.

Around the time of Richards' commencement speech, Toni Braxton, the singer of the '90s hit "Unbreak my Heart," released a memoir by that title. If you remember the song, you can recall the audible depth of her pain and despair as she sings.

So, too, in her life. Braxton describes becoming pregnant unexpectedly. She was taking an acne drug at the time, which had a warning label describing possible birth defects. She admits that while she took that "medical" excuse for an abortion, she also said she would have had the abortion even if the medication had not been a factor, describing it as a matter of "convenience." When she gave birth to a son with autism years later, she thought the autism must be punishment from God.

Braxton wrote: "In my heart, I believed I had taken a life -- an action that I thought God might one day punish me for ... My initial rage was quickly followed by another strong emotion: guilt. I knew I'd taken a life ... I believed God's payback was to give my son autism."


Kathryn Lopez

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