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Pro-abortion author admits Planned Parenthood gave poor counseling

Jennifer Baumgardner is a pro-abortion writer and the creator of the t-shirt campaign “I Had An Abortion.” She attempted to start a movement calling for women across the nation to wear shirts announcing their past abortions in order to attempt to normalize abortion and defeat its stigma. The campaign was not very successful, however, because fewer than the expected number of women purchased the shirts. Apparently, not many women wanted to joyfully advertise the deaths of their babies.

In Baumgardner’s pro-abortion book Abortion & Life, she shares the photos and stories of a small number of women who did agree to wear the shirts.  One story contains the following first-hand account of the “counseling” a woman received at Planned Parenthood.

I went with my boyfriend and friend to Planned Parenthood. I think I was headed into my eighth week at that point. I went into a room for pre-abortion counseling- five quick, terse questions. I had assumed that I was going to get a half-hour and I would finally be able to tell someone or talk to someone about how freaked out I was, but I didn’t get to.

When a pro-abortion book by a pro-abortion author includes a testimony that demonstrates how deficient Planned Parenthood’s counseling is, it must really be bad.

Many other women have spoken out about the poor “counseling‘ they received at Planned Parenthood. This “counseling,” at the very least, was limited and rushed, and at its worst, amounted to a sales pitch for abortion. Even more damning are admissions by former Planned Parenthood workers that they pressured women into abortions by presenting a one-sided picture.

Lavonne Wilenken, a former Planned Parenthood worker, gave the following testimony in the book Bad Choices: A Look inside Planned Parenthood:

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 can help you with the money. You don’t have to have any money and we can help you out of your situation because we know that you don’t want to be pregnant. You just want to be not pregnant and 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.

But rushed and biased counseling is not limited to Planned Parenthood. Researcher David Reardon, in his book Aborted Women: Silent No More, surveyed over 250 post-abortive women about the counseling they received at abortion facilities. The results are alarming.

  • 66% said their counselor’s advice was biased
  • 40 to 60% described themselves as not having been certain of their decision prior to counseling
  • 44% stated they were actively hoping to find an option other than abortion during counseling
  • 5% reported that they were encouraged to ask questions
  • 52 to 71% felt the questions were inadequately answered, sidestepped, or trivialized
  • 90% said they were not given enough information to make an informed decision
  • 83% said it was very likely that they would’ve chosen differently if they had not been so strongly encouraged to abort by others, including their abortion counselors

And according to Reardon:

95% of women who had abortions at Planned Parenthood said that their Planned Parenthood counselors gave “…little or no biological information about the fetus which the abortion would destroy.”

It is unlikely that Planned Parenthood told the abortion patient that at just under eight weeks her baby had hands and feet, with fingers and toes, or that her baby had a beating heart and brainwaves. Was she told that having an abortion would increase her risk of breast cancer (according to twelve out of twelve recent studies)? Was she told that a woman who has an abortion is left with a greater risk of suicide (up to six to seven times greater, according to two studies)? Or that abortion could lead to a 65% increased risk of depression? It is possible that the woman who told her story in Abortion & Life had no knowledge of these statistics and facts.

Beyond the abortion workers’ reluctance to tell a woman anything that might make her back out of her abortion, there is also the fact that counseling takes up time and slows things down, reducing the number of abortions that can be done — meaning fewer abortions can be performed and less money can be made. And with Planned Parenthood currently performing an average of one abortion every 97 seconds, time is money for them:

Pro-choice author Carole Joffe interviewed abortion clinic workers for her book The Regulation of Sexuality: Experiences of Family-Planning Workers. She says:

[A]s the clinic director was fond of pointing out, counseling did not generate revenue for the clinic; being seen in the medical room did. Perhaps the greatest problem with slowdowns [counseling sessions that took longer than average] was the risk of annoying doctors.

Even pro-abortion writers acknowledge that abortion facilities in general (and Planned Parenthood in particular) do not offer good “counseling” before abortions.

Source: Jennifer Baumgardner Abortion & Life  (New York: Akashic Books, 2008)  127

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