In its most recent annual report, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America makes two
fundamental claims, both of which are directly relevant to the question involving continued
government funding for its services, approximately $555 million in the fiscal year ending
June 30, 2016.1 These claims are:
• First, that Planned Parenthood health centers are… Continue Reading
Published by the Wall Street Journal on July 6th, 2017
By J.J. Hanson
Aggressive brain cancer is trying to end my life. The best doctors in the world are racing to find a cure. Meanwhile, legislation promoting assisted suicide all over the nation would dismantle essential protections and care on which I, and so many others, depend as we fight terminal illnesses. Bills that would legalize or expand assisted suicide have been introduced in 29 states.
Three years ago, I was living the American dream. I was happily married, our son had just turned 1, and I had a job I loved. My life changed in an instant. I had a grand mal seizure at work and went to the hospital. Doctors ran tests, including a CT scan, but could not find anything wrong. As they were preparing to send me home, my wife demanded an MRI.
That’s when they found the cancer—grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme. The neurosurgeon told me it was inoperable; my prognosis was four months to live. Three doctors told me there was nothing they could do. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation rarely work on this type of brain cancer.
I’m a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Iraq. I’ve been through a lot in my life and always resolved never to give up, but there was a moment after my diagnosis when I felt despair. In that moment, had assisted suicide been an option, I might have taken it. With my family’s support, I came through that depression. But not everyone is lucky enough to have that kind of support.
So despite the doctors’ pessimistic prognosis, I pursued standard and experimental treatments. I knew doctors weren’t always right and I was going to fight for every moment of life I had left. That was three years ago. Today our second child is on the way.
Sadly, too many others—thrown into clinical depression by a grim prognosis, illness-induced disability or fears of being a burden—lose hope and become willing to take their own lives. A study conducted in Oregon in 2006 found 25% of patients requesting assisted suicide were depressed, and several of them went on to receive the lethal medication.
Legislation being pushed throughout the country promotes assisted suicide for cases like mine. Instead of providing support and working to make life more comfortable, this legislation would encourage victims to choose the least expensive option—death. We cannot trust insurance companies, which are profit-driven businesses, to continue offering quality care to terminally ill patients. They will choose the cheaper option every time.
I’ve seen the danger of assisted suicide, and that is what moved me to dedicate the last year and a half to fighting assisted-suicide legislation across the country with the Patients Rights Action Fund. If suicide becomes a normal medical treatment for terminally ill patients, lives will be tragically shortened, as patients who might have outlived their prognoses by months or even years kill themselves prematurely.
Mr. Hanson is president of the Patients Rights Action Fund.
Live Action News
By Cassie Fiano
A Philadelphia-based theater company is planning to stage a musical comedy about abortion — but while the production is still weeks away from its debut, it is running into some serious obstacles. Lightning Rod Special, led by co-director Alice Yorke, has notified local media of their upcoming show that will debut in August at the Painted Bride Art Center. But while Yorke insists this isn’t about “pro-choice propaganda,” there’s no mistaking what the message of this show is meant to be.
Ideas for the show include an “irate gun-toting fetus running around and shouting about how it would kill anyone who tried to hurt it,” and “a Busby Berkeley-inspired song-and-dance kick-line of fetuses,” although Yorke has said she isn’t sure what will be included in the final version of the show. Yorke also said that they have struggled to come up with a name for the show, which is still — despite being just weeks away from its debut — untitled. “We were going with ‘Fetus Chorus,’” Yorke said. “But there were a lot of mixed feelings about it. The best comment we got was, ‘I understand you want to provoke your audience, but do you want to do that in the theater or before they even get there?’”
Other titles under consideration are “The A Word,” “Baby Girl,” “Monster,” “Mine,” and “Wanted.”
Oddly, Yorke tries to argue that this is a play about personhood. “We’re definitely, as makers, on one side,” she said. “But we’re trying to ride a funny line. This isn’t self-congratulatory. I want us to examine why we feel this way. I want people to reckon with themselves. This is a show about personhood, the right to bodily autonomy, and the violence of the partisan politics that surrounds this issue.”
But if the show is about personhood and bodily autonomy, then abortion should be presented as a negative. After all, preborn baby is a human being — science has shown us that beyond the shadow of a doubt — and they have a right to bodily autonomy as well, and more importantly, the right to life.
The show has other obstacles to overcome besides trying to find a title and working out the plot kinks. Yorke admitted that funding was a major issue. “We were basically rejected for every grant that we applied for,” she said. “Even good, liberal granting foundations. Everybody is just so, so afraid to talk about abortion.” They did eventually get a small amount of funding, but evidently fail to realize why so few organizations want to fund an “abortion comedy.” It’s not because people are afraid to talk about abortion — it’s because, even among those who call themselves “pro-choice,” abortion is simply not something that is funny or comedic or light-hearted.
Hollywood has tried this tactic already. The movie “Obvious Child” was billed as the first-ever romantic comedy to revolve around abortion. While pro-abortion feminists enthusiastically applauded the movie, moviegoers didn’t. “Obvious Child” flopped at the box office, even as an independent limited-release film.
The reality is that people are simply not interested in seeing abortion, which takes the life of a preborn human being, trivialized, mocked, or laughed at. A woman feeling that she has no choice but to undergo an abortion does not make for lighthearted comedy. And creating movies and musicals designed to intentionally be offensive is hardly going to endear people towards keeping abortion legal.
Rape, Incest, and Abortion: Searching Beyond the Myths
Editor’s Note: Please see Fact #6: Poverty, rape, disability, or “unwantedness” do not morally justify abortion.
– David C. Reardon, Ph.D.
“How can you deny an abortion to a twelve-year-old girl who is the victim of incest?” complains an indignant supporter of abortion. “And how can you call yourself a loving Christian if you would force a victim of violent rape to give birth to a rapist’s child?”
Every pro-lifer has heard these same challenges in one form or another. They are the emotionally charged questions designed to prove either 1) that pro-lifers are insensitive “fetus lovers,” 2) or ethically inconsistent, allowing abortion for some circumstances but not others.
Unfortunately, most pro-lifers have difficulty answering these challenges because the issue of sexual assault pregnancies is so widely misunderstood. Typically, both sides of the debate accept the presumption that women with sexual assault pregnancies would want an abortion and that the abortion would in some way help them to recover from the assault. Thus, the pro-lifer is left in the uncomfortable position of arguing that the sanctity of life is more important than the needs of the sexual assault victim with whom everyone should rightly sympathize.
But in fact, the welfare of the mother and child are never at odds, even in sexual assault cases. Both the mother and child are helped by preserving life, not by perpetuating violence.
The reason most people reach the wrong conclusion about abortion in cases of rape and incest is that the actual experiences of sexual assault victims who became pregnant are routinely left out of the debate. Most people, including sexual assault victims who have never been pregnant, are therefore forming opinions based on prejudices and fears which are disconnected from reality.
For example, it is commonly assumed that rape victims who become pregnant would naturally want abortions. But in the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent chose against abortion. This evidence alone should cause people to pause and reflect on the presumption that abortion is wanted or even best for sexual assault victims.
Several reasons are given for not aborting. First, approximately 70 percent of all women believe abortion is immoral, even though many also feel it should be a legal choice for others. Approximately the same percentage of pregnant rape victims believe abortion would be just another act of violence perpetrated against their bodies and their children.
Second, some believe that their child’s life may have some intrinsic meaning or purpose which they do not yet understand. This child was brought into their lives by a horrible, repulsive act. But perhaps God, or fate, will use the child for some greater purpose. Good can come from evil.
Third, victims of assault often become introspective. Their sense of the value of life and respect for others is heightened. They have been victimized, and the thought that they in turn might victimize their own innocent child through abortion is repulsive.
Fourth, at least at a subconscious level, the victim may sense that if she can get through the pregnancy, she will have conquered the rape. By giving birth, she can reclaim some of her lost self-esteem. Giving birth, especially when conception was not desired, is a totally selfless act, a generous act, a display of courage, strength and honor. It is proof that she is better than the rapist. While he was selfish, she can be generous. While he was destroying, she can be nurturing.
If giving birth builds self respect, what about abortion? This is a question which most people fail to even consider. Instead, most people assume that an abortion will at least help a rape victim put the assault behind her and go on with her life. But in jumping to this conclusion, the public is adopting an unrealistic view of abortion.
Abortion is not some magical surgery which turns back time to make a woman “un-pregnant.” Instead, it is a real life event which is always very stressful and often traumatic. Once we accept that abortion is itself an event with ramifications on a woman’s life, then we must carefully look at the special circumstances of the pregnant rape victim. Will an abortion truly console her, or will it only cause further injury to her already bruised psyche?
In answering this question, it is helpful to begin by noting that many women report that their abortions felt like a degrading and brutal form of medical rape. This association between abortion and rape is not hard to understand.
Abortion involves a painful examination of a woman’s sexual organs by a masked stranger who is invading her body. Once she is on the operating table, she loses control over her body. If she protests and asks for the abortionist to stop, she will likely be ignored or told: “It’s too late to change your mind. This is what you wanted. We have to finish now.” And while she lies there tense and helpless, the life hidden within her is literally sucked out of her womb. The difference? In a sexual rape, a woman is robbed of her purity; in this medical rape she is robbed of her maternity.
This experiential association between abortion and sexual assault is very strong for many women. It is especially strong for women who have a prior history of sexual assault, whether or not she is presently pregnant as the result of an assault. This is just one reason why women with a history of sexual assault are likely to experience greater distress during and after an abortion than other women.
Second, research shows that after any abortion, it is common for women to experience guilt, depression, feelings of being “dirty,” resentment of men, and lowered self-esteem. What is most significant is that these feelings are identical to what women typically feel after rape. Abortion, then, only adds to and accentuates the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault. Rather than easing the psychological burdens of the sexual assault victim, abortion adds to them.
This was the experience of Jackie Bakker, who reports: “I soon discovered that the aftermath of my abortion continued a long time after the memory of my rape had faded. I felt empty and horrible. Nobody told me about the pain I would feel deep within causing nightmares and deep depressions. They had all told me that after the abortion I could continue my life as if nothing had happened.”
Those encouraging abortion often do so because they are uncomfortable dealing with rape victims, or perhaps out of prejudice against victims whom they see as being “guilty for letting it happen.” Wiping out the pregnancy is a way of hiding the problem. It is a “quick and easy” way to avoid dealing with the woman’s true emotional, social and financial needs.
According to Kathleen DeZeeuw, “I, having lived through rape, and also having raised a child ‘conceived in rape,’ feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. I feel that we’re being used by pro-abortionists to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side.”
The case against abortion of incest pregnancies is even stronger. Studies show that incest victims rarely ever voluntarily agree to an abortion. Instead of viewing the pregnancy as unwanted, the incest victim is more likely to see the pregnancy as a way out of the incestuous relationship because the birth of her child will expose the sexual activity. She is also likely to see in her pregnancy the hope of bearing a child with whom she can establish a true loving relationship, one far different than the exploitive relationship in which she has been trapped.
But while the incest victim may treasure her pregnancy because it offers her hope of release, and the hope of finding a nurturing love, her pregnancy is a threat to the exploiter. It is also a threat to the pathological secrecy which may envelop other members of the family who are afraid to acknowledge that the abuse is occurring. Because of this dual threat, the victim may be coerced into an unwanted abortion by both the abuser and other family members.
For example, Edith Young, a 12-year-old victim of incest impregnated by her stepfather, writes twenty-five years after the abortion of her child: “Throughout the years I have been depressed, suicidal, furious, outraged, lonely, and have felt a sense of loss… The abortion which was to ‘be in my best interest’ just has not been. As far as I can tell, it only ‘saved their reputations,’ ‘solved their problems,’ and ‘allowed their lives to go merrily on.’… My daughter, how I miss her so. I miss her regardless of the reason for her conception.”
Abortion providers who ignore this evidence, and neglect to interview minors presented for abortion for signs of coercion or incest, are actually contributing to the young girl’s victimization. They are not only robbing the victim of her child, they are concealing a crime, abetting a perpetrator, and handing the victim back to her abuser so that the exploitation can continue.
Finally, we must recognize that the children conceived through sexual assault also have a voice which deserves to be heard. Julie Makimaa, conceived by an act of rape, works diligently against the perception that abortion is acceptable or even necessary in cases of sexual assault. While sympathetic to the suffering her mother endured at the hands of her attacker, Julie is also rightfully proud of her mother’s courage and generosity. Regarding her own view of her origin, Julie proclaims: “It doesn’t matter how I began. What matters is who I will become.”
That’s a slogan we can all live with.
Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 2(1) Winter 1994. Copyright 1994 Elliot Institute
- ^ Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 55-69.
- ^ Francke, The Ambivalence of Abortion (New York: Random House, 1978) 84-95, 167.; Reardon, Aborted Women – Silent No More (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1987), 51, 126.
- ^ Zakus, “Adolescent Abortion Option,” Social Work in Health Care, 12(4):87 (1987).
- ^ Maloof, “The Consequences of Incest: Giving and Taking Life” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion (eds. Mall & Watts, Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 84-85.
AN NRO SYMPOSIUM July 30, 2015 4:00 AM
We asked some distinguished experts what would become of women’s health in a post-Planned Parenthood era.
I became pro-life while working on welfare reform as a college intern at a small think tank during the Clinton years. Like so many of my “socialist feminist” compatriots in the Women’s Studies program at Middlebury College in the ’90s, I had unreflectively assumed abortion to be an essential piece of the puzzle in helping women escape poverty. I did not realize at the time just how elitist and antithetical to women’s well-being this justification for abortion really was. Justice Blackmun expressed the creeping eugenic reasoning best in his 1977 dissent in Beal v. Doe: [The cost of elective abortion] “is far less than the cost of maternity care and delivery, and holds no comparison whatsoever with the welfare costs that will burden the state for the new indigents and their support in the long, long years ahead.” Opposite this prevalent view sat Mary Ann Glendon’s 1991 book Rights Talk. It had been assigned in one of my classes, and it was the first time I’d heard articulated the pro-life alternative. Rather than offer mere legal autonomy to the pregnant woman in crisis — an autonomy that abandons both mother and child – Glendon suggested that, as a community, we might instead seek to meet the needs of mother and child, offering them the support they needed to mutually flourish. This way, I could then see, was far more difficult, more time-intensive and messy, but I also knew, then and there, that it was more authentically human, and thoroughly pro-woman. Obria Medical Clinics and those others working heroically to replace Planned Parenthood, and to provide a safe harbor for mothers and children in need, are not only powerfully transformative in the lives of the vulnerable they serve; in my own personal experience, these clinics and maternity homes have enormous power of persuasion in the abortion debate — simply because they exist.
— Erika Bachiochi, Esq., is the author of “Embodied Equality: Debunking Equal Protection Arguments for Abortion Rights” (Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, 2011).
FRANCIS J. BECKWITH
Assuming that the absence of Planned Parenthood were precipitated by the growing awareness on the public’s part that it is an organization with goals inimical to our deepest intuitions about human life’s profound sanctity, its departure from the scene would mark a fundamental shift in how society thinks of the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the poor. For any culture that abandons the cold, calculating, and contractual premises of modern eugenics — that we are to measure our happiness by how unencumbered we are from the burden of our natural limitations and the dependence of those for whom we did not explicitly choose to care — means that it is a culture moving in the direction of faith, hope, and charity. So, it would not at all surprise me to see, soon after the disappearance of Planned Parenthood, growing platoons of pro-life citizens building on the work of the many crisis-pregnancy centers throughout America that have labored for decades under the suspicion, harassment, and condescension of the abortion-choice industrial complex. Because that supercilious contempt of bygone days would quickly become unfashionable, the pro-life movement would be unleashed to develop in its fullness what it has in the past 40 years nobly performed in conditions under which other movements would have folded.
— Francis J. Beckwith is Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies, Baylor University, and the author of Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (2007) and the forthcoming Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith (2015), both from Cambridge University Press.
The first thing to get clear is that Planned Parenthood actually doesn’t provide all that much for poor, vulnerable women — particularly if they don’t live in cities. Indeed, you may remember that, in wake of the Susan J. Komen defunding ridiculousness from a few years ago, lots of charges were thrown around about women losing out on mammograms. But it turns out that Planned Parenthood doesn’t even provide them. As Democrats for Life has pointed out numerous times in recent days, the number of local community health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics ten to one. Rather than the one-size-fits-all franchise approach of Planned Parenthood, these community health centers nicely embody the principle of subsidiarity in responding to the diverse local needs of women — whether in the Bronx, rural Kansas, or southern California. Indeed, these community health centers provide everything Planned Parenthood does, and more, but without doing abortions. Instead of offering a simply negative message of defunding Planned Parenthood, we ought to focus on redirecting the half-billion dollars per year to these nonviolent community health centers. This may be difficult if we are in bed with a Republican party, already somewhat embarrassed by its association with the pro-life movement, which would prefer to keep the government out of this kind of funding. But especially if we care about poor women in cities, where Planned Parenthood primarily serves, we should funnel that money toward community health centers in those areas, and resist the temptation to roll over for small-government conservatives. A consistent concern for the vulnerable — including mothers and their prenatal children — requires nothing less.
— Charles C. Camosy (@nohiddenmagenta) is an associate professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University and the author of Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for a New Generation.
We have heard much regarding Planned Parenthood and all the services it provides. Yet the question remains: Exactly what does it do? Remember the much-ballyhooed mammograms? They turned into nothing more than pass-through funding that could be more efficiently directed by a less limited clinic. In Nevada, PP advertises abortion services, birth control, HIV testing, LGBT services, morning-after pills, pregnancy testing and services, STD testing, treatment, and vaccines, women’s health care, and men’s health care. Nevada has three Planned Parenthood Clinics — one in Reno and two in Clark County (Las Vegas). In comparison, there are 52 community health clinics spread throughout the state, and they exist even in some of the smallest rural towns. These health centers provide women’s medical care regardless of age or medical issue, and are not just for “lady parts.” In addition to women’s health, services provided at many of these free community health clinics include dental care, immunizations (from babies to adults), STD testing and treatment, pre- and post-partum pregnancy care, behavioral-health care, pediatric care, and general care — regardless of age or gender. These clinics, often owned by community-based nonprofits, operate through federal and state grants. A note on the men’s health services Planned Parenthood claims to offer: The services provided for males are limited to only those areas that could be covered by a swimsuit, as long as it’s a Speedo. If you have jock itch or premature ejaculation, PP, as noted on its website, might be a good choice. Otherwise, a community health center is the best option, again regardless of age or service needed. For a woman facing any medical problem — whether her own or a loved one’s — health centers that provide a full suite of services are always preferable. The website freeclinics.com provides ample information on free and reduced-rate clinics throughout my state and others. Money that is currently going to Planned Parenthood should support these community-based centers offering health care for all.
— Melissa Clement is the president of Nevada Right to Life.
MAUREEN L. CONDIC
According to a recent study, 89 percent of U.S. counties did not have an abortion provider in 2011 (down approximately 1 percent since 2008). These counties were home to almost 40 percent of American women in their reproductive years (ages 14 to 44). The study concludes that while the abortion rate continues to decline (as it has been doing since the early 1980s), “no evidence was found that the overall drop in abortion incidence was related to the decrease in providers or to restrictions implemented between 2008 and 2011.” Despite hysterical claims that defunding Planned Parenthood will set loose an apocalypse for women who rely on PP for cancer and STD screening, this simply hasn’t happened. There has been a 20 percent decline in the number of PP clinics since 1995, and over this same period, there has also been a steady decline in both STD and cancer incidence for women. No apocalypse here. Even if all PP clinics close, the sky is not going to fall, even when it comes to the availability of abortion. According to the study cited above, the 1,058,490 abortions performed in 2011 were provided by 329 abortion clinics, 510 “other” clinics, 595 hospitals, and 286 physician’s offices. Options are available. What should not be available is public funding for killing what science inarguably shows is not a “potential” human being, but rather a full and complete human being at an early developmental stage. Opinion polls consistently demonstrate that 60 percent to 70 percent of Americans oppose the use of any federal funds to pay for abortion. Yet, according to Planned Parenthood’s 2012-13 financial report, $540.6 million, or approximately 45 percent of its total revenue, came from taxpayer-funded government grants. In the face of declining demand for abortion and increasing opposition to it, it is time to cut the federal-funding umbilical cord and see if PP is viable on its own.
— Maureen L. Condic is an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
In short, women will go to federally qualified health centers, which provide all the services Planned Parenthood does and more, except abortions. FQHCs also treat you regardless of your ability to pay (PP does not provide any services for free). Like many millennials, I have received care at FQHCs, and they are great.
— David Daleiden is project leader at the Center for Medical Progress.
Pregnancy centers and maternity homes are vital resources for women and families facing unplanned pregnancies. The Northwest Center, a pregnancy center and maternity home in Washington, D.C., provides 18-month transitional housing for pregnant women experiencing homelessness. The pregnancy center offers pregnancy testing and options counseling, along with a material-assistance and goals-planning program. With social workers and trained counselors on staff, we are able to address both the emotional and the material needs of pregnant and parenting women, while allocating resources that will enable them to support themselves and their families. Raising a family is expensive, and the Northwest Center’s mission is to provide adequate support so that women and families can raise healthy and happy children. We receive numerous calls each day from families looking for material support and medical assistance. If there is an area we are not able to assist with, we connect the woman to an appropriate organization that can provide adequate prenatal or medical care.
— Susan Gallucci, LICSW, is the executive director of the Northwest Center.
ARINA O. GROSSU
Defunding Planned Parenthood would free up over half a billion dollars a year that could go to a myriad of health-care service providers — community health centers, primary-care physicians, hospitals, and others – that provide a broader range of health services than Planned Parenthood ever has. Poor and vulnerable women will be able to use Medicaid funds for health care at these centers. In addition, more than 2,000 pregnancy care centers nationally (CareNet, Heartbeat, NIFLA) are available to help women who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies. Defunding Planned Parenthood would free up over half a billion dollars a year that could go to a myriad of health-care service providers that provide a broader range of health services than Planned Parenthood ever has. Even though Planned Parenthood has a total revenue of $1.3 billion — in 2013-14, PPFA reported an excess of revenue over expenses of $127.1 million, a revenue increase of $40 million from 2012) — it has consistently dropped the very services it likes to tout. The Family Research Council’s PP Fact Sheet, based on Planned Parenthood’s own annual reports, reveals the following: From 2009 to 2013, cancer-screening and -prevention programs dropped by about half. From 2009 to 2013, prenatal services dropped by more than half. From 2009 to 2013, breast exams dropped by 41 percent. (PP does not do mammograms.) In 2013, if a pregnant woman walked into a Planned Parenthood facility, she was 174 times more likely to receive an abortion than an adoption referral. In that year, PPFA performed 327,653 abortions while providing only 1,880 adoption referrals. From 2011 to 2013, adoption referrals have decreased by 18 percent. According to Planned Parenthood’s 2013-14 report, out of total services for pregnant women (adoption referrals, prenatal services, abortion), abortion made up over 94 percent. Prenatal care made up only about 5 percent of pregnancy services. Meanwhile, PP’s abortion numbers have consistently increased every year, from 289,000 in 2006 to 327,000 in 2013.
– Arina O. Grossu is the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council.
This is a question we must answer, because it acknowledges the reality of many women’s lives — Planned Parenthood’s clients too often are young women from nearby colleges, or low-income women who need a medical facility within walking distance or on a bus line. Women turn to Planned Parenthood for free STD tests and easy contraception, and then come back for abortions. Or it happens in the reverse. If we can envision a world without Planned Parenthood, we need to envision a world in which women’s health needs are met in better ways — ways that really put them on the road to good health, recovered dignity, and better decisions. Fortunately, some visionaries have been working for a while to provide better alternatives. One of the most promising – FEMM Health (Fertility Education & Medical Management) — has opened its first U.S. health clinic in Columbus, Ohio, providing a model for what could be the future of pro-life women’s health care. Like Planned Parenthood, FEMM offers a “place” for women to go for gynecological health care, with easy access and a convenient location. But the similarities stop there. Where Planned Parenthood treats “symptoms” (acne, irregular cycles, heavy periods, or the prospect of pregnancy) with one “solution” — contraception – FEMM is a knowledge-based health program for women. It offers testing, diagnosis, and treatment for women’s health issues — all based on cutting-edge reproductive endocrinology. FEMM Health empowers women, respects life, and leads to better health. (And yes, there’s an app.) Donors? Invest in FEMM – it’s what women need. In fact, they needed it yesterday. NaPro Technology is another great resource for women’s fertility needs — and it too deserves our support. NaPro Fertility Care specialists, working as consultants or in hospital-based practices, help women achieve or postpone pregnancy and identify and solve problems of infertility. As great as these solutions are, they are still too few — and that’s the challenge ahead for the pro-life movement. We need to invest in people, places, and technology that will deliver real solutions to women in need — and we shouldn’t rest until there’s a pro-life women’s health center in every neighborhood.
– Mary Hasson is a fellow in the Catholic Studies Program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Among the little-known facts that increasingly are becoming known about Planned Parenthood and its role in health-care services for women is that the number of abortion clinics continues to dwindle, as more of them close, but that crisis-pregnancy centers (pregnancy-help centers) are proliferating. One of these resourceful clinics can usually be found in close proximity to an abortion clinic, so a woman can have a real and fully informed choice. Poor, vulnerable women who need true health care can find the best resources and help at places like Aid for Women, Women’s Choice Services, and Waterleaf, among others, in the Chicago area; the John Paul II Life Center, among others, in Austin; Good Counsel Homes, among others, in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area; and the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. (in the heart of the most pro-active state when it comes to securing fully-informed-consent laws to protect women). And so many others. If we are truly concerned about women’s health and freedom of choice, let’s promote both.
– Sheila Liaugminas is the host of A Closer Look on Relevant Radio and the author of Non-Negotiable: Essential Principles of a Just Society and Humane Culture.
Many cities, including New York, have a municipal hospital system that serves as a safety net to ensure that women can get medical care regardless of their ability to pay. New York Health and Hospitals Corporation is a great resource. Aside from this, many women’s health-care services are provided by ob/gyns, family-medicine and internal-medicine practitioners, nurse practitioners, and midwives in both urban and rural areas.
– George Mussalli, M.D., a former chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the legendary St. Vincent’s Hospital, now runs Village Obstetrics.
LEONARD J. NELSON
In Birmingham, Ala., there are many resources available to pregnant women in crisis pregnancies. There are such organizations as Her Choice Birmingham Women’s Center and Sav-A-Life Pregnancy Test Center. Both organizations provide pregnancy tests and ultrasounds without charge. They provide support for women who decide not to abort their children, including referrals to a network of pro-life physicians who provide prenatal care without charge to the pregnant women. They provide childbirth classes and assistance in obtaining health insurance. In addition, these organizations have warehouses full of baby supplies that are provided free to women in need. The pro-life movement in Birmingham is multi-cultural: There is a large Latino pro-life support network, which provided support to pregnant women when Planned Parenthood in Birmingham stopped performing abortions for a few months last year. Both Her Choice and Sav-a-Life also provide post-abortion counseling to women who are suffering because of their abortions.
– Leonard J. Nelson III is a professor emeritus at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and the author of Diagnosis Critical: The Urgent Threats Confronting Catholic Healthcare.
Congress is debating the idea of redirecting the taxpayer money that the scandal-ridden abortion conglomerate Planned Parenthood receives to health-care providers that serve women without tearing apart their babies’ bodies. Abortion-advocacy groups are wrong to claim that this would be an apocalypse for all family-planning and health-care services to low-income women. According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, 90 percent of the 8,409 “safety-net health centers” at which taxpayer-funded family-planning services were provided in 2010 were places other than Planned Parenthood. The vast majority of low-income women obtained subsidized family-planning services at: • 3,165 federally qualified health centers • 2,439 health-department clinics • 1,324 other non-Planned Parenthood clinics • 664 hospitals The credibility of the number of “services” Planned Parenthood has billed to government programs is also seriously questioned by whistleblower lawsuits brought by former employees across the nation. For example, a complaint brought by Karen Reynolds, a health-center assistant for nearly ten years at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lufkin, Texas, alleged that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast employees were trained to — and did — bill the government for medical services never actually provided, as well as for services that were not medically necessary. In August 2013, Planned Parenthood agreed to pay a $4.3 million settlement in the case. In another ongoing lawsuit, Sue Thayer, a former manager for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, alleges that, to enhance revenues, the Planned Parenthood affiliate implemented a “C-Mail” program that effectively mailed thousands of unrequested birth-control pills to women, and then billed the government for these pills. Even taking Planned Parenthood’s reported services figures as truthful, a review of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s annual reports shows that the organization has had a dramatically shrinking influence in nearly every sphere except abortion and STI testing since PPFA president Cecile Richards began her tenure in 2006. The number of Planned Parenthood’s reported overall patients has declined by over 10 percent, from 3.1 million in 2006 to 2.7 million in its latest annual report. As Americans United for Life has documented, non-controversial services at Planned Parenthood, such as cancer screenings and prenatal services, have sharply declined. If Planned Parenthood becomes ineligible for federal-government programs, the women who currently use subsidies at Planned Parenthood will be faced with a choice. These women could still choose to frequent the abortion provider — just without using taxpayer dollars. If they choose to continue having these services subsidized, other options exist.
– Anna Paprocki is staff counsel at Americans United for Life.
C. C. PECKNOLD
In the wake of Obamacare and its forced contraceptive regime, Planned Parenthood already faces a certain redundancy when it comes to birth control. Cancer screenings are down by 50 percent. But abortions are up, and PP wants to expand the number of its clinics in certain “markets” (including a new mega abortion center in one of the poorest – and predominantly black — neighborhoods in the nation’s capital). If Planned Parenthood lost your tax dollars, the agency would still give out contraceptives, perform pap smears, and check for HIV. These things are relatively cheap. What defunding Planned Parenthood would really mean is a reduction in the costliest side of the house — the abortion side. Consider a young woman, let’s call her Maria, and let’s say she’s black since most “clinics” are intentionally placed in minority neighborhoods, which is why half of all babies killed in Planned Parenthood centers are actually black babies. The young woman arrives scared and uncertain about what to do. The forms are filled out and she is given several options, including adoption referral. Last year, 327,000 babies were killed in Planned Parenthood clinics, while only 1,800 women took up the agency’s offer of adoption referral. What does that mean? It most likely means that Maria, and women like her, experience a certain “nudge” in a Planned Parenthood clinic. No one ever tells Maria to get an abortion. But there is a “choice architecture” in the Planned Parenthood culture that consistently inclines women to seek only one gruesome solution — a solution at which the agency truly excels. Defunding Planned Parenthood will not mean that women will no longer be able to get access to reproductive health care. What it will mean is that the “choice architecture” will change. Planned Parenthood’s federally funded monopoly on “reproductive health” will shift to the thousands of crisis-pregnancy clinics (CPCs) whose “choice architectures” are not so ruthlessly inclined to death. CPCs have one thing in common that Planned Parenthood lacks: a choice architecture that really gives women options, good choices, and doesn’t use our tax dollars to ensure that 94 percent of pregnancy-related contact results in an abortion, as it currently does under the direction of Cecile Richards.
– C. C. Pecknold is an associate professor of theology at the Catholic University of America.
Women do not need Planned Parenthood. But where would women go instead? Community health centers and free, and charity clinics are an important part of the health-care safety net, offering alternatives in which the focus is on delivering health care, not the destruction of life. President George W. Bush doubled funding for community health centers during his eight years in office, enabling the creation or expansion of 1,297 clinics, primarily located in medically underserved areas, such as poor urban neighborhoods and isolated rural areas. The Affordable Care Act added $11 billion in funding for the centers. This year, a total of 9,200 clinics are projected to serve 28 million patients. Community health centers care for patients regardless of their ability to pay. “They’re an integral part of a health-care system because they provide care for the low-income, for the newly arrived, and they take the pressure off of our hospital emergency rooms,” Bush said while touring a clinic in Omaha, Neb., during his last year in office. The clinics provide basic services such as prenatal care, childhood immunizations, asthma treatments, and cancer screenings. Many have expanded to providing dental and mental-health services and on-site pharmacies, and have extended their hours to nights and weekends. They provide an alternative to hospital emergency rooms, often serving as a “medical home” for patients — tracking their health care with medical records and providing continuity of care. The philanthropic community provides another option. In virtually every city in the country, physicians and other medical professionals volunteer their time to provide free or very low-cost health care to patients through charity clinics. There are more than a thousand of these charity clinics in operation, silently providing care to the neediest patients, everything from primary care to access to specialists who donate their time to care for vulnerable patients. They also are an important part of the safety net. Charity clinics generally operate on a shoestring and take no federal funding. Many states are looking at ways to assist the clinics by relaxing regulatory and licensing barriers and providing boosts of local funds to help them keep their doors open. The charity clinics are a vital element of the fabric of a civil society — but are being crowded out by massive government spending and government-funded organizations like Planned Parenthood. This is an opportunity to rebalance our priorities.
– Grace-Marie Turner is the president of the Galen Institute.
MICHAEL J. NEW
If Planned Parenthood disappeared, low-income women would still be eligible to receive health care from one of hundreds of federally funded community health centers. Pregnancy help centers would also pick up some of the slack. There are over 2,000 centers across the country that assist more than 2.3 million women annually. These pregnancy help centers often provide women assistance with shelter, nutrition, and employment. Those centers with a religious orientation can minister to their spiritual needs. Many also educate women about the health risks involved with a promiscuous lifestyle. In the past 40 years, pregnancy help centers have succeeded where the abortion industry has failed. They offer real alternatives to literally millions of women facing crisis pregnancies. Countless women regret their abortions. But the surveys and testimonials in separate reports issued by the Family Research Council and the Charlotte Lozier Institute are evidence of the positive impact of the life-affirming options offered by many pregnancy help centers. In fact, Lozier’s recent report shows that similar percentages of pro-life and pro-choice women reported a positive experience with a pregnancy help center. Sadly, many of Planned Parenthood’s programs offer at best a quick fix for women in need. But they come with negative long-term consequences. The organization’s sex-education curricula, contraceptive programs, and abortion services have only exacerbated a promiscuous sexual culture. This culture has resulted in broken families, abortions, and high rates of unintended pregnancies. Were Planned Parenthood to disappear, the result would likely be more women seeking health care and pregnancy support from places that actually offer life-affirming alternatives.
— Michael J. New is a visiting professor of Economics at Ave Maria University and an associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_J_New
EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece has been updated since its initial posting.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/42178/planned-parenthood-womens-health?utm_content=bufferb4604&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
By: Caffeinated Thoughts
(Washington, DC) Following an investigation into the practice of fetal tissue transfers and the federal laws governing the practice, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is referring several Planned Parenthood affiliates and companies involved in fetal tissue transfers, as well as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, to the FBI and the Department of Justice for investigation and possible prosecution.
“I don’t take lightly making a criminal referral. But, the seeming disregard for the law by these entities has been fueled by decades of utter failure by the Justice Department to enforce it,” Grassley said. “And, unless there is a renewed commitment by everyone involved against commercializing the trade in aborted fetal body parts for profit, then the problem is likely to continue.”
Grassley’s referral follows the completion of a Senate Judiciary Committee majority staff analysis of more than 20,000 pages of documents provided voluntarily by the organizations and companies involved. While the impetus for the investigation was the release of a series of videos regarding transfers of fetal tissue by the Center for Medical Progress, the committee’s analysis and findings are based strictly on the documents obtained independently from tissue procurement companies and Planned Parenthood.
The Majority Staff Report concludes:
- Despite the clear legislative history of the 1993 NIH Revitalization Act, the executive branch across multiple administrations has failed to enforce the law’s safeguards.
- Since 2010, three companies – Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc.; StemExpress, LLC; and Novogenix Laboratories, LLC (Novogenix has since gone out of business) – have paid affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America to acquire aborted fetuses, and then sold the fetal tissue to their respective customers at substantially higher prices than their documented costs.
- The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) initially had a policy in place to ensure its affiliates were complying with the law, but the affiliates failed to follow its fetal tissue reimbursement policy. When PPFA learned in 2011 of this situation, PPFA cancelled the policy rather than exercise oversight to bring the affiliates back into compliance. Thus, PPFA not only turned a blind eye to the affiliates’ violations of its fetal tissue policy, but also altered its own oversight procedures enabling those affiliates’ practices to continue unimpeded.
- The cost analyses provided by affiliates of Planned Parenthood for America lack sufficient documentation and rely on unreasonably broad and vague claims of costs for “the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control or storage of” fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood attorneys acknowledge that the affiliates had failed to follow procedures put in place to ensure compliance with the law. In addition, the cost analyses were only performed long after the fact and at the insistence of the committee.
The full report details the long history of the controversy surrounding human fetal tissue research and the bipartisan legislative approach taken to resolve the issue at the time, as well as the subsequent lack of enforcement. As the report explains, “Support for the 1993 NIH Revitalization Act was premised on the idea that the ban on buying or selling fetal tissue would be a safeguard against the development for a market for human fetuses. Tragically, the executive branch has either failed or simply refused to enforce that safeguard. As a result, contrary to the intent of the law, companies have charged thousands of dollars for specimens removed from a single aborted fetus; they have claimed the fees they charged only recovered acceptable costs when they had not, in fact, conducted any analysis of their costs when setting the fees; and their post hoc accounting rationalizations invoked indirect and tenuously-related costs in an attempt to justify their fees.”
By Julie Roys
To Planned Parenthood, Melissa Ohden’s existence would be considered a failure. Born after soaking five days in a toxic saline solution, Ohden miraculously survived her mother’s abortion. But, as Ohden testified Wednesday before a Congressional hearing investigating Planned Parenthood, “(I)f my birthmother’s abortion would have taken place at a Planned Parenthood, I would not be here today. Completing over 300,000 abortions a year provides them with the experience to make sure that ‘failures’ like me don’t happen.” Below are transcript and video of Melissa’s gripping testimony. I thank God that not only Melissa exists, but more than 200 other survivors, which she references. Yet, I am horrified that more than a million unborn babies are killed every year in this country — legally. Do they not have rights too?
Melissa Ohden’s Testimony to the House Judiciary Committee
Thank you so much for your time today, Representatives, as we expose the horrors of Planned Parenthood.
This is the number of abortions that Planned Parenthood’s 2014 fiscal report lists as being completed that year. Based on these numbers, 897 children will lose their lives to an abortion completed by Planned Parenthood each and every day.
Why do I find this horrific? Because I have a lot in common with these children. I was meant to be one of them. I should have been just another statistic. But by the grace of God, I am more than a statistic. I come here today as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a Master’s level prepared social worker, and yes, as an abortion survivor.
birth-recordFrom “botched abortion” to “the dreaded complication of abortion” (a child who lives), I’ve been called just about everything you can imagine. But as you can see here in my medical records from 1977 (show record), I am the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion (the exact wording in my records reads–“a saline infusion for an abortion was done but was unsuccessful.” Other parts of my records identify “saline infusion” as a complication of my biological mother’s pregnancy. You could certainly say that saline infusion abortion complicated things).
It has taken years to unravel the secrets surrounding my survival, to have contact with my biological family and medical professionals that cared for me, and although there are still unanswered questions, what I do know is that my life was intended to be ended by an abortion, and even after I survived, my life was in jeopardy.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at me today, but in August of 1977, I survived a failed saline infusion abortion. A saline infusion abortion involves injecting a toxic salt solution into the amniotic fluid surrounding the preborn child. The intent of that salt solution is to scald the child to death, from the outside in.
For days, I soaked in that toxic salt solution, and on the fifth day of the procedure, my biological mother, a 19-year-old college student, delivered me, after her labor was induced . I should have been delivered dead, as a successful abortion.
In 2013, I learned through contact with my biological mother’s family that not only was this abortion forced upon her against her will, but also that it was my maternal grandmother, a nurse, who delivered me in this final step of the abortion procedure at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa.
Unfortunately, I also learned that when my grandmother realized that the abortion had not succeeded in ending my life, she demanded that I be left to die.
I may never know how, exactly, two nurses who were on staff that day (one of whom has had part of her story passed down to my adoptive family) found out about me, but what I do know is that their willingness to fight for medical care to be provided to me saved my life.
I know where children like me were left to die at St. Luke’s Hospital—a utility closet. In 2014, I met a nurse who assisted in a saline infusion abortion there in 1976, and delivered a living baby boy. After he was delivered alive, she followed her superior’s orders and placed him in the utility closet in a bucket of formaldehyde to be picked up later as medical waste after he died there, alone.
A bucket of formaldehyde in a utility closet was meant to be my fate after I wasn’t scalded to death through the abortion. Yet here I am today.
I weighed a little less than 3 pounds (2 pounds, 14 ounces), I suffered from jaundice, severe respiratory problems and seizures (show picture). One of the first notations in my medical records states that I looked like I was about 31 weeks gestational age when I survived.
Despite the miracle of my survival, the doctor’s prognosis for my life was initially very poor. My adoptive parents were told that I would suffer from multiple disabilities throughout my life. However, here I am today, perfectly healthy.
Yet it isn’t just how abortion ends the life of children like me that isn’t talked about in today’s world. It’s also not discussed what happens to children like me who live.
RELATED: Gianna Jessen Asks Congress “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?”
We are your friend, your co-worker, your neighbor, and you would likely never guess just by looking at us that we survived what we did. In my work as the Founder of The Abortion Survivor’s Network, I have had contact with 203 other abortion survivors. Letters from some of these survivors have been submitted to this committee.
I’m here today to share my story to not only highlight the horror of abortion taking place at Planned Parenthood, but to give a voice to other survivors like me, and most importantly, to give a name, a face, and a voice to the hundreds of thousands of children who will have their lives ended by Planned Parenthood this year alone.
As you consider the horrors of what happens at Planned Parenthood each day, I would urge you to remember my story, and Gianna’s, too. We may not have survived abortions at Planned Parenthood, but the expectation for our lives to be ended by abortion are the very same as those who do lose their lives there.
And I have long believed that if my birthmother’s abortion would have taken place at a Planned Parenthood, I would not be here today. Completing over 300,000 abortions a year provides them with the experience to make sure that “failures” like me don’t happen.
As a fellow American, as a fellow human being, I deserved the same right to life, the same equal protection under the law as each and every one of you. Yet we live in a time where not only do such protections not exist, but my own tax dollars and yours go to fund an organization that has perfected the very thing that was meant to end my life.
This must end.
WASHINGTON, DC – Democrats For Life of America (DFLA) urges Congress to reallocate federal funding for women’s health services from Planned Parenthood to Community Health Centers (CHCs), which are more accessible anddo more extensive preventive care, including mammograms. Planned Parenthood, a profitable $1.2 billion-per-year corporation, is under investigation for selling body parts, including hearts, lungs and livers, of aborted children.
“Whether or not Planned Parenthood is engaging in an illegal selling of body parts, the videos highlight what Americans have too long been asked to ignore – the humanity of the unborn and the reality that abortion ends a life,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America. “The videos suggest that the Continue Reading
By: Abby Johnson
Ever since the third and final presidential debate last week, many questions have been circulating online about the truth behind late-term abortions (performed in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy). As a former abortion clinic director, I can help answer some of these questions.
Yes, late-term abortions are legal in the U.S. and do take place through the entire 3rd trimester, including through the 9th month of pregnancy. According to the latest Guttmacher data, about 18,000 3rd trimester abortions are performed every year.
These abortions can be performed for the “life or health” of the mother. What this means is that a late-term abortion can be provided for any reason, as long as the abortionist checks a box on her chart stating it was affecting her “life or health.” No documentation of proof is required.
According to several former late term abortion clinic workers who have come through my organization And Then There Were None, approximately 50% of 3rd trimester abortions are performed on healthy babies. In my own personal experience, we often referred women to late-term abortion providers who were pregnant with healthy babies, but they wanted the abortion because they had either just broken up with the baby’s father, lost their job, or something similar.
Since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, abortion doctors have devised an alternative method – and believe it or not, it’s more dangerous for the woman.
When a woman comes in for a late-term abortion, her cervix is dilated through the administration of one of two medications called misoprostol (cytotec) and pitocin and/or laminaria/lamicel insertion. Laminaria are made of sterilized seaweed and look like tiny tampons. Lamicel are similar, but made of a synthetic material. The misoprostol is taken orally prior to surgery and may take several hours to work. Misoprostol is a medication administered to relax t
the cervix muscle so that the surgeon can dilate it easily. Pitocin is also used sometimes to help with this process and is administered through an I.V.
If laminaria or lamicel is necessary to complete dilation, they must be inserted into the patient’s cervix by the physician prior to the abortion procedure. The laminaria/lamicel act like sponges by absorbing the moisture in the patient’s vagina and expanding to gently open the cervix.
Laminaria/lamicel and misoprostol will be administered on day one. Also, on day one, the physician will also administer a medication called digoxin. This medication is generally injected into the amniotic fluid. The fetus will then drink in the digoxin and will overdose in the womb. It can take up to 48 hours for death to occur. During this time, the mother may feel her child struggling to die in her womb.
On day two or three, the physician will perform the surgical abortion after dilation of the cervix is complete – this may take several hours or overnight. The doctor will remove the laminaria (if applicable), insert a speculum into the vagina, and then remove the unborn child using vacuum aspiration (suction), forceps, curettes and sometimes physical pressure to the abdomen. The surgical procedure takes approximately 10 – 25 minutes. After surgery, the mother is taken into the recovery room, where nurses will monitor her for approximately 45 minutes.
As many obstetricians have noted, a late term abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother. At times, a medical induction may be necessary, but never an abortion. During a medical induction, the baby is delivered early and given life saving care after delivery, instead of being aborted and killed before delivery.
Do elective abortions take place through the 9th month of pregnancy? The unfortunate and horrifying answer is yes. We must work to end these barbaric practices and truly care for mothers and their children.