Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, is in the news again. This time she is citing an increase in women wanting Intra Uterine Devices (IUDs). Richards stated in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour:
We’ve had a 900% increase in women trying to get into Planned Parenthood to get an IUD because they are desperately concerned that they might lose their access to health care and they know Planned Parenthood is the place that can provide it.
Such inquiries supposedly stem from Donald Trump’s statements about ending ObamaCare and the push from many Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood. The real problem, however, is found in Richards’ statement.
She used an unverifiable and misleading number
A number like 900% is suspicious and calls for further clarification. What services is Richards referring to? Phone calls, online searches, consultations, or the actual insertion of an IUD? No one knows because Amanpour never asked. And how does this increase compare with end-of-year numbers from previous years, when many strive to use up their insurance benefits before the New Year and a potentially new plan? Out of context, this number is insufficient.
This is not the first time Planned Parenthood has fudged the numbers. As the group Life Action reveals, the statistic of abortions only accounting for three percent of their actual services is misleading. Their math calculates services rendered rather than the reason a woman went to Planned Parenthood, which skews the numbers significantly. For example, a woman who calls Planned Parenthood for an abortion would also have available a pregnancy test, STI test, birth control consultation, pap test, and breast exam. While abortion was the reason she visited, the numbers generated suggest five other services, thus rendering abortion a mere 1/6 of the services provided for this woman.
This math would equate to the NFL trying to convince us that because they had only 256 games last season and sold five million hot dogs football only accounts for .005% of what the NFL does. If the NFL tried to pull this math on us, we would call it what it is—ludicrous! We all know the NFL is about football games, not hot dogs. Planned Parenthood seems to think we are dumb enough to fall for their tactics.
The fear-mongering started with Planned Parenthood
This panic seems to have been generated from Cecile Richards herself. CBS News quoted Richards in November stating her doomsday perspective on birth control and our country:
There are almost no words to capture the threat that this election result poses to our democracy, to our economic security, to access to reproductive health care and most especially to the safety and dignity of people of color.
Apparently, one presidential election can ruin the availability of birth control, which would send our country into a racist tailspin (ironic, when you know that Planned Parenthood was founded by a racist who openly talked about her desire to control the procreation of black women). Richards’ statements were the frontrunner of the panic that hit Twitter and encouraged women to pursue IUDs immediately.
Free contraception is not a guaranteed right
Women were never promised free birth control before the Affordable Care Act was passed. Before 2010, women just paid for their birth control and no one threw a fit about it being a constitutional right the Founding Fathers denied them. I appreciate a freebie as much as the next person, but there is no such thing as free contraception. The reality is that someone is footing the bill for the 55 million women Richards cites as now having access to “preventive care with no copay and no cost.” That “no cost” should be labeled “no cost to them,” as taxpayers are picking up the bill for this family planning.
To some people, IUDs are equivalent to abortions
To anyone who believes that life begins at conception (the moment a sperm unites with an egg, known as fertilization), any device or hormone that interferes with the fertilized egg safely implanting in the uterus is considered an abortifacient which causes an abortion. While the medical community brushes over what exactly happens to prevent pregnancy, those who have done their research on the topic know that not all birth control methods accomplish the same function. Barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms) prevent pregnancy by keeping sperm from getting to the egg. Barrier methods are considered slightly less effective because there is room for user error and there is no failsafe if a sperm gets around the barrier used. Hormonal birth control takes on many forms (shot, patch, implant, pill, IUD), but all use hormones to prevent pregnancy. Science cannot tell us exactly how these hormones prevent pregnancy, but they have narrowed it down to three functions:
- Stop the body from ovulating
- Change cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to reach the egg
- Change the lining of the uterus so the fertilized egg will not implant
That last one is what makes these methods potential abortifacients.
An IUD works in the same way (described by the manufacturer Mirena here). A few years ago IUDs were one of the reasons Hobby Lobby went to court over the government’s new mandate that employers cover the cost of birth control for their employees. The medical field has decided that a pregnancy begins after implantation. One has to wonder why implantation makes a pregnancy real, and not the moment when a fertilized egg has its own, unique to the child, DNA, when hair color, eye color, and skin tone are all genetically predetermined and irreversible—all of which happens at the moment of conception. And yet my tax dollars pay for women to use these abortifacients because of an arbitrarily assigned definition.
Please do your research before rushing to Planned Parenthood for your limited-time-only free IUD. We need to push for a better answer to what a 900% increase really is and demand numbers that add up, especially if this deceptive organization wants to continue using tax dollars. There is momentum in both directions of the abortion debate, but we cannot let opposition and fabricated numbers stop us from defending what is right.