By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL-ETF Director of Education and Research
You’d think that having childbirth preparation classes would be commonplace at an organization devoted to parenthood. But it is big enough news at Planned Parenthood, which is known a lot more for the 300,000+ abortions it performs every year than the handful of services they deliver to women who want to give birth to their children
We don’t know how many of Planned Parenthood’s nearly 800 “health centers” offer childbirth classes. Just guessing, not many.
But we do know that the announcement that Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ (PPRM) Denver clinic would be offering “childbirth preparation classes” was big enough news that the 3/28/12 press release was posted on Planned Parenthood’s national website.
PPRM says that it began offering childbirth preparation classes in 2010 to participants in its Prenatal Plus program in conjunction with a local midwifery group, but decided to expand the program to the general public, specifically hoping to reach out to those who were not accessing birthing classes elsewhere.
PPRM says it is “committed to empowering individuals and families in the communities we serve to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health, including childbirth…”
One press release notwithstanding what does a look at PPRM’s history combined with some hard facts tell us about PPRM’s real “commitments”?
Despite what it says about empowering individuals to make informed choices, the “Our History” section of PPRM’s website proudly notes the “key role” the group played in the defeat of a “Woman’s Right to Know” initiative in 2000.
Such laws insure that women are exposed to information about their child’s development, abortion risks such as future infertility and breast cancer, and alternatives that would be better for both mother and child. This is critical medical and practical information to any mother struggling with her decision, but hardly the sort of information that an organization with a vested financial interest in the promotion and performance of abortion wants going to its customers.
And PPRM does abortions. A lot of them. While abortions are not performed at the Denver facility where the childbirth classes are held, women are referred to a large, central Planned Parenthood clinic in the city that does abortions and serves PPRM health centers in the area.
How big an investment in abortion? According to PPRM’s latest Annual Report, 10,408 of its clients received “abortion services” in 2010. In other words about one out of every 11 women clients who walked through the door of a PPRM clinic had an abortion.
The PPRM Annual Report notes the childbirth education classes, but they do not show up among the enumerated services listed on the “Medical Services” page.
We know that nationally, very few Planned Parenthood facilities offer prenatal services. A January 2011 PPFA factsheet gave the number of prenatal “clients” for the whole organization at 7,021 for 2009.
Making it appear as if they are doing more, their most recent national Annual Report counted prenatal “services” instead of clients — not the number of people but the number of visits they made — thereby more than quadrupling the number for 2010. (They also use a variation of this technique to make it appear that abortion is a far less important part of what they do than is actually the case — see www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2012/02/answering-deceptive-arguments-made-by-planned-parenthood).
Both numbers are still dwarfed by the number of abortions performed at Planned Parenthood clinics in 2010 – 329,445!
The numbers show that, at present, childbirth education and prenatal care at Planned Parenthood are little more than novelties, a gesture in the direction of popular respectability. The real bread and butter, and the political passion, is still abortion.
If Planned Parenthood wanted to move away from abortion to childbirth, that would be news. But the facts on the ground continue to say otherwise.
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