For Abortion, Against George W. Bush!
By Randall K. O'Bannon, Ph.D.
NRL-ETF Director of Education & Research
Planned Parenthood's 2002-2003 annual report has babies on the cover and pictures of smiling kids sprinkled throughout the text. However, Planned Parenthood clinics are hardly a welcome place for children.
Planned Parenthood (PPFA) continues to be the nation's largest abortion chain, with 125 affiliates, 866 "health centers," and "a presence in all 50 states" and the nation's capital. There is every indication that PPFA intends to remain the trendsetter for the abortion industry.
"Tell Your Story, Change the World" tells us that 2002-2003 represented yet another year in which Planned Parenthood clinics performed a record number of abortions. PPFA takes in over three quarters of a billion dollars in revenue, a good portion of it coming from abortion.
The report is filled with a steady drumbeat of complaints about the Bush Administration and the trumpeting of a historic vote by Planned Parenthood's membership to get involved in the upcoming presidential election. These are just a few of the "highlights" from PPFA's latest annual report.
More Than Just Numbers
There were a staggering 227,375 abortions performed at Planned Parenthood clinics in 2002, more than 14,000 more than the previous year, when PPFA set a record. This means that more than one out of every six abortions performed in America - - 17% - - is done at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
According to statistics released by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), Planned Parenthood's "special affiliate" for "reproductive health research," abortions have declined in the U.S. every year but one from 1990 to 2000 (the last year for which national statistics were available). This represents an overall decrease of 18% in those 11 years. By contrast, since 1990 PPFA abortions have increased in 11 of the 13 years Planned Parenthood has reported statistics. The overall increase for PPFA is 76% during the period.
Statistics for 2002 show that Planned Parenthood is far more committed to abortion than to parenthood. Planned Parenthood did see 15,860 prenatal clients in 2002, but this is very small when set against the more than 200,000 abortions. Put another way, only 6.5% of PPFA's clients receiving prenatal care. The remaining 93.5% were aborted.
The record with adoption services is even worse. Planned Parenthood lists no adoption services being performed in house, but says it provided 1,963 adoption referrals in 2002. To put things in perspective, that translates into nearly 116 abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics for every adoption referral.
Your Tax Dollars at Work: Where the Money Comes From
Despite what PPFA President Gloria Feldt called a "tough year," Planned Parenthood reported $766.6 million in total revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003.
Of that total, $288.2 million (about 36%) came from "Clinic Income." The proportion that came from abortion is hard to determine. Planned Parenthood clinics advertise and perform different types of abortions at different stages, with later abortions and certain kinds of procedures costing more.
But if one took the figure of $372 given elsewhere by AGI as the going rate for a standard, first-trimester suction curettage abortion and assumed all abortions reported at PPFA clinics were that type, Planned Parenthood would have taken in at least $84.5 million of its "Clinic Income" for abortion alone. Undoubtedly, the real figure is higher.
At $254.4 million, taxpayer dollars in the form of "Government Grants and Contracts" accounted for about a third of Planned Parenthood's income. While federal money comes with restrictions prohibiting its use for abortion (some state money does not), every dollar Planned Parenthood receives from the government frees up other funds for the performance and promotion of abortion. Planned Parenthood fights to keep that revenue stream flowing.
The annual report brags, "PPFA helped achieve a funding increase of $10 million, for a total of $273 million, for Title X, America's family planning program, despite anti-family planning efforts to cripple the program."
"Private Contributions and Bequests" of $228.1 million accounted for the remaining 30% of PPFA income in fiscal 2003. Big-name donors such as the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and the Open Society Institute (founded by international financier George Soros) kicked in funding for special PPFA initiatives such as the "Mifepristone Affiliate Readiness Project." This project trained Planned Parenthood employees and helped cover advertising for chemical abortions using RU486. That project, Planned Parenthood proudly details, involved some 48,500 abortions at 172 of its clinics and at well over half (74) of its 125 affiliates.
Where the Money Goes
On the expense side of the ledger, $463.7 million went toward "Medical Services," which would theoretically include such things as pregnancy tests, abortionist salaries, etc. The pages the annual report cites in reference to the $39.5 million in expenses devoted to "Public Policy" refer to efforts at preserving Title X (see above), protecting Roe v. Wade, and projects such as the "Power the Promise Campaign" and the "Pro-Choice Organizing Project." These were "to preserve and expand access to all reproductive services and to urge the pro-choice majority of Americans to voice their views."
"Services to the Field of Family Planning" at $23.5 million and "Services to Affiliates" at $18 million appear to include Planned Parenthood's considerable media spending on publications, advertising, and the Internet. The plannedparenthood.org web site logged more than 720,000 visits a month. It promotes and defends Planned Parenthood services like abortion, containing "fact sheets" and media releases on abortion, as well as full contact information for local Planned Parenthood affiliates.
"Action alerts" from the Planned Parenthood Action Network and "Legislative Action Center" provide "activists an easy way to contact members of Congress via e-mail, fax, or postal mail." Last year's action network included some 365,000 "activists."
According to the PPFA annual report, Planned Parenthood's teenwire.com web site gives the approximately 400,000 teens who visit the site each month "honest and medically accurate sexuality and relationship information - - in their own language - - so they can make healthy, responsible choices." This includes not only abortion "information" ignoring or downplaying abortion's physical and psychological risks, but instructions on how teens in states with parental notification laws may be able to avoid telling their parents if they're having an abortion.
Mischief at Home and Abroad
"Victories" in the courts celebrated by Planned Parenthood include quashing a Delaware law mandating a 24-hour waiting period and informed consent, a South Dakota law requiring that abortions over 12 weeks be performed at hospitals, and a South Carolina law creating a "'Choose Life" license plate and donating fees to crisis pregnancy centers. Why a group that is purportedly devoted to "choice" and receiving substantial government funding would object to laws promoting or funding other choices than abortion is not explained.
Complaints about the "anti-choice" Bush Administration and its pro-life policies are scattered throughout the report. According to the report, "The 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade presented the opportunity to shed light on the current threats to reproductive rights, underscore the importance of taking action to protect what we hold dear, and highlight Planned Parenthood leadership and advocacy roles at the national level, and through affiliates, in communities nationwide." PPFA says its publication of "George W. Bush's War on Women" and an editorial on that theme in the New York Times "shifted the landscape for understanding reproductive rights today."
Planned Parenthood identifies itself as "an authoritative voice" in stories "exposing the Bush administration's ideology-instead-of-science efforts" and touts the "significant opposition" to "anti-choice" Bush judicial nominees Charles Pickering, Priscilla Owen, and Miguel Estrada generated by its www.saveROE.com web site and the Planned Parenthood Action Network.
Gloria Feldt says a vote by the PPFA membership to allow the Planned Parenthood Action Fund to endorse presidential candidates "will be remembered as a critical historical moment when we unleashed all our options to change the political and social climate for choice."
Looking abroad, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America - International (PPFA-I; formerly Family Planning International Assistance) helped Planned Parenthood export abortion overseas. All told, Planned Parenthood says that "nearly 13,000 women received safe abortion services and post-abortion care" through the services of PPFA-I last year. These do not appear to have been counted with the 227,375 abortions reported by American affiliates.
New PPFA-I projects in Nepal focused on a law which broadly legalized abortion. Funding from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation helped train 42 doctors and nurses in Myanmar on the use of Manual Vacuum Aspiration. MVA is a technique which allows practitioners to use a vacuum syringe to perform early abortions in areas where there is no electrical power. The report says that more than 80 "health providers" from Cameroon, Kenya, and Sudan were also trained in the use of MVA and post-abortion care.
Words of Bitter Irony
Once again, Planned Parenthood's report is filled with statements that would be amusing ironies if it weren't for the all too real, horrific consequences.
In the introduction, the report states, "Planned Parenthood believes that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, that every child should be wanted and loved, and that women should be in charge of their own destinies." Planned Parenthood's policies demonstrate that this doesn't say what it appears to say.
Given Planned Parenthood's opposition to spousal consent laws, etc., the "everyone" who has "the right to choose when or whether to have a child" obviously doesn't mean "everyone."
The statement that "every child should be wanted and loved" either is not meant to apply to the unborn child in the womb or it really means that love is to be reserved only for those children who are "wanted" (whatever that means). Or "love" includes killing.
Planned Parenthood's fights against "right to know" laws indicate that its statement that "women should be in charge of their own destinies" is valid only up to the point at which these women might be exposed to information on fetal development, abortion risks, and alternatives to abortion. At this point, Planned Parenthood assumes charge of these women's destinies and wants the sole right to control what those entering its clinics see or hear.
The report repeats "The Planned Parenthood Promise" of "creating hope for humanity" without ever explaining how hope might be found in clinics that make the slaughter of humanity their business. The report says, "The world is in desperate need of the kind of positive, life-affirming change that the Planned Parenthood mission, vision, and promise bring to humanity." How is it supposed to be that abortion, the putting to death of innocent human life, could sensibly be called "positive" or "life-affirming"?
The report lists 13 beliefs that are part of what Planned Parenthood terms "Our Vision for 2025." Some of these are innocuous (#9, "We believe the future is global and that we are part of a global movement"); some are curious (#11, "We believe in leadership based upon collaboration rather than hierarchy"). But others reveal a fundamental moral (and ethical) blindness that is staggering.
Beliefs #1, "We believe in the right to sexual and reproductive self-determination that is non-coercive, non-exploitive, and responsible"; #3, "We believe in trusting individuals and providing them with the information they need to make well-informed decisions about sexuality, family planning, and childbearing"; and #4, "We believe that women should have an equal place at life's table, and be respected as moral decision makers," are contradicted by Planned Parenthood's long opposition to "right to know" laws, as mentioned above.
Belief #8, "We believe in inclusion...," is difficult to square with the violent exclusion Planned Parenthood enforces on unborn people.
Planned Parenthood seems oblivious to the bitter irony of its own words. In Belief #12, the reader is told, "We believe in acting courageously, especially as allies with those who have little or no voice and little or no power," somehow missing the fact that the unborn, possibly more than any other group, epitomize "those who have little or no voice and little or no power."
The height of arrogance is perhaps found in Belief #6. Planned Parenthood states, "We believe in passion for change, for justice, for easing the plight of others, for caring, for living our convictions, for confronting inhumane acts." What could possibly be more unjust, more uncaring, more inhumane than the destruction of innocent unborn life? What change could be more important?
Planned Parenthood doesn't seem to have a clue. And this is the group that later says it wants to be "an authoritative voice on bioethical standards related to reproductive health and sexuality"?
Is Abortion What We Need in "Tough Times"?
Planned Parenthood's words are troubling enough. But its latest annual report shows how central abortion is to the Planned Parenthood agenda and the lengths to which the organization will go to realize its warped and deadly vision.
In the introduction to the report, Gloria Feldt mentions what a "tough year" it has been, and that "this took a toll on philanthropic support."
Later in the introduction, in a dialogue between Feldt and PPFA chairperson La Don Love, Ms. Love responds to Feldt's enthusiasm for Planned Parenthood's nationwide expansion by noting that abortion clients were up a significant percentage as well. Then she says, as if it logically followed, "When times are tough, people need the services of Planned Parenthood more than ever."
What people need in trying times is hardly a merchant of death offering abortion as a solution to individual or societal problems. Death cannot be the answer. Hope for humanity lies not in sacrifice of our children, but in the celebration of the life and dignity in every human being, in the efforts to work things out, to pitch in, to support, to forgive, to give life a fighting chance.
Where there is life, there is hope. Abortion only crushes whatever hope there is.