Planned Parenthood and its cheerleaders have long claimed they want abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.”
Let’s examine the recent evidence. Do they promote things that make abortion “safe, legal, and rare” or do they actually support dangerous practices, ignore legal restrictions, and make decisions likely to increase the rate of abortion?
For years, Planned Parenthood aficionados terrified young women with horrific tales of coat hangers, merciless profiteers, and “back-alley abortions.” They demanded limitless, universal access to abortion, proclaiming that this quick-and-easy way to eliminate one’s unwanted offspring was essential for the health and safety of women.
So what gives? This summer the Missouri Legislature – an entity charged with acting in the interest of its citizens – passed Senate Bill 370 to protect women’s health and safety. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Matt Blunt.
You’d think Planned Parenthood – which says it wants abortion to be “safe” for women – would applaud the new law. Its provisions require abortion clinics to be held to the same kinds of standards for cleanliness and safety required of other surgical facilities, so that a woman suffering the gruesome misery of an abortion at least has the same standard of care as she would for a tonsillectomy. The legislature after hearing a LOT of testimony understood that abortion of any kind, but especially one in the latter stages of pregnancy, can be an intrusive, even dangerous “procedure”—one that by its very nature has risks associated with it (not to mention what’s intended for the unborn child). And Planned Parenthood knows that the surprise complications of even the most “simple” abortions can quickly endanger the health, even the life, of the mother.
But rather than applauding and supporting this effort to increase health protection for their clients, Planned Parenthood asked a federal judge to strike down the law--to overturn the health and safety requirements--apparently because more safety means lower profits for abortionists.
Planned Parenthood also asserts that since some of their clinics mostly issue the abortion-performing drug mifepristone, they don’t need to follow the law either. In making this argument, they ignore FDA evidence that such chemical abortions may require surgical intervention – sometimes on an emergency basis – and for one out of every 12 women in clinical trials. A 2005 report showed 607 “adverse events” related to the abortion drug over a four-year period, including 237 cases of hemorrhage, 68 which required transfusions, and 42 characterized as life-threatening.
Planned Parenthood complains that enhanced health and safety would require some clinics to close while being retrofitted to standard. (Can you imagine a restaurant chain refusing to take time out from serving food to correct flagrant health code violations? Or a manufacturer refusing to retrofit its plants to install mandated equipment in their automobiles because doing so is too expensive?) And while bemoaning its potential loss in profits, Planned Parenthood is silent about its national gross income of nearly $900 million during 2005-2006, which yielded a tidy $63 million profit. They also fail to mention the $3.9 billion in taxpayer money they have received since 1987. Their spokesperson estimated that upgrading a heavily used surgical abortion clinic in Columbia, Missouri, to the 2007 standards would only cost $600,000.
While Planned Parenthood publicly talks about safety, it privately rolls the dice with women’s lives. This evidence suggests their greed for green trumps their supposed desire to make abortion “safer” for women.
Every state requires healthcare workers to report suspected child abuse – including statutory rape – to authorities. Planned Parenthood seems to consistently demonstrate flagrant disregard for these legal protections. Recently in California, 18-year-old investigative journalist Lila Rose took a hidden camera to an abortion facility. Posing as a 15-year-old, she explained she had been impregnated by her 23-year-old boyfriend, a clear case of statutory rape. A staff member suggested a way to cover-up the rape, saying, “You could say 16.... Just figure out a birth date that works. And I don't know anything.” When the worker’s comments were posted on the Internet, Planned Parenthood responded swiftly to cover up their employee’s actions by threatening to sue Lila for recording the conversation.
In Ohio, a 21-year-old high school teacher and soccer coach who seduced and impregnated a 13-year-old girl transported her to Planned Parenthood, where he claimed to be the girl’s stepbrother. Planned Parenthood aborted the girl’s child, gave her a shot of Depo-Provera, and sent her home with free condoms for potential use in her next round of sexual activity. When the girl’s parents sued Planned Parenthood for this outrage, the organization again seemed more concerned with erecting an iron veil of self-protecting privacy than addressing the safety of children.
In earlier years, Planned Parenthood has sued to strike other states’ efforts to protect women by limiting surgical abortion to licensed physicians, has fought other efforts to discover suspected child abuse, and has marketed what were rated as the “poorest performing” condoms, all in the name of women’s health and safety.
Oh yes, the condoms. An independent study by Consumers Union, as reported in Consumer Reports magazine, February 2005, evaluated the performance of 23 kinds of latex condoms. Three of Planned Parenthood’s condoms were tested, finishing 14th, 22nd, and 23rd. The condoms ranked 22nd and 23rd were the only condoms in the entire study rated “poor.” Planned Parenthood’s response was to promise immediate improvements to its products, saying, “…we will soon offer Honeydew condoms in a new package and color as a result of this feedback.”
The year 2006 was Planned Parenthood’s best year yet – they made a record $104 million from 244,628 abortions. Why would the nation’s largest abortion provider, which fights every effort to teach children abstinence and obtains more than one-third of its annual clinic income from abortions, market such lousy condoms? Why would an organization which seeks to advance the health and safety of women fight off efforts to investigate cases of rape and child abuse? And why would they fight Missouri’s commonsense regulations to enhance the health and safety of their patients?
Are Planned Parenthood’s efforts making abortion “safe, legal, and rare?” Or are their efforts making abortion “greener”? Not the green of environmental safety, mind you, but the green of cold, hard cash. And that green comes from another color – the color of red, which flows from those whose lives, health, and safety Planned Parenthood is fighting against in Missouri.