If you only read one thing today, make it Kirsten Powers‘ column at the Daily Beast. Powers is a liberal Democrat, a former employee in the Clinton administration, and she does as fine a job of shredding one of Planned Parenthood’s main defenses as anyone I’ve seen.
Her argument, based in part on figures recently released by the Guttmacher Institute (a creation of Planned Parenthood), is that PP’s claim that without its contraceptive services, abortion would go up is factually false, and that availability of contraception is in fact not a reason why abortion happens at all. She writes:
[A] 2009 study by the journal Contraception found, in a 10-year study of women in Spain, that as overall contraceptive use increased from around 49 percent to 80 percent, the elective abortion rate more than doubled. This doesn’t mean that access to contraception causes more abortion—though some believe that—but that it doesn’t necessarily reduce it.
A January 2011 fact sheet by the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute listed all the reasons that women who have had an abortion give for their unexpected pregnancy, and not one of them is lack of access to contraception. In fact, 54 percent of women who had abortions had used a contraceptive method, if incorrectly, in the month they got pregnant. For the 46 percent who had not used contraception, 33 percent had perceived themselves to be at low risk for pregnancy; 32 percent had had concerns about contraceptive methods; 26 percent had had unexpected sex, and 1 percent had been forced to have sex. Not one fraction of 1 percent said they got pregnant because they lacked access to contraception. Some described having unexpected sex, but all that can be said about them is that they are irresponsible, not that they felt they lacked access to contraception.
Now, it is probable that some percentage of those who used contraception got it from Planned Parenthood, but PP is hardly a sole provider. You can get condoms at any convenience store, and for medical methods, there are lots of outlets. Powers expresses astonishment at the response this argument gets:
Asked about the “Contraception” study, the Guttmacher numbers and why no women were saying they got abortions due to lack of access to contraception, a Planned Parenthood spokesman emailed this Orwellian response: “I think the biggest barrier is access to affordable contraception.” Huh?
“Huh?” is right. See, contraception, as well as all other family planning services other than abortion (except in instances of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is endangered) is covered by Medicaid. In other words, there is effectively no financial barrier for anyone to get birth control, and no necessity for them to get it from Planned Parenthood.
Powers’ conclusion is dead on:
To preserve its federal subsidy, Planned Parenthood continues to claim that without its contraception services the abortion rate will go up. This deception smacks of a fleecing of taxpayers in an effort to promote an ideological agenda, rather than a sincere effort to help women plan families.
What is that ideology, exactly? To find out, you have to dig through Planned Parenthood’s tax forms because the group certainly isn’t going to tell you. According to its most recent tax filing, the purpose of Planned Parenthood Federation of America is to provide leadership in “[a]chieving, through informed individual choice, a U.S. population of stable size in an optimum environment; in stimulating and sponsoring relevant biomedical, socio-economic, and demographic research.”
So it is, in reality, a population-control organization. Funny, this was never mentioned in the gauzy $200,000 advertising campaign launched last week. It also doesn’t make it into the “About Us” section of the group’s website, which repeatedly claims its mission is to protect women’s health, when in fact the real mission is to keep the birth rate at whatever level the leaders believe it should be.
To hear Planned Parenthood and their supporters, they exist only to provide Pap smears or breast exams or prenatal services. In fact, President Cecile Richards has gone so far as to erroneously imply that they provide mammograms. (A spokesperson for the group confirmed to me that this is untrue.)
Planned Parenthood officials are allowed to believe whatever they want and to pursue whatever goals they choose. But their dishonesty in how they present their organization to the public, along with ignoring basic statistics about their area of expertise, makes you wonder what else they are hiding. It’s also hard to deny that they are at core a blindly ideological organization, not a run-of-the-mill charitable nonprofit.
Whatever you think of abortion rights, this is not the kind of organization that taxpayers should be funding.
Read it all, and pray that more liberals will stop drinking the Planned Parenthood Kool-Aid, and take the stand that Kirsten Powers has.