Politics & Policy

Planned Parenthood Says It Helps the Marginalized. Don’t Believe a Word of It.

Demonstrators hold placards during a Planned Parenthood rally outside the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, April 5, 2017. (Ilana Panich-Linsman/Reuters)
Poor women need better solutions than abortion.

For Planned Parenthood’s new president, Leana Wen, abortion seems to represent social status and access to what’s best in society. “I say that we should all have the freedom to exercise our own choice, recognizing that choice is predicated on privilege,” she told CNN recently. This is typical Planned Parenthood propaganda, targeting the poor and disenfranchised in our society.Planned Parenthood insists that if you’re low-income, nonwhite, or jobless, then abortion is the right answer for you. In the same interview with CNN, Wen went on to say, “That’s why we need to move beyond these labels of ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-life,’ because pro-choice implies that everyone has equal access to choice when we know that that’s not true.”Here’s what is not true: that pregnancy is a disease you can cure with abortion. That canard is basically how Planned Parenthood sells its deadly product — as “healthcare” — without addressing the deeper issues of a woman considering abortion.

When a woman of lower socioeconomic status has an abortion, does she suddenly move up in society? Unfortunately not. Does a student facing an unintended pregnancy while in college get her loans forgiven when she has an abortion? Unfortunately not. Instead, abortion creates a whole new list of problems.

I know firsthand that abortion does not magically cure all the uncertainty and challenges that come with an unintended pregnancy. I was not in poverty when I confronted my own. However, I was faced with the lie that I would become poor and unsuccessful if I had a child outside of marriage while I was in school. My abortion did not get me out of a toxic relationship. I still had student loans, and it created other health issues that I still deal with many years later.

This is something I am not alone in, either. Many post-abortive women will tell you that they were shamed and silenced for years, enduring more detrimental problems than they faced before the abortion.

Planned Parenthood also harps on more systemic barriers for women with low finances. Wen states that “wealthy people of privilege have been able to make choices when communities of color, communities that are low-income, have faced dramatic barriers to care and systematic racism.”   Similarly, the argument that defunding Planned Parenthood will hurt women of color or women in poverty is predicated on the idea that Planned Parenthood actually helps women of color or women in poverty.

But that is not true. The organization gives poor women abortions; it does not help them find jobs or enhance their skills. Put simply, Planned Parenthood treats women, especially poor and minority women, as if they don’t deserve anything better than abortion.

The group famously tweeted that abortion is “safer for black women than giving birth.” It’s actually not possible to make such a comparison — while childbirth is tracked in the U.S., abortion is not — but the group is certainly correct that women of color have a higher maternal mortality rate than white women do. But Planned Parenthood isn’t trying to solve that problem by addressing the underlying issues, including high blood pressure and medical professionals who don’t listen to women when they say they are in pain. Instead, they say, “Just have an abortion.” What an insult to these women.  The abortion Goliath also hurts women’s health by using money that could go to pro-life pregnancy centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Helping women takes communities, with resources and action plans.

When an abortion-determined women steps inside an abortion facility, she should know her income doesn’t determine whether she can make a life-affirming choice. Hundreds of thousands of pregnancy-resource centers exist around the country to provide such options. Income, race, and personal crisis don’t add up to a reason to end a life. If Planned Parenthood truly wanted to help woman in marginalized communities, it would provide parenting resources, job training, or low-income housing arrangements. Providing better solutions than abortion is how we truly help women.

Ally Bowlin, a post-abortive writer and speaker, is the national programs coordinator for Students for Life of America.

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