Extreme Makeover: Planned Parenthood Edition
What really motivates the surrender of the "Pro-Choice" label in the abortion debate?
January 28, 2013 - 9:00 am
Planned Parenthood recently decided to jettison the “pro-choice” label. “It’s a complicated topic and one in which labels don’t reflect the complexity,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards at a press briefing earlier this month. Rather than replacing “pro-choice” with a new and improved slogan, Richards said the organization’s polling indicates a need for a more “nuanced” message rather than definitive labels. Planned Parenthood found that many of those polled rejected both the pro-choice and pro-life labels, saying their views change depending upon the situation, so the group says their new messaging reflects the shift.
In a video released with the announcement, a cartoonish Julia-type character tells us: “Most things in life aren’t simple and that includes abortion. It’s personal. It can be complicated. And for many people, it’s not a black and white issue.” (Technically, for the baby, it is a very black and white issue as far as his survival is concerned.)
After a lengthy lecture about politicians — specifically male politicians — having no business making laws about abortions, we learn that,
The next time you talk about abortion don’t let the labels box you in. Have a different conversation. A conversation that doesn’t divide but is based on mutual respect and empathy.
The video then directs viewers to Planned Parenthood Action, the political arm of Planned Parenthood. At the site we find charts with surveys purporting to demonstrate the no-label narrative and stating that most people believe abortion should be legal. In the tiny print at the bottom you can see that the polling comes from an online survey.
Also at the site, we find three “nuanced” messages from :
This is an issue beyond the ways in which we define one another. Abortion is a private health matter, plain and simple. If you think about it, abortion is about choice and life, so really the labels we’ve previously placed on this term don’t even make sense.
I think that the labels pro-choice and pro-life put people in boxes. Abortion is not a boxed-in issue, it’s a very complex issue it has a lot of different parts to it, a lot of decision making goes behind a woman deciding to have an abortion so putting a label on it is just not fair.
Roe means so many things to me. Most importantly, however, is how Roe is a symbol of progress for our nation. We need to remove the label of pro-choice and pro-abortion and move towards a notion of reproductive justice and equality.
Did you notice something that the three of these have in common?
Abortion. Abortion. Abortion.
Not one of them mentions an alternative to abortion. Which, of course, is in line with Planned Parenthood’s philosophy and practice.
Here’s what I think is behind Extreme Makeover Planned Parenthood Edition: Big Abortion and Big Money.
Planned Parenthood rakes in more than $500 million in taxpayer money every year. The “non-profit” organization reported a profit of $87.4 million in 2011-2012, in part by performing 333,964 surgical abortions. At $500 per abortion, that’s a stunning $166 million from the baby termination end of the business. They also dispense 1.4 million so-called morning-after pills, many paid for with federal Title X money. A dirty little secret of the abortion industry is that these are not reported in any abortion statistics. While some argue that these do not cause abortions, the prescribing information for the drug says that “alterations to the endometrium that may affect implantation may also contribute to efficacy.”
That means that sometimes it works by making the uterus a hostile environment for a fertilized egg. Most women who receive “Plan B” are not told they could potentially end the life of a fertilized egg, which many consider to be a human life (with its own DNA). By some accounts, Planned Parenthood makes a profit of $20 on each “emergency contraceptive kit,” resulting in a profit of more than $28 million for handing out these pills like they’re candy. In contrast, they made only 2,300 adoption referrals the same year. And prenatal services? According to LifeNews:
In 2009, Planned Parenthood reported performing 40,489 prenatal services for 7,021 prenatal clients, an average of roughly 6 services per prenatal client. Assuming an average of 6 prenatal services per client, Planned Parenthood’s current listing of 31,098 prenatal “services” could be for just over 5,000 prenatal clients. That is 5,000 prenatal clients versus well over 300,000 abortions.
The cold, hard truth is that if women stop aborting their babies, Planned Parenthood as we know it will cease to exist.
The “safe-legal-rare” crowd knows they hold the advantage in the ideological war for abortion on demand by only the thinnest string. Back in 1973, when the Supreme Court forced legalized abortion upon the country, it wasn’t difficult to convince a mother that the man coming at her with the surgical mask and a vacuum device was sucking a “blob of tissue” from her womb, because the technology did not exist to see the baby inside. But with the advent of 3-D and 4-D ultrasound imaging, almost no one denies that what’s inside is a human baby.
In a disturbing Salon piece this month, Mary Elizabeth Williams declared that debate to be essentially over. She admits we all agree that it’s a baby. The only area of disagreement that remains is whether the mother has a right to end that life:
Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.”
Still, Planned Parenthood makes every effort to shield women from this inconvenient truth. The “Stages of Pregnancy” section of their website looks like something out of a 1940s school textbook, complete with line drawings and banal descriptions like “21-22 weeks: The fetus has a CRL of about 7 inches (18–19 cm).” They also steer women away from centers that may provide more complete information— those that do not provide abortions. In a section about “Crisis Pregnancy Centers,” they claim the centers “may try to frighten you with misleading films and pictures to keep you from choosing abortion.” They work tirelessly to fight laws requiring informed consent before a woman receives an abortion.
The “War on Women” narrative succeeded in electing Barack Obama, their Patron Saint, for another four years, but this does not mean Americans favor unfettered abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Though NBC is celebrating a poll that seems to indicate widespread support for the procedure, the (oddly worded) poll actually shows that 44% of Americans favored outlawing abortions (though with exceptions). But that doesn’t tell the whole story. A recent poll of high school and college students shows that just over 22% and 26% of high school and college students, respectively, believe abortion should be legal in all circumstance.
It must strike fear in the hearts of the angry warriors at Planned Parenthood to realize that 500,000 people marched on Washington for the 40th annual March for Life, most of them students from high schools and colleges across the country.
And they see the writing on the wall as states across the country defund Planned Parenthood and other states plan to consider measures in the coming year.
A YouTube video by Kate Pickett at Time (see above) explains their fears. Pickett begins by stating: “The pro-choice movement has lost a lot of ground,” especially with changes in state laws resulting in restrictions on abortions. She also describes power struggles within the movement as younger activists clash with aging feminists:
Another problem that the pro-choice movement has is that it’s in the midst of a generational fight. A lot of the women that run the feminist and pro-choice legacy organization in America are Baby Boomers who were around when Roe v. Wade was decided. And right now there are a lot of millennial activists in their 20’s and 30’s that are fighting for power in these organizations and it’s created tension within the movement.
Picket also laments the country’s evolving views on abortion due to technological advances. As she says this, ultrasound images (circa 1980) flash on the screen behind her. They are so desperate to hide the truth!
The bottom line here is that Planned Parenthood needs to keep the abortion assembly line moving and keep the tax dollars rolling in. They’re hoping this Extreme Makeover with the new messaging, sans the divisive “pro-choice” label, is a means to that end. When abortions vastly outnumber prenatal services and adoption referrals, we know their new and improved “nuanced” approach is nothing more than spin designed to protect their business model — Big Abortion .
Planned Parenthood needs to convince women to feel good about their decisions to abort their offspring despite their internal conflicts and gnawing consciences. And they must give legislators cover as abortion becomes less popular and at the same time trick low-information voters into believing Planned Parenthood needs more taxpayer dollars to keep the doors open so they can help women who desperately need help with “adoption services.” Or something.
And they are very, very afraid of the Millennials whose footsteps echoed on the National Mall this month.
Thumbnail Image courtesy shutterstock / bullet74
Previously from Paula at PJ Lifestyle: