More than ever Planned Parenthood is on the defensive

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. This editorial appears in the October digital edition of National Right to Life News at Please be sure to share this, and the other stories and commentaries, using your social media contacts.

editpicMy, how things can change, how life (and the fate of the purveyors of death) can turn on a dime.

You recall PPFA President Cecile Richards’ September 29 testimony before the House Oversight Committee which extended almost five hours . While we punctured the myths and bogus analogies and feigned ignorance, plenty of media outlets tripped over their tongues in panting admiration for Richards.

If you believed their stories, which could have come off the PPFA website, Richards so carried the day that the only question remaining was would the House Oversight Committee have the good sense to pack up its bags.

But that was then….

Since that performance (and Richards was slick), PPFA’s president, who makes over a half-million dollars a year, decided that the largest abortion provider in the world would no longer accept reimbursement for the fetal tissue (a term which includes whole body parts) it provides to medical researchers.

Not you understand that Planned Parenthood was operating from a position of weakness or was conceding by its change in policy that it had done anything wrong. No, not at all, we were assured.

In her letter to the NIH, Richards doubled down on her claims that PPFA “adheres to the highest legal, medical, and ethical standards” as it scavenges tissue and body parts from aborted babies.

Okay, then why the change?

“[I]n order to completely debunk the disingenuous argument that our opponents have been using.” Once that “smokescreen” is removed, Richards wrote, PPFA will be able to push “forward with our important work on behalf of millions of women, men, and young people.”

Media outlets dutifully parroted the line that this was a brilliant stroke which would put PPFA (so to speak) on the high moral ground. Of course, it did nothing of the sort.

PPFA will still harvest organs out of the goodness of its institutional heart, supplying a “service” that women want–aka “preserving the ability of our patients to donate tissue.”

Of course that is hokum as well. As we have written before, look at the consent form and listen to what various PPFA officials said on the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress.

Women aren’t beating the walls down to “donate” their baby’s remains. They are at their most vulnerable and the staff preys on that weakness to convince them that their baby’s organs can cure everything from Alzheimer’s to the common cold.

Also, as we reported in NRL News Today, while Richards keeps talking about how few PPFA clinics are currently involved, at least prior to the videos, affiliates were being given the green light to join in.

All this is taking place while carefully constructed myths are being exposed, one by one. As we have written, even the Washington Post recognizes that PPFA’s assertion that “Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services” is “misleading.”

PPFA’s claim was given “three Pinocchios.

”Pinocchios refer to how deceptive an assertion is, with four Pinocchios representing the highest degree of distortion. Three Pinocchios means (according to the Post) that a statement has “ Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”

Likewise on Richards’ previous assertion that PPFA provided mammograms (which more recently she admitted was not the case). That doesn’t stop supporters from recycling the myth that PPFA “provides” mammograms.

In explaining how this also received Three Pinocchios, Erin Aitcheson wrote that the Post factchecker

Ye Hee Lee suggested using a more “accurate term” such as access. All together now, “…women have ‘access’ to mammograms via Planned Parenthood.” Ye Hee Lee admitted, though, that “access” is still “slippery language.”

What’s more, Ye Hee Lee admitted that mammograms aren’t even a core service that Planned Parenthood provides [BTW, abortion is a “core” service]. “So, when people talk about Planned Parenthood clients who need mammography referrals the most,” she wrote, “they are referring to a small percentage of total patients.”

So only a fraction of Planned Parenthood’s clientele need the mammograms it doesn’t provide. Got it.

Because of the slippery language of “access.” Planned Parenthood supporters were awarded three Pinocchios.

On top of all this there is (from their perspective) the worrisome declining support for PPFA, as measured by public opinion polls. A NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll in late September found that PPFA is viewed favorably by 47% of Americans and unfavorably by 31%.

As National Review Online’s Ramesh Ponnuru reminds us, “In 1989, Gallup found that 82 percent of Americans had a favorable impression” of Planned Parenthood. That is the benchmark against which all recent numbers can be measured.

As Carol Tobias notes in her President’s column on page three,

Are Planned Parenthood affiliates making money from the sale of body parts from these babies? Are they manipulating the abortion procedure so as to keep the baby’s body in better condition for harvesting organs and tissue? Are they getting “consent” from the women whose babies are being killed and harvested for parts? Several congressional committees are investigating these questions and more. I look forward to their official findings.

There is all this, and much more to come. Far from “turning the corner” or “turning the tables,” PPFA is in more hot water than ever before.