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Planned Parenthood’s Abortion Empire

by | Feb 22, 2013

By Carol Tobias, President
National Right to Life

Editor’s note. You can listen to Carol each day, Monday through Friday, on Pro-Life Perspective.

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

It may surprise some people, but there was a time when Planned Parenthood actually took an official position opposing abortion. A 1963 pamphlet said that “An abortion kills the life of the baby after it has begun.”

But in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood has used activism and legal challenges to protect and promote unrestricted abortion for any reason.

Planned Parenthood, a marketing genius, has always devoted a great deal of money, time, and energy to defending its message. Over the years, it has tried different strategies, sometimes trying to capitalize on the tenor of the times, other times appealing to different audiences.

Early on, it tried to shoehorn its defense of abortion into its whole “better world through birth control” agenda, arguing that abortion was essential to help protect poor women from “excessive childbearing.” Some of that same theme can be found in today’s arguments, made by Planned Parenthood and its allies, that every dollar spent on “family planning” saves the taxpayers nearly four dollars in spending on medical care, welfare benefits, and social services that would go to women getting pregnant and giving birth.

Appeals to “choice” and “the right to choose” dropped mention of abortion entirely and tried to make the issue one of personal freedom. What abortion was about or what happened during an abortion was, conveniently, never brought up. In one advertisement from 1985, Planned Parenthood tried to argue that “At the most basic level, the abortion issue is not really about abortion. It is about the value of women in society.”

Sometimes several of these themes are blended together, as they were in the last election, equating challenges on Planned Parenthood’s funding and its abortion agenda with attacks on “women’s health.”

Its latest theme, “Care. No matter what,” serves to push its identity as a health care provider and its concern for women while at the same time signaling its resolution against its critics. None of this self promotion changes the fact that Planned Parenthood offers a limited range of “services” (for example, it offers prenatal care or referrals to adoption services to a relative handful of patients, and the “breast exams” it touts are manual–Planned Parenthood clinics don’t offer mammography), but keeps trying to expand its profitable abortion business.

Some have made much of the closing of clinics and the dissolution of Planned Parenthood affiliates in recent years. While it is a good thing when Planned Parenthood closes a killing center in any community, a more careful examination shows that something more nefarious may be going on.

In the last decade or so, Planned Parenthood has undergone a massive restructuring, closing unprofitable clinics, cutting expensive middle management, merging underperforming affiliates with larger, more aggressive ones. But in the place of older, smaller clinics with limited services (that is, ones that do not perform abortions), it has been building giant mega-clinics with large waiting rooms and multiple exam rooms, the sort of facilities required for processing large numbers of abortion patients.

Though presented as an effort to “standardize services,” a mandate from the national office that all Planned Parenthood affiliates have at least one abortion-performing center by the end of 2012 makes abortion’s critical contribution to the organization’s bottom line and its centrality to Planned Parenthood’s mission all the more apparent.

Planned Parenthood started small, the vision of one woman, Margaret Sanger. PPFA has finessed its founder’s many unattractive comments, including her fondness for eugenics, acting as if (should its own publicity be believed) it only backed into abortion to address an unmet “health” need.

But now, 40 years later, Planned Parenthood has become an abortion behemoth, the nation’s largest abortion chain, seeking to further expand its reach and revenues, and the lead player in a campaign to normalize the killing of children, to make it an accepted medical service and a standard offering of government-supported heath care.

When you think “Planned Parenthood,” think “abortion.” It’s clear that it does.

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Categories: PPFA