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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Planned Parenthood's strategy: What abortions?

Planned Parenthood's reaction to the House passage of the Pence Amendment has been to pretend that abortions are an insignificant part of its business. For instance, in an online appeal for petition signatures, Planned Parenthood described itself as providing "birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care." Moderate pro-choicers are seeing right through that euphemism:Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards took to the television, where she said that defunding Planned Parenthood would result in restricted access to mammograms. It does no such thing, because as pro-life activists found out simply by looking at their website and calling up affiliates, Planned Parenthood doesn't provide mammograms. It only refers clients elsewhere-- most likely to some of the 1200 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that provide comprehensive care.

Meanwhile, anti-Pence bloggers are clinging to the talking point that abortion constitutes only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services. Live Action has an excellent summary of why that's misleading.

Planned Parenthood, along with the entire pro-abortion movement, is in a tricky situation. At the core, what they're dealing with is a serious disconnect between the extremist leadership, which can be fairly described as pro-abortion, and the grassroots of people who identify as "pro-choice" but dislike abortion and support common-sense restrictions on it. The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion, whether direct or indirect. That necessarily includes a huge percentage of people who identify as pro-choice. So in order to get the support it needs to overcome Pence, Planned Parenthood has to appeal to a reluctant base. The solution? Deceive them.

Planned Parenthood wants regular, pro-choice-by-default people to believe that:
1) Abortion is not central to Planned Parenthood's operations. False.
2) Planned Parenthood offers mammograms, and defunding Planned Parenthood is therefore a mean-spirited attempt by anti-women Republicans to give people cancer. False.
3) Planned Parenthood offers women's health services that no other federally funded clinics provide. False.

Please pass this on to friends of yours who call themselves pro-choice and support Planned Parenthood, but who are open-minded and listen to their consciences. I may disagree with them, but they don't deserve to be tricked.

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