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Does Everyone Want Less Abortion?



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“Preventing the incidence of abortion in America is something that everyone on all sides wants to do.” Or so Professor Marty Lederman of Georgetown University Law Center asserted at a recent debate over Obamacare’s HHS mandate that was hosted by the Federalist Society. A feel-good statement like “everyone wants less abortion” may resonate with the average person who considers themselves “pro-choice.” But the claim proves false when it comes to the policymakers responsible for the mandate. 

Planned Parenthood itself has bragged that it helped “shape” Obamacare. The nation’s largest abortion chain was front and center in the HHS mandate’s creation.

Not only was Planned Parenthood invited as one of the select few organizations to influence the Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel tasked with deciding what “preventive services” would be mandated under Obamacare, its connections to members of the decision-making IOM panel run deep. In addition to affiliations with other pro-abortion advocacy groups, several IOM panelists were members, and even chairmen, of Planned Parenthood boards.

Planned Parenthood has an obvious financial interest in abortions. It profits, literally, from nearly 900 abortions each and every day.

Already performing roughly one-third of the abortions in the U.S. annually, Planned Parenthood actively works to increase its abortion side of business. A nation-wide mandate that every Planned Parenthood affiliate perform abortions took effect in 2013. To bring its abortion business to new areas without also bringing a doctor for in-person examinations and appropriate after-care, its clinics use “telemed,” dispensing abortion drugs to patients after a Skype session with an off-location doctor.

Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report boasts about its efforts to eschew physician involvement altogether. Describing its agenda as “on offense in the states,” Planned Parenthood celebrated a new California law allowing non-physicians to perform abortions. A lowered standard of care to further expand its abortion business draws cheers from the abortion giant. The report also announced Planned Parenthood will “press forward” with such “proactive legislative agenda around the country.”

Its agenda is an extreme commitment to abortion. Planned Parenthood performs late-term abortions, vociferously opposes all regulations of abortion, and even lobbies against protection for infants born alive after abortion. In March 2013, attempting to defeat a bill that required abortionists to provide medical care to an infant who survives an abortion, Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates’ lobbyist testified that the decision to kill an infant who survives a failed abortion should be left up to the woman seeking an abortion and the abortionist. And just last week, using bold, caps, and red, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California raised a sound of alarm in a “**FLOOR ALERT**” memo to Members of the California Legislature, announcing it would score against legislators voting for a sex-selective abortion ban.

Planned Parenthood has recently beefed up its radical abortion business. It has performed — and profited from — over five million abortions in the last four decades. But at its current pace, Planned Parenthood performs close to one million abortions every three years.

Planned Parenthood’s abortion business has grown bigger as its overall operations have stagnated, and even declined. In 1991, the organization performed 132,314 abortions and claimed “more than 3.2 million individuals” were seen in its clinics nationwide. That means roughly 4.2 percent of the patients at its clinics received abortions at the time. Today, Planned Parenthood claims a client base of “nearly 3 million” and openly acknowledges that it performs abortions for 11-to-12 percent of its patients.

While we still await its reported figure for 2013, the first year its national abortion mandate was enforced, the burgeoning abortion-centric nature of Planned Parenthood is clear. The 327,166 abortions performed in 2012 were only slightly less than the record-high 333,964 abortions it reported committing in 2011.

Deferring to Planned Parenthood as the “expert” on abortion prevention is akin to asking the fox to build a security system for the hen house. The facts show that Planned Parenthood’s rapid abortion business growth results from Planned Parenthood’s increasing focus on performing abortions. Planned Parenthood wants more abortion.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a long time special affiliate of Planned Parenthood, also consulted with the IOM on the creation of the Obamacare mandate. Guttmacher’s unsubstantiated theories are often cited as facts rather than receiving the scrutiny they deserve, even when they are discredited or questioned by Guttmacher’s own reports.

For example, the institute routinely attributes the decline in abortion rates to more and better contraceptive use. But its latest report, “Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2011,” notes that between 2001 and 2008, an era of abortion decline, the unintended pregnancy rate increased while the abortion rate decreased. It appears that more women with “unintended” pregnancies chose to carry their babies to term.

Clearly only wishful thinking, Professor Lederman’s assertion that “everybody wants less abortion” also distracts from an important part of the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases that are expected to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court by the end of June. Even the government concedes that the drugs and devices at the heart of the dispute in these cases can act by ending human life. The HHS mandate violates the religious beliefs of the plaintiffs, the Green and Hahn families, for the same reason an all-out abortion-coverage mandate would: It requires that they fund and facilitate drugs and devices that have known life-ending effects. 

— Anna Franzonello is staff counsel at Americans United for Life



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