Communications Department

A Day of Reckoning for PPFA?

Feb 27, 2011 | 02-February 2011 NRL News

NRL News
Page 2
February 2011
Volume 38
Issue 2


A Day of Reckoning for PPFA?

By Dave Andrusko

Round One: On February 19, the House voted to cut off all federal funds to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and 102 named affiliates. That it was only Round One did not make this victory any less sweet.

The strongly affirmative vote was a testimony to the dogged persistence of a lot of veteran pro-lifers in the House, including the author of the Pence Amendment, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. But without your support—in helping elect a pro-life majority in the House and in making certain that you contacted your House member—PPFA would have fended off what it so richly deserves.

What does this vote—first step that it is—nonetheless tell us?

First, that after years and years of smooth sailing, PPFA has hit a very, very rough patch of water. But unlike what it so loudly laments, no one steered it in that direction; the actions of its own affiliates are causing the ship to take on water.

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson was blunt, but absolutely accurate: “Recent media reports regarding abuses associated with PPFA-affiliated clinics in multiple states provide additional justifications for the amendment. The allegations regarding abuses, uncovered by independent journalists posing as sex traffickers, have received substantial coverage in mainstream news media in recent weeks, including in the New York Times.”

And because of this scandal—in addition to all the reasons I am about to enumerate—PPFA’s previously unblemished public profile is taking a ferocious beating. Protected for decades by an unholy alliance of the media, scads of elected officials, and almost all of the largest philanthropic organizations, PPFA is not accustomed to an honest reckoning, which must make its lightning-quick descent all the more puzzling and infuriating. So, what happened to make possible what would have seemed imaginable a year ago—a 240–185 vote to deny all forms of federal funds to PPFA and its affiliates?

While it did not begin with the enormous pro-life gains made last November, clearly the sizable increases in strength in Congress and many state legislatures accelerated the process. November 2 delivered a strong and unmistakable message: no longer was it going to be business as usual.

But beyond this imperative, a wider public was and is beginning to learn what Mike Pence and Chris Smith and Joe Pitts and so many other pro-life Republicans already knew. When it comes to PPFA, what you see (in the media) is definitely not what women get.

Let me list just three of the many inroads into the myth of PPFA as a “woman-helping” medical service that helped to make possible what was the first of hopefully many pro-life victories.

Let’s begin with a book by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood “employee of the year,” titled unPlanned. When I read it, I immediately thought of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who passed away in February.

Like Nathanson, Johnson was an abortion industry insider. While Johnson never performed abortions and Nathanson “presided over” 75,000 abortions, both were drawn out the darkness and into the light by the mesmerizing power of ultrasounds. You cannot read Johnson’s account of her very reluctant involvement in an ultrasound-guided abortion and not think of Nathanson’s agenda-changing video, The Silent Scream.

In a 1984 interview, Nathanson told me that his video for the first time showed abortion “from the victim’s vantage point.” He spoke of how “long before the [abortionist’s] instrument has touched the child, the child is aware that there has been an invasion of the sanctuary. … You can see this on the film; the moment the tip of the suction machine starts to move, the fetus knows it and starts to scuttle to the top of the uterus. You can see its mouth open in a silent scream.”

Johnson was a party to the abortion of a 13-week-old baby, holding the ultrasound probe. She was horrified by what she witnessed.

With my eyes glued to the image of this perfectly formed baby, I watched as a new image emerged on the video screen,” she writes. “The cannula, a straw-shaped instrument attached to the end of the suction tube, had been inserted into the uterus and was nearing the baby’s side. It looked like an invader on the screen: out of place, wrong. It just looked wrong.”

As the cannula pressed in, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away,” Johnson writes. “It seemed clear to me that the fetus could feel the cannula, and it did not like the feeling. And then the doctor’s voice broke through, startling me: ‘Beam me up, Scotty,’ the abortionist said lightheartedly to the nurse. He was telling her to turn on the suction, in an abortion the suction isn’t turned on until the doctor feels he has the cannula in exactly the right place.”

After a long journey, which she brilliantly details in unPlanned, Johnson left the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas. She now works for the pro-life organization, Live Action, which also played a key role in current Planned Parenthood saga.

We’ve written about Live Action and its president, Lila Rose, on our blogs. It is nearly impossible not to be staggered by what members of the group, posing as a pimp and a prostitute, have reported. To take just two examples, when they asked a New Jersey PPFA office manager what should they do if one of the young girls they pretended to be using as sex slaves needs an abortion, they were allegedly told to take them to Metropolitan Medical Associates where “their protocols aren’t as strict as ours and they don’t get audited the same way that we do.” Back in 2009 Liz Townsend wrote a story for National Right to Life News headlined, “Abortion Mill Settles Lawsuit with Injured Woman” for $1.9 million. The headline refers to Metropolitan Medical Associates.

Then there was Virginia. “Planned Parenthood’s problems go far beyond New Jersey,” Rose wrote. “Our new video shows their Richmond clinic willing to aid and abet the sexual exploitation of minors and coaching a pimp about how girls as young as 14-15 could circumvent parental consent laws for secret abortions. Watch the video–the clinic worker admits they do this ‘once or twice a month.’”

There is much, much more, but as we look to the future I will conclude with another example of the abortion industry’s behavior that we hope will turn public opinion against the death peddlers even more resolutely. For weeks we have posted entries at our National Right to Life News Today blog about the stomach-turning narrative of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, charged with eight counts of murder ( There is more in this edition—Abortionist Kermit Gosnell and His ‘Pro-Choice Enablers’” on page two and the excerpts from the 261-page grand jury report on page 11.

Unless you read the report you can’t even begin to understand how sleazy and filthy Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society was; how dangerous it was to women (two died); the unbelievable agony that huge aborted babies born alive would endure when their spinal cords were slit; or how the grand jury “discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.”

Gosnell, who joked about their size, allegedly killed the babies aborted alive by using scissors to cut into the neck and severing their spinal cord, a process he called “snipping.” When the grand jury asked medical experts about this, “one said: ‘it would be the same as putting a pillow over the baby’s face that the intention would be to kill the baby.’ Another likened the practice of severing babies’ spinal cords to pithing frogs in biology class.”

Granted, Gosnell didn’t work for PPFA, although when an inspector for the National Abortion Federation visited Gosnell’s clinic and found multiple violations, the grand jury reported that she “never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.” In light of what Live Action reported and what Abby Johnson made public after eight years working at a PPFA clinic, should anyone be surprised if the public grows even more unwilling to fund the “largest abortion provider” in the world?

As I wrote the day of the House vote, “I understand that it’s true that this is only Round One. But it is no less true that this is the first time we have ever been able to get in the ring.”

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