Investigative

Former Planned Parenthood workers: We coerced women into getting abortions

Photo by Benjamin Lehman (Creative Commons 2.0)

Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series investigating the lies, cover-ups, and abuses inside Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion chain.

Planned Parenthood sets itself up as a place where women can get compassionate care. The abortion chain works hard to create the illusion that abortion is only a small part of what they do.

Abortion, however, is a prime money-maker for Planned Parenthood, with some estimates claiming that up to 86% of its earned income is from abortion money. Considering how important abortion is for its profit margin, it’s not surprising that Planned Parenthood has a history of pressuring ambivalent women into having abortions.

Abby Johnson, former clinic worker and manager of the largest Planned Parenthood center in Texas, describes talking to a woman who was considering abortion…

I remember that I was trying to get her out of my office. We had been talking for at least 45 minutes and that was way over my 15 minute maximum for “counseling.” I knew I must have a stack of charts waiting in my box outside. I finally pulled out the final card to hurry this thing along. I told her, “If you don’t have the abortion today, you won’t be able to come back to us for at least a week and it will be more expensive. You don’t want that, do you?”

Reluctantly she said that she was ready to go back for the abortion. Good. My job was done. Every line was signed and every box was checked.

In this case, the pressure was exerted by telling the woman how much more the abortion would cost if she delayed. This kind of sales pitch (buy it now or you’ll lose money) is commonly used on TV infomercials and at used car lots, not when considering the fate of a human being.
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Lavonne Wilenken, a former Planned Parenthood worker, describes how fellow clinic workers sold abortions to reluctant teenagers:

The counselor would say to the teenager, “Well, where’s the $250,000 that it takes to raise a child in society today?” And “What are your parents going to say when they find out that you’re pregnant?” And “What is your boyfriend doing? Is he going to help you? Where is he?” and “How are you going to finish your education if you have a baby? Don’t you know you can’t go to school if you have a baby?” Things like that, very subtle things that will push the girl over and make her decide.

Then they sort of do a “Mutt and Jeff” routine. First will come those questions. Next will come the very motherly, the very soothing, “But we can help you. We can help you out of your problem. Your parents don’t have to know…. We know that you know that you can’t take care of a baby right now. You know that you’re not ready and we want you to do these things when you’re ready.” So they play on the emotions of the young girl who scared, frightened, doesn’t know where to go, but she’s been told this is the place to go to get help.

Alicia went to Planned Parenthood and told them she wanted to keep her baby. She was separated from her husband, questioned, and subjected to a sales pitch:

“You can be honest with me, are you being forced to keep it against your will?” I said, “Absolutely not. I wasn’t expecting to get pregnant so quickly, but if I am pregnant I want to keep my baby” and again she asked “So your husband or mom are not forcing you to keep it if you are?” I said, more aggressively and upset, “NO!”….

I remember her saying that if I kept ” it,” it would be very expensive and life changing. She was poking at the fact that I didn’t seem like I could afford to have a baby. She also asked if I was scared to say that I wanted an abortion, and that if I had any questions I could talk to someone that can ease my nerves. She never really said baby she said “it” a lot. She also mentioned that if I was pregnant depending how far a long I was that there might not even be a heartbeat.

One teenager hid her pregnancy from her mother until she was 7 months along. Even this late in pregnancy, Planned Parenthood tried to convince her that abortion was the answer:

We called Planned Parenthood for help, and they asked me how old I was. I told them I was sixteen and they told me I had to have an abortion. They said it was the only thing I could do. I told them I just couldn’t, and asked them to help me with an alternative. They just said abortion was the best thing for me. I said, “I don’t think so.”

Instead, she placed her child with an adoptive family.

Sometimes verbal persuasion becomes actual physical coercion. Such was the case for Lynn Zent, who initially agreed to an abortion at Planned Parenthood:

Originally it was a wanted baby, but the counselor said ‘why don’t you come back in a few weeks and we will talk?’ When I went back she proceeded to fill my head with things such as ‘You are so young’, ‘You have your whole life ahead of you’, and ‘You have a young child already’. She convinced me how difficult it would be to be in school with a new baby and going through a then divorce from my first husband.

Lynn made the appointment, but at the last second she changed her mind.  Fighting the anesthesia, she tried to get up off the abortion table, and…

… the nurse held my shoulders down and told me to just lie there and shut up. The experience was horrible.

She was forced to have an abortion.

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Planned Parenthood worker Lavonne Wilenken describes how, when Planned Parenthood’s manipulation didn’t work on one teenager, she was forced into an abortion. Wilenken was sitting in her office when…

One of the family planning assistants came – burst in the room and said, “Please, you’ve got to come quick! She’s trying to back out of the procedure and everything is all ready!”

The counselor left hurriedly down the hall and I followed to see exactly what was going on and what I saw in the hall was the counselor, a 17-year-old girl, and her aunt, dragging her into the room as she was hollering, “No, I don’t want to go! Please don’t make me! Please don’t make me do this! I really don’t want to do this!”

They very hurriedly shoved her in the room where the procedure was to take place and slammed the door and the counselor came out afterwards with a sort of a, a peaceful smiling look on his face, and I knew what had happened. I knew that they had aborted her against her will.

These examples, which are only a few of the many stories from women and former Planned Parenthood workers, show how Planned Parenthood really treats its patients. Selling abortion, not protecting a women’s well-being, is their primary concern.

Previous articles in the Inside Planned Parenthood Series:

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