How Planned Parenthood is Defending and Expanding its Abortion Empire
PP 2014-2015 Annual Report Analysis, Part 2
By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research
Yesterday, we looked at how Planned Parenthood has been able to keep its revenues up and its abortion business steady even while the overall number of abortions continues to decline and PPFA closed and merged affiliates.
Maybe you’d think there wasn’t much more to say once you’ve identified the single organization responsible for nearly one in every three abortions performed in the U.S. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is more than just a “reproductive health care provider” with a sizable and profitable abortion sideline. Their latest annual report not only shows how abortion is a huge profit center for their business, but is also a chief focus of PPFA’s public and political advocacy campaigns.
And take note: PPFA is aiming to expand its abortion empire in America.
Challenging pro-life, pro-woman laws
Planned Parenthood lists its advocacy on behalf of “safe and legal abortion” as one of its top achievements in 2015 and headlines early in the 2014-2015 annual report state that “We protected and expanded access to abortion.”
PPFA trumpets court victories against clinic regulations and physician requirements in Indiana, Louisiana, and Wisconsin. These laws were designed to make sure (a) that facilities were safe, sterile, and capable of accommodating emergency equipment or personnel in the event of a medical emergency and (b) to ensure that the abortionist handling those cases could accompany his patients to area hospitals if needed by having admitting privileges.
In discussing these laws, Planned Parenthood expresses no concerns for the health and safety of women having abortions at its clinics. Instead the report expressed concerns about how such laws “would have severely limited the practices of abortion providers as well as abortion facilities and made it much harder for women to access safe and legal abortion care.”
What about that whole “pro-choice” mantra where women are presented with all their options? Planned Parenthood proudly mentions that its attorneys were able to block an ultrasound law in North Carolina that would have made sure that women visiting its clinics were able to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby before having an abortion.
Despite statements elsewhere that ultrasounds before abortions are “the medical standard” to confirm gestational age (Commentary 2/22/12), Planned Parenthood says in the annual report that these ultrasounds “had no medical purpose and would have only served to shame women accessing basic health care.” If Planned Parenthood was already performing an ultrasound, it seems the only real danger here was women possibly changing their minds, depriving Planned Parenthood of an abortion fee.
Doing abortions without doctors
Planned Parenthood embraces the concept of “webcam abortions,” celebrating a victory in the Iowa Supreme Court which struck down regulations put in place by the Iowa Board of Medicine that essentially banned the dangerous procedure. Planned Parenthood decries the fact that was such a law in effect, women in rural areas would have had to make multiple trips hundreds of miles from home to get chemical abortions. But PPFA chooses not to draw attention to the fact that the women would never be physically examined by a doctor, that their case might be managed by only a certified medical assistant with a couple of years of community college, and that the only help they might be able to access if they encountered problems was a visit to the local emergency room, however far away that might be.
You also won’t find mention in the report that women taking these chemical abortifacients have bled to death, experienced uterine ruptures from ectopic pregnancies, or contracted rare fatal infections.
Though there is no indication that new legislation expanding the ranks of potential abortionists in California made abortion any safer (data actually indicates it made things worse), this does not stop PPFA from praising the “advocacy work” of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California in getting the law passed.
As NRL News Today reported, the California PPFA affiliate was instrumental in helping pass a law authorizing nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and physician assistants to perform first trimester surgical abortions. PPFA said this raised “abortion access to a gold standard” and increased the number of “providers.”
The truth is that abortionists are harder and harder to come by, even in states with high abortion rates like California. It is simply inconsistent with medicine’s healing mandate, and good doctors don’t want to be associated with it.
But Planned Parenthood is nothing if not adept at improvising even if that lowers medical standards so that they can find more (and lesser skilled) personnel to keep their profitable abortion clinics open.
No limit to the killing
For Planned Parenthood, even a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, when medical science has demonstrated that unborn babies can feel pain, is too much. PPFA says that “women should not have to justify their personal medical decisions,” and that these are “complex,” “complicated” decisions that women need to work out with their doctors, implying these are primarily medical determinations.
But newspaper factcheckers have noted that women’s reasons for later abortions are similar to their reasons for earlier ones, thus exposing the special medical justification as the red herring that it is.
PPFA neglects to mention in its annual report that it has a business interest in keeping late abortions legal. A recent count showed at least a dozen of its clinics performing abortions at 20 weeks or more.
Creating a pro-abortion culture
Planned Parenthood’s advocacy is not confined to Congress, the courts, or the clinics. Sprinkled throughout the latest annual report are spunky references to various music, film, or rock stars, trying to make it clear that Planned Parenthood is popular with the “in crowd.”
Various well known celebrities tweeted messages with Planned Parenthood’s #IstandWithPP hashtag. PPFA proudly notes when Hollywood consults with them on films “to ensure they handled issues related to unintended pregnancy and pregnancy options, including abortion” accurately and sensitively.”
That “sensitivity” does not appear to include due consideration of the rights, the humanity, of the unborn.
The report observes that PPFA arranged for MTV’s Virgin Territory to film at one of their clinics and that they were able to get very political actress Lena Dunham to feature a story line “destigmatizing abortion” on her HBO show Girls. They also partnered with Dunham, who called those working at Planned Parenthood her “heroes,” on her nine-city book tour.
Tired of being on the defensive, part of the abortion industry’s new campaign to “fight abortion stigma” is to insist that there is nothing problematic, morally or otherwise, about abortion. With the “1 in 3 Campaign” (so called for a claim that one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime), PPFA president Cecile Richards “led the way by sharing her own abortion story,” thereby “amplif[ying] the voices of Planned Parenthood patients and supporters who have had an abortion.”
A more efficient killing machine
Elsewhere in the annual report, Planned Parenthood talks about how it has streamlined patient access, making it easier to get appointments on-line, increased clinic productivity by reducing patient wait times, trained new affiliate CEO’s to help them “build and leverage leadership skills,” and “helped several affiliates return to financial health to ensure patients continued to receive the services they need.”
Though these may seem like minor administrative tweaks and technology upgrades, these are the sorts of adjustments that help Planned Parenthood not only stay economically viable but also maintain and expand market share.
Efforts to reach out to Latino and African American communities, on which the organization depends for a lot of its business, are also a critical part of Planned Parenthood’s expansion plan.
Though this latest annual report covers the period before the release of the videos from the Center for Medical Progress revealing Planned Parenthood’s connection to harvesting intact fetal organs, it is clear that this exposure has unnerved the organization.
In the opening letter, PPFA president Cecile Richards and chair Jill Lafer say that Planned Parenthood has been “tested in every way imaginable – and have emerged stronger than ever.”
They say “no one would bother attacking Planned Parenthood if we didn’t matter. Planned Parenthood’s resilient staff and clinicians are making a huge difference in the field of reproductive and sexual health care and in the cultural landscape as well.”
What they fail to consider is that the problem people have with Planned Parenthood is that they kill babies, for money, with a cavalier indifference to unborn human life–and they have in mind to do more of it.
PPFA is committed to that cause, now and forever. Their place as the nation’s top abortion performer and promoter, and the fact that they do what they do not only with the official blessing of the U.S. government, but hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars, is why they have been “tested in every way.”
Killing and “health care” just don’t mix.