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Published: December 17, 2012 6:16 pm to Opinion Column

Implications of Planned Parenthood’s abortion mandate and splitting affiliates

In late December of 2010, news was announced regarding Planned Parenthood’s decision to require all affiliates to have at least one abortion center. LifeNews covered the announcement, after it was confirmed by Planned Parenthood in an interview. The article also referred to a dispute with a Texas affiliate with Planned Parenthood. I will admit I was not aware of the news at the time. And besides, at the end of 2010, the start of this mandate, 2013, seemed far off, even if still troubling. Now, however, we have almost approached that time.

forecepts

File photo: Surgical forceps like the ones pictured here are commonly used to dismember and remove human fetuses in dilation and evacuation abortions.

And as we approach 2013, the mandate is again being picked up by news sources. LifeNews reported that Planned Parenthood of South Central New York, which operates five clinics, will be cutting ties and renaming itself, operating independently instead as a family planning center. The reason given was because abortions are already available in that area.

This time, I was paying more attention to news affecting the pro-life community, and I must say good for the Family Planning Center of South Central New York, which is what the affiliate is going to be renamed. I don’t want to get too excited, however, as it’s not like this group has suddenly become pro-life and joined our side. Such a new center, though, is proof that affiliates are breaking free from Planned Parenthood, and with good reason.

A local news source included a statement from CEO Debra Marcus in covering the split:

We remain 100 percent committed to ensuring that women have the full range of reproductive options. But we are a small agency with limited resources and we do not want to use our limited resources to duplicate services which are already well provided[.]

Like I said, I know not to get too excited here about Debra Marcus and this soon-to-be independent center. As the local news article mentions, “[t]he reason why isn’t an issue of morality, but is really just a matter or resources.” The fact of the matter, though, is that there is going to be one less place where abortions would have been performed, and that is worth celebrating.

There are a few possible implications for affiliates once they become independent from Planned Parenthood and instead focus solely on family planning. I do not think that such implications were a factor, and perhaps they didn’t even cross the minds of those at Planned Parenthood of South Central New York. Yet it is no matter that “morality” was not part of the decision to split; there are still moral implications. While there may continue to be moral objections to a family planning center, such are not necessarily the same as those regarding an abortion center. And moral concerns do have to do with finances, at least in some states.

New York is a rather abortion-friendly state, ranked #44 for 2012 by Americans United for Life in their Life List 2012 rankings. Also, in 2001, New York was the state to fund the second-highest number of abortions, behind California, many of which were performed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates. For such reasons, I do not believe that New York will be de-funding Planned Parenthood any time soon. However, if New York were to do so, or if the affiliate mentioned were in a state where Planned Parenthood may be de-funded, this center could still receive funding. Such a move for de-funding in states such as Arizona was done for the purpose of moving state dollars away from abortion business models. New, independent affiliates that do not provide abortions would thus not have to worry about losing funding.

Back in July, I wrote an article showing how Planned Parenthood is really more a pro-abortion than a pro-choice organization, as showcased by their obsession with abortion. Their latest mandate certainly backs up such a claim. Planned Parenthood and those who believe the organization like to tout how abortion accounts for only 3% of their services. As I addressed in that article, the way they count to generate their 3% claim is actually rather deceptive, with a more accurate description being that more than 1 in 10 (11.4%) of their clients last year receiving abortion. It is almost a wonder how Planned Parenthood will be able to keep up such a claim that abortion makes up such a small part of their services when they are going to be requiring that more abortions be performed, but the Planned Parenthood we know certainly will continue with such a claim.

Such a new mandate demonstrates an obsession not only with abortion, but also possibly with the income abortions will bring to the organization. Stop Planned Parenthood, a watchdog group of the American Life League, did an analysis on Planned Parenthood’s 2010 business model, and the research shows that abortion is their priority. In their article addressing the split, LifeSiteNews mentions this as well: “In our estimation over 50 percent of their non-government income from their clinic comes from abortion[.]” Jim Sedlak is vice president of the American Life League. Thus, it makes sense that more abortion would mean more money for Planned Parenthood with this mandate.

Of course, by mandating that every affiliate perform abortions, Planned Parenthood will be receiving more income. And perhaps most tragically of all, this mandate means aborting more babies and harming more women. Abortion, thanks to Planned Parenthood’s efforts, has been far from “rare.” Perhaps a pro-choice person or organization would wish to abide by the “rare” part of the “safe, legal, and rare” mantra, but Planned Parenthood is not so much pro-choice as pro-abortion. Keep this in mind about Planned Parenthood, and the unborn children they will undoubtedly abort in the future. Let us also hope that more affiliates make the choice to split.

About Rebecca Downs

Rebecca Downs graduated from Fordham University in August 2012, where she was a member of the Respect for Life club and College Republicans. After writing for Live Action News since March 2012, she is thrilled to be involved at the Live Action office. She has also written for IRD's Juicy Ecumenism, Secular Pro-Life Perspective's and C-FAM. She first became interested in the Live Action campaign at the March for Life in 2010.
View all posts by Rebecca Downs