Analysis

Planned Parenthood’s biased counseling has been going on for decades

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The book Bad Choices: A Look inside Planned Parenthood by pro-life writer and researcher Douglas R. Scott has a great deal of unflattering information about Planned Parenthood.  In the book are testimonies from women who were mistreated or lied to by Planned Parenthood workers, testimonies from the clinic workers themselves about coerced abortions and deception, and analyses of Planned Parenthood’s sex education program.

The book describes how one woman set out to prove that Planned Parenthood clinics pressure minors into choosing abortion.  In a tactic that would later be used to great effect by Live Action, the Florida woman posed as a 16-year-old girl going to Planned Parenthood in an intended undercover sting operation. She was attempting to document what Planned Parenthood workers were saying to pregnant teens considering abortion.

In one Planned Parenthood facility, the undercover woman arranged to have a positive pregnancy test. She says:

After I gave the appropriate responses, Judy [the Planned Parenthood counselor] told me that my test was positive. She explained that the test was 99% accurate. She asked me if my periods were usually regular and then figured out how far along I was. She said that she was glad I came in early enough because I still had time. She asked me what I thought I would do. I just looked completely overwhelmed and fearful and stammered, “I just can’t believe this is happening! I don’t know what to do!” She told me that this is what happens when you don’t use birth control…

She said that I had 3 options: I could carry the baby and keep it, I could carry the baby and put it up for adoption, or I could have an abortion. She asked me what my feelings on abortion were. I told her that I always sort of felt it was wrong but it seemed a lot different when it hit home. She agreed with me. She asked me if I could tell my parents. I said no because they were strict and they would even kill me if they knew I had sex. She said, “So they didn’t even give you the liberty to decide when you were old enough to have sex?” I told her that they thought you should only have sex inside of marriage. She said that that would be ideal but that wasn’t reality.

As you can see, the Planned Parenthood counselor immediately worked to exacerbate negative feelings the girl had towards her mother and father. Perhaps this was in part to make her less likely to come to them with her problems. It could also have been a way for the clinic worker to show the girl that Planned Parenthood was “on her side” and more understanding than her parents.

The counselor then told the undercover woman that abortion was “as simple and easy as getting a tooth pulled” and “very safe.” The counselor referred to the baby as the “contents of the uterus.”

The counselor also said that there are “not really any risks at all until you have had 3 abortions and that you might be prone to miscarriages.”

In reality, several studies have linked even one abortion to future miscarriages,  including one study in the International Journal of Epidemiology and another in The British Journal of Gynecology which shows a 60% increase in risk of miscarriage after an abortion.

The woman posing as a teenager asked the counselor if she might have any nightmares after her abortion:

She said that I might have one or two nightmares because I was in the middle of making a big decision. She said that women have nightmares when they are going to have their baby or even before they get married.

I asked her if it would come back to haunt me later and she said that the only time women ever have problems with it is if they feel that they did the wrong thing. I told her that deep down inside, something told me that abortion was wrong but I didn’t know what to do or who to listen to. I told her that I remember people saying it is murder and stuff and I didn’t feel very good about it. She said, “do you REALLY believe that?!” I said that I didn’t know. She told me that most of the people who say those things don’t understand because they have never been faced with a crisis pregnancy.

She told me that I had to “THINK LONG TERM…THINK LONG TERM!” She said, “Can you picture yourself going through high school and college with a baby? How are you going to support it? How would you felt if your parents brought you into this world with no one to care for you or give you the things you need? I know you know what you need to do…

According to the book, the counselor then acted as though the undercover patient had agreed to the abortion, although the patient was still claiming to be undecided.  The counselor began instructing her on care after the abortion that the patient had not yet agreed to. The counselor said, “After you have your abortion, you can come back here for a checkup and birth control.”

The undercover abortion patient explains:

[Judy] kept emphasizing that having a baby would affect my whole life for the next 18 years… She told me that the “mass of cells” in my uterus right now was only as big as my pinky; she said not to think of it as some huge baby.

I asked her what she thought of adoption. She said that it was fine if I could picture myself carrying the baby, going through delivery, and then signing away my rights to that baby FOREVER. She emphasized that very few people could do that and it was a very hard thing…

She said that considering my age and situation, abortion was the best thing to do for me and “my pregnancy.” She said that I would not feel 100% sure now but a year from now I will say that I think I did the right thing and at 2 years from now I will say I know I did the right thing. She gave me the paperwork that I needed to get an abortion… And gave me a form that would give me a discount ($225). She emphasized that I needed to make an appointment no later than August 24 [the date of the interview was August 4] but that I might want to do it this week and just get it over with.

In summary, the undercover woman said, “I honestly feel that this woman will get a commission off of my abortion. She pushed it so hard!”

While Bad Choices only published details about this particular clinic and what happened there, the undercover patient said she had similar experiences with other Planned Parenthood clinics she went to.

This investigation was done in 1989. Why is it still relevant today? Because it shows that Planned Parenthood has been pressuring patients into abortion for decades. It is an established Planned Parenthood practice which has been exposed many, many times. Testimonies of former patients and clinic workers describe similar types of “counseling” taking place in Planned Parenthood in more recent years.

For example, in a 2011 article in The Washington Examiner, former Planned Parenthood worker Catherine Anthony Adair said:

Planned Parenthood’s mission is to pressure as many women into having an abortion as it can. Those in charge know that can’t be accomplished if they refer to the child as a “baby.”

In 2012 former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson said:

So many women today think of Planned Parenthood as a safe place to turn to … [but it is] a place where they will NOT hear all of their options. A place where women will be coerced into thinking abortion is the best and only option for them.

Biased counseling at Planned Parenthood is nothing new and Bad Choices documents that it has been going on for a very long time.

Source: Douglas R. Scott Bad Choices: A Look inside Planned Parenthood (Franklin, Tennessee: Legacy Communications, 1992) 152 – 153

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