Cecile Richards wants to “humanize” abortion, and a new comic strip beginning to make the rounds online is only too happy to help. Artists Tillie Walden and Anna Sellheim have made a comic strip about their “lovely experiences” at Planned Parenthood. Before all the usual pro-abortion suspects start writing odes to this “powerful, thought-provoking” masterpiece, let’s take a look at whether it actually has anything meaningful to say.
It begins with a girl (supposedly Sellheim) nervously telling her pro-abortion activist mother, “I think I’m pro-life” because “I just don’t think I could ever get an abortion even if I get pregnant by accident.” Fortunately, her mother is relieved with she clarifies that “of course” other women should still be able to abort their babies. “I mean, I’m not crazy.”
Isn’t the point of effective message art such as political cartoons to, y’know, persuade? Usually it achieves this by cleverly illustrating how a premise is right or wrong, or showing what this or that bit of conventional wisdom fails to account for. But this is just dialogue restating their premise, accompanied by an insult to the contrary viewpoint it doesn’t bother to confront. It’s literally nothing more than one of a million interchangeable pro-abortion comment thread exchanges put in word balloons above some characters.
For future reference, pro-abortion readers, this is why you have so much trouble persuading people to agree with you: you prefer to endlessly high-five each other over what you already think is obvious instead of bothering with real conversations with people outside of your echo chamber.
Fast-forward, and the now-adult daughter goes to Planned Parenthood to get a breast exam, and wouldn’t you know it? It’s just the nicest, friendliest place you can imagine! They play great music, they “aren’t judgmental!” (Heaven forbid!)
What she doesn’t mention is how the “breast exam” she was so grateful to Planned Parenthood for was no different than the self-exams anyone can do at home for free. Actual mammograms? Planned Parenthood admits it doesn’t do those, despite they and their supporters dishonestly claiming otherwise in the past.
The comic goes on to recount Walden’s childhood in—where else?—Texas, “surrounded by misinformed talk of what Planned Parenthood was.” The example? A middle-school teacher telling a class full of kids that “abortions are VACUUMS that kill babies, and PLANNED PARENTHOOD is where they die.”
For a little extra oomph, there’s also a panel of the teacher sporting blank pupil-less zombie eyes saying “BABIES.” No sentence, no thought, just “BABIES.” Because that’s totally a realistic thing pro-lifers do all the time, right? Mindlessly chant “baby” like it’s a magic word, and we have no actual arguments that we ever even try?
The comic refutes this “misinformation” by pointing out that vacuums aren’t used in aborti—wait, no, it can’t do that, because abortion advocates themselves admit that nearly three-quarters of first-trimester abortions are done with vacuums. Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explains a first trimester abortion:
Well, maybe the comic goes on to explain how babies aren’t involved in abortion? No, most medical authorities recognize that fetuses are babies. Disputes that they “die” or are “killed”? Nope, both of those are self-evidently true. Well, maybe the misinformation was that Planned Parenthood doesn’t do abortions? Sorry, Planned Parenthood proudly confirms that it does more than 320,000 a year.
So with none of the “misinformation” the teacher allegedly spewed (which I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict never happened, despite the comic’s ostensibly biographical nature) actually being false, how do the authors counter it? By—you guessed it—another anecdote about how nice it is to visit Planned Parenthood? Walden’s appointment for cramp treatment found the facility “clean, private, and overwhelmingly welcoming”:
Living without pain has made me happier and more productive, and the fact that there was a Planned Parenthood in our town made that possible. It gives us so much peace of mind knowing that it’s there for us when we need it.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Except for the babies Planned Parenthood killed. Or the teenage girls whose rapes Planned Parenthood helped cover up. Or the various women who’ve suffered thanks to Planned Parenthood’s abysmal health standards. Or the young people who got pregnant because Planned Parenthood encouraged them to sexually experiment. Or the people who have contracted HIV because Planned Parenthood told their sex partners keeping it secret was their decision.
But besides all of them…
Even if Planned Parenthood’s positive services somehow did outweigh all the pain and suffering and death it spreads, the authors still wouldn’t have much of a case, considering (a) they do steadily less of the “good things” by the year, with breast cancer exams, pap tests, and prenatal care dropping by between 41% and 58% from 2009 to 2013; and (b) alternative low-income women’s health providers dramatically outnumber Planned Parenthood centers in every state, including Walden’s own Texas:
So what was the point of this comic? The implications it makes about abortion are false, the true things it says are irrelevant, and it has nothing to say about anything that is relevant to why people find Planned Parenthood controversial.
This is propaganda at its laziest and most self-absorbed—and therefore, a perfect Rorschach test for whoever inevitably hails it as putting pro-lifers in our place.