This is Why I Don’t Like Planned Parenthood

I’d been storing up a couple of articles about Planned Parenthood, unsure of when I was going to post them, and then news broke yesterday of Planned Parenthood’s side gig selling human body parts from aborted fetuses. Well, it doesn’t get much sicker or more morally repugnant than that, but let’s back up before we get to that.

First, here’s an article from Secular Pro-Life showing how Planned Parenthood is aggressively expanding to increase their abortion numbers despite an overall decline in abortions nationally. At the same time, the work PP likes to be known for–cancer screenings and prevention services–are going down.

856 - Planned Parenthood 01

The graphic comes from a report by another pro-life organization (Americans United for Life) which (according to SPL’s summary):

covers a huge amount of ground: how Planned Parenthood is running away from its less profitable contraception and cancer screening services; how it is siphoning abortion business from its competitors, allowing it to take a greater share of the market even as nationwide abortions plummet; how it is putting its proverbial eggs in the basket of “mega-centers” that commit abortions six or seven days our of the week instead of just one or two; how it is developing those mega-centers by deceiving local authorities; and how our tax dollars are the scaffolding for the whole twisted enterprise.

Planned Parenthood likes to pass itself off as a woman’s health organization, but the reality is that it is (now moreso than ever) a highly profitable commercial enterprise founded on killing human beings.

Then there was this article from the WaPo that I thought was very interesting in light of the controversy over the Confederate battle flag: Planned Parenthood: The next relic from our racist past that must be purged. Steve Deace points out that, as racist legacies goes, Planned Parenthood’s is a stand out in all the worst ways possible:

Sanger left behind a documented legacy of racist screeds. Long before Democrats got a former grand wizard of the KKK named Robert Byrd elected to the U.S. Senate, Sanger proudly proclaimed the following:

“(We) are seeking to assist the white race toward the elimination of the unfit (blacks).” (Birth Control and Racial Betterment, 1919)

“Birth Control to create a (white) race of thoroughbreds!” (Subhead to Sanger’s magazine The Birth Control Review)

“We are paying for and submitting to an ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings (blacks) who never should have been born at all. That our wealth is being diverted from the progress of human civilization … Our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost to the community of this dead weight of (black) human waste.” (The Pivot of Civilization, 1922)

“Birth control is not contraception indiscriminately and thoughtlessly practiced. It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks–those human weeds (blacks) which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.” (New York Times interview, 1923)

“I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak … In the end, through simple illustrations (explaining the problems with inferior races), I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.” (Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, 1938)

Sanger established her first full-service “clinic” in Harlem in 1929. Why Harlem? Because, silly, that’s where a lot of the black people she often referred to as “human weeds” lived. Sanger described it as “an experimental clinic established for the benefit of the colored people.” In this case, she defined “benefit” as the overall reduction of the black population.

You might say this is all in the past, but the fact is that Planned Parenthood–which Sanger founded–still names its most prestigious award after her.

854 - Margaret Sanger Award

That kind of legacy explains photos like these:

855 - Hands Up, Don't Abort

So, all of this would have been bad enough, but yesterday we learned that Planned Parenthood is in the business of harvesting and selling body parts from the unborn human beings they kill. This isn’t just some fringe benefit, either. According to undercover video, they decide exactly how to perform abortions in order to avoid damaging the most valuable body parts that are currently on order. Here is Dr. Deborah Nucatola (Senior Director of Medical Services at Planned Parenthood since February 2009) describing her own procedures for ensuring optimal organ harvest from the abortions she personally performs:

For example, so I had 8 cases yesterday. And I knew exactly what we needed, and I kinda looked at the list and said okay, this 17-weeker has 8 lams, and this one — so I knew which were the cases that were more probably likely to yield what we needed, and I made my decisions according to that, too, so its worth having a huddle at the beginning of the day and that’s what I do.

This Breitbart article goes into more details, including Nucatola’s discussion of how to get the ban on Partial Birth Abortions. These abortions, which involve crushing the head of an unborn human being before delivering the rest of the body intact, are optimal because they allow everything (other than the head, obviously) to be resold. She says: “The Federal [Partial Birth] Abortion Ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation. So, if I say on day one, I do not intend to do this, what ultimately happens doesn’t matter.”

There is some doubt about whether or not the body parts are technically sold since, as you can imagine, selling human body parts is not legal. Not even, I was surprised to learn, body parts from aborted humans. Snopes lists the allegation as “unconfirmed,” and for its part, PP has replied with a statement claiming that no body parts are sold, but that “tissue” (their euphamism) are donated for a fee:

In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different. At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.

Consider me skeptical. The idea that there is “no financial benefit” is the same thing that PP would say about all the abortions they perform, since PP is ostensibly a non-profit, after all, and just in it for the health of women. Besides, as Hot Air summarizes the actual content of the video:

The context of the video was clearly not reimbursement for transportation of random tissue. Nucatola talks extensively about the demand for specific body parts in relation to price. “A lot of people want liver,” Nucatola states, and then explains how they train their staff to perform these abortions so that PP clinics can harvest organs to meet specific demand, and then make the sale. At one point, Nucatola even talks about body parts being on a “menu.”

I’m not a lawyer, but from what I’ve seen I doubt that Planned Parenthood is going to face a criminal investigation over this any time soon. The regional franchise might, but the national organization has been careful to keep its nose clean. But it’s equally obvious from the video that the only thing stopping them from whole-hearted retail is legal stricture. A change in the Supreme Court, as Nucatola says, and then it’s a different ballgame.

The whole thing is pretty grisly business, but none of my friends in the pro-life movement are at all surprised. This is what Planned Parenthood is. This is what they do. If you want to watch the video itself, here it is below.

China to Ease One-Child Policy

It was announced that China will relax its one-child policy in an effort to improve human rights. “The policy will be slightly relaxed,” CNN reports, “so that couples will be allowed to have two children if one of the parents was an only child…Currently, both parents must be sole children to be eligible for a second child. The one-child policy, though applauded by many for slowing down China’s population growth, has been widely criticized for resulting in forced abortions and hefty fines that are sometimes used to enforce it.”

Not exactly a giant leap forward, but a definitely a step. What is ironic is that groups that are often considered feminist due to their pro-choice position (e.g. Planned Parenthood) applauded these coercive policies; policies that led to sex-selective abortions, resulting in the termination of millions of unborn girls. As The Wall Street Journal reported a couple years ago,

In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. This ratio is biologically ironclad. Between 104 and 106 is the normal range, and that’s as far as the natural window goes. Any other number is the result of unnatural events.

Yet today in India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, the number is 121—though plenty of Chinese towns are over the 150 mark. China’s and India’s populations are mammoth enough that their outlying sex ratios have skewed the global average to a biologically impossible 107.

…What is causing the skewed ratio: abortion. If the male number in the sex ratio is above 106, it means that couples are having abortions when they find out the mother is carrying a girl…[T]here have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world. Moral horror aside, this is likely to be of very large consequence.

Buzzfeed, Pro-Lifers, and the Streisand Effect

The Streisand Effect is named after an episode where Barbara Streisand attempted to suppress photos of her Malibu house in 2003 and accidentally triggered much more interest in the story than there otherwise would have been. It now refers to any “phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.”

So a couple of weeks ago Personhood USA, which is a somewhat radical, upstart pro-life organization, put up a list on Buzzfeed on 8 Outrageous Things Planned Parenthood Was Caught Doing.

Read moreBuzzfeed, Pro-Lifers, and the Streisand Effect

Should all medical procedures be safe?

George Weigel has an excellent piece over at First Things, On Really Not Getting it.  In it, Weigel discusses media and abortion advocate’s disgust at having any safety regulations on abortion procedures, responds to a WaPo piece that claims, after Gosnell, the evidence of a need for any such safety regulations “is weak,” and makes a few other great points surrounding the debate.

It’s all good (please read it!!), but one of my favorite parts is this:

Marcus noted that, irrespective of what was happening in state capitols, a 1973 Gallup Poll “found 64 percent agreeing ‘that the decision to have an abortion should be made solely by a woman and her physician.’” And here is another of the canards of Those Who Really Don’t Get It.  The abortion decision is most frequently made, not by a woman and “her physician,” but by a frightened woman talking with a “counselor” in a clinic run by an agency like Planned Parenthood, which has a deep financial interest in abortion. That frightened woman, who has often been abandoned by an irresponsible man, is then remanded to an abortion “provider” who is no more “her physician” than he or she is “her hairdresser.”

Bam.  Here’s the link again, so you can check the whole thing out.

abortion_on_demand
& without sanitary conditions!

Wendy Davis and the Sainthood of Planned Parenthood

2013-07-02 Davis

So, America’s conception of Planned Parenthood is really, truly bizarre. This is an organization founded by a racist eugenicist which today has basically two reasons for existence: to prevent pregnancies or end pregnancies. And yet, with copious use of the color pink and little else, the organization has managed to pass itself off as some kind of women’s health organization, despite the fact that, you know, it doesn’t actually provide many medical services at all. Everyone went nuts when Komen temporarily pulled their Planned Parenthood donations because Where are poor women going to get their mammograms!? I don’t know, but since Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer mammograms it’s kind of a weird question. In face, they don’t do any cancer screening of any kind. Why was Komen giving them money again? Who knows, but here’s your pink ribbon. 

Read moreWendy Davis and the Sainthood of Planned Parenthood

Abortion Laws Around the World

Slate has a great set of interactive maps for exploring abortion and contraception laws around the world. One of the stubborn bits of misinformation that I regularly come across (even with otherwise politically informed and aware individuals) is the idea that the United States has moderate laws on abortion that only allow abortions under certain exceptions. This is not true. As the very first selection on the very first map indicates, abortion is legal in the United States for any reason whatsoever.

2013-05-30 Abortion Legality

The useful thing about these maps, of course, is that they come from Slate. I don’t think anyone accuses Slate of having a pro-life slant. Slate, for its part, credits a variety of sources running from ostensibly neutral, like the UN, to the overtly pro-choice, like the Guttmacher Institute. (The Guttmacher Institute is a branch of Planned Parenthood.)

There are other useful maps as well. The second one reinforces the point of the first one: every possible exception category is included in the US (because no reason at all is needed). Farther down, the “Abortion: Laws by state” map has a setting for “Trigger laws” that helpfully illustrates the fact that overturning Roe would not, by itself, make abortion illegal. Only 6 states (including my home of Virginia) have bans that would automatically go into effect if Roe were overturned.

And, just to preempt objections from folks who are familiar with Roe but not with Doe, it was the two court cases working together that created our present circumstance where no reason at all is required for an abortion in the United States. Although Roe ostensibly allows states to enact regulation based on trimester, they are forced to leave open a “health” exception. Doe, handed down the same day as Roe, defined “health” so broadly that basically anything goes and–in addition– left the determination in the hands of the woman’s doctor. Which is to say: the abortionist gets to decide if the abortion is for the woman’s “health”, with no oversight or penalty. This is, in effect, abortion without any restriction whatsoever.

There are some states, of course, that ban late-term abortions, but these bans are in tenuous legal territory. Pennsylvania, where Kermit Gosnell operated his clinic, has a law against late-term abortions without a health exception, but when the PA law was challenged in the Supreme Court (Planned Parenthood v Casey), Planned Parenthood decided not to contest that aspect of the law. Since it was not challenged, it remains on the books. Does that mean late-term abortions are illegal in PA? Well, you tell me. Kermit Gosnell was performing them for decades without any enforcement. He was only ever charged with illegal late-term abortions during his trial for murdering infants after they were born. I haven’t found any prosecution of an abortionist for illegal late-term abortions independent of the death of an adult patient. I would argue that if no one is ever independently charged with violating a law against late-term abortions (even when they obviously conducted thousands and are on trial for other, related charges) it’s safe to conclude that late-term abortions are still legal in practice.

Which brings me to the final map I found interesting. It’s still the “Abortion: Laws by state” map, but this time the “Abortion providers” filter. What this illustrates is how few and far between abortion providers are. The real difficulty in securing an abortion in this country (when it exists) is not about legality. It’s about the fact that so few doctors are willing to perform abortions. To what extent this is from pressure by the pro-life movement vs. the internal psychological toll of killing human beings for a living is a topic I’ll leave for another day. (If you think the psychological toll is not important, however, I suggest you try reading this paper, which gives a pro-choice abortionist’s perspective on the matter.)

[NOTE: This post updated at about 5:30pm Eastern to correct an error. The original post stated that Kermit Gosnell was never charged with illegal late-term abortions, but a friend of mine who attended the trial told me that he was. She also provided this article.]

Douglas Karpen is the New Kermit Gosnell

Aside from wishing that people would simply not talk about Kermit Gosnell at all, pro-choice groups in American politics would really like everyone to understand that Kermit Gosnell was a horrific aberration. As a group, the pro-choice movement tends to circle the wagon around late-term abortionists and idolize them. George Tiller, for example, was considered a hero even before his murder made him a martyr. So, when the late term abortion is legal, you’re a women’s rights crusader and paragon of sacrifice and bravery. But, if you take the exact same fetus and more or less the same method of execution and carry it out outside the womb, then all of a sudden that is something completely and totally different. So: killing human beings inside the womb at (for example) 24 weeks and killing human beings outside the womb (also, for example, at 24 weeks) are basically unrelated practices, as far as the pro-choice movement is concerned. One gets you awards and fame, the other gets you a life-term prison sentence.

APphoto_Abortion Clinic Deaths
Kermit Gosnell, after being sentenced.

The pro-life side is, to put it mildly, rather skeptical of this bright-line distinction.

When pro-choice individuals are honest, of course, they also admit that there’s not much of a distinction at all. Pro-choice philosophers openly call for infanticide (aka “after birth abortion“), so have Planned Parenthood spokespersons, and most notably there’s an extensive article called “Second trimester abortion provision: breaking the silence and changing the discourse” by an abortionist about the personal trauma she feels when carrying out late-term abortions. The truth is undeniable: abortion–and especially late-term abortion–is an act of savage and barbaric violence that dehumanizes everyone concerned: the woman, the abortionist, and of course the unborn (or born, does it really make a difference?) human being.

This may seem judgmental to women in crisis pregnancies, but the pro-life movement has from the earliest days of woman’s suffrage understood that abortion is a means for exploiting women who, because of an unplanned pregnancy, are in an incredibly vulnerable position. Rather than the stereotypical angry abortion clinic protester yelling at women or calling them murderers, the pro-life movement as I have known it my entire life is best summarized by this bumper sticker I once saw: Abortion has two victims: One killed and one wounded.

Today I read tragic news from Texas that confirms the pro-life understanding of abortion (especially late-term abortion) as a dehumanizing practice. WARNING: THIS NEWS IS GRAPHIC. 

Read moreDouglas Karpen is the New Kermit Gosnell

Daily Beast: NARAL = NRA?

This is one of those comparisons that, once made, seems so obvious you can’t believe you didn’t see it before. The NRA is hell-bent on preventing even the most moderate and reasonable gun-control regulation because they believe that any incremental shift today will lead to a gradual erosion of the Second Amendment over time and, to the NRA, there’s nothing more important than the Second Amendment. Well, how about pro-choice groups that oppose even the most moderate and reasonable abortion regulation because they believe that any incremental shift today will lead to a gradual erosion of the right to choose over time. Looks pretty similar, doesn’t it? (I picked out NARAL–the National Abortion Rights Action League–just because of the acronym is somewhat similar to the NRAs.)

What’s really surprising, however, is that this comparison is being drawn in a piece at The Daily Beast, of all places.

2013-05-10 ProAbortion NRA

The piece, by Kirsten Powers, is obviously written from a pro-life slant. After all, one of her main points is the frank assertion that “late-term abortion is infanticide”. That’s an explosive-enough charge that I’m sure it’s going to make the entire article radioactive. The problem is: she’s pretty obviously right. In the first place, serious pro-choice thinkers and activists can’t tell the difference themselves. That’s why plenty of pro-choice philosophers like Peter Singer (there are others, too) build on the legacy of Judith Jarvis Thomson to openly argue for infanticide. But it’s not just academics, Planned Parenthood representatives will say the same thing, and Gosnell’s inability to see the significant of the before/after line when it comes to birth is not unique among abortionists who perform late-term abortions. So, explosive as the accusation may sound, it’s born out in reality.

But even setting aside that particular argument, Powers’ is clearly relatively moderate on this issue. She believes life begins at conception, but has also never voted for anyone but a Democrat and says this proves “overturning Roe v. Wade is not one of my priorities.” What isn’t moderate, however, is current American law. Powers draws the contrast with Europe to make that point:

But medical advances since Roe v. Wade have made it clear to me that late-term abortion is not a moral gray area, and we need to stop pretending it is. No six-months-pregnant woman is picking out names for her “fetus.” It’s a baby. Let’s stop playing Orwellian word games. We are talking about human beings here.

How is this OK? Even liberal Europe gets this. In FranceGermanyItaly, andNorway, abortion is illegal after 12 weeks. In addition to the life-of-mother exception, they provide narrow health exceptions that require approval from multiple doctors or in some cases going before a board. In the U.S., if you suggest such stringent regulation and oversight of later-term abortions, you are tarred within seconds by the abortion rights movement as a misogynist who doesn’t “trust women.”

As with the gun-control issue, the fundamental problem seems to be Constitutionality. When an American law is questioned in a way that makes people think the Constitution is directly involved, the stakes go through the roof. Gun-control legislation clearly fits the bill because of the Second Amendment, and also the well-publicized statements from many leaders of the gun-control movement that their ultimate aim is to confiscate and ban virtually all civilian weapons. Until Roe v Wade, abortion wasn’t a Constitutional issue, and across the country in the 1970s the democratic process was working to liberalize the laws in fits and starts in the usual process of moderation that would likely have resulted in laws similar to what exist in Europe. But Roe v Wade, in further evidence that it was one of the worst SCOTUS decisions in history, short-circuited this democratic legislative process. It handed the pro-choice side everything they could have asked for and more and, as an ironic consequence, meant that from that moment forward the pro-choice side had nothing to win and everything to lose.

Which leads us directly to Gosnell.

There has never been evidence of a back-alley abortionists prior to Roe who operated with the same callous disregard for humanity (not to mention racism) of Kermit Gosnell. To the extent that pre-Roe abortions were dangerous, it was a reflection of overall dangerous surgical practices and not the legality of abortion. No, the real horrors or back-alley abortions have only happened after and as a result of Roe v. Wade.

Gosnell and Abortion, Part 2 of 3

Yesterday I wrote the first in a series of 3 posts discussing why the mainstream media has been reluctant to cover the Kermit Gosnell case. Rather than suggest that there’s some kind of conspiracy or willful deception, my belief is that journalists (who are overwhelmingly pro-choice) are simply unable to confront a case that threatens to upend the misconceptions and doublethink required to support the status quo of abortion in America. For example, most people do not realize how radical the current laws are. The vast majority of abortions are for birth control. They are elective. And, while late term abortions are rare, they are effectively unregulated. Only in the most extreme circumstances–where a doctor injures or kills a pregnant woman–is there any really legal danger to the abortionist.

But there’s a simpler and much more dangerous truth that the Gosnell case would threaten to drag into the limelight. Before I introduce it, however, I ought to include a warning that I will be quoting from some very graphic accounts of abortion. There are no photos or videos or audio, and my source is an abortion doctor who remains adamantly pro-choice to this day and was writing in defense of her career, but that doesn’t make it any easier to read. Having thus warned you, let’s get right to the simple reality:

2. Abortion is a violent way of killing human beings 

Read moreGosnell and Abortion, Part 2 of 3