What's so bad about Planned Parenthood? It's a question Americans must wonder about as they see pro-lifers protesting or praying outside clinics. And it deserves an answer because it gets to the heart of some key and contentious questions we face as a society, one that is ever creeping toward a brave new world (in many respects already living in it) as biotechnological choices propagate.
Consider that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood in her Senate runs. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, has given money to them in the past. Ann Romney, wife of the former governor of Massachusetts, another Republican, who is a fairly recent pro-life convert, once gave money to Planned Parenthood too.
Democrats' associations with Planned Parenthood are no real surprise. Close ties and the support of, and for, the nation's largest abortion provider is not really a shock. On the Republican side, it's a different story. The GOP's platform is pro-life, as the party's presidential nominees tend to be. While it's no secret that Giuliani is pro-choice and Mrs. Romney is not actually a candidate herself, the recent revelations about their donations do feed into a sense that Planned Parenthood is as American as apple pie.
So what's so bad about Planned Parenthood? What is it about the organization that makes pro-lifers go wild with outrage and concern? After all, Planned Parenthood does do things other than abortion. Along with providing abortion, they provide contraception. As Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani recently explained, he gave the group money "Because Planned Parenthood makes information available. It's consistent with my position."
To anyone who does not follow Planned Parenthood headlines, that makes some sense. The rest of his answer, though, begged for further interrogating: "I disagree with (abortion), I think it is wrong." He has also said that he hates abortion. But it's not believable that someone who truly hates abortion could ever have anything nice to say about Planned Parenthood.
Browse on over to their Web magazine for minors, www.teenwire.com, and you'll find, among the question-and-answer, a question from a teen who says she had an abortion "a little over a month ago," is pregnant again, and wondering if a second abortion is safe. Not only does the teenwire.com staff cavalierly tell the girl (who, I remind you, got pregnant again a month after her first abortion) that abortion is "very safe" the first or second time around, but that abortion "is much safer than giving birth." While they do throw in a line about preventing pregnancy by using birth control, there's no talk about adoption or other alternatives — such as raising the child, and getting help to do so — that a desperate girl could afford to hear.
Of course in an America where abortion is legal, that Planned Parenthood steers women who don't want their kids toward abortion, is not wholly unexpected. But what about kids who are wanted? In the wake of the Laci Peterson trial in which Scott Peterson was eventually convicted of killing his wife and unborn son (Connor), then-Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt argued against federal legislation that would protect the legal rights of both the mother and child in such a horrific double-homicide. Feldt insisted that there was but one victim in the Peterson case, Laci, the mother. So radical is Planned Parenthood that they cannot concede that a wanted unborn child is also a victim when his or her life is taken.
While it's questionable that donations that total less than $1,000 indicate enthusiastic support for the work of Planned Parenthood, as Mayor Giuliani's did, any honest executive at Planned Parenthood has got to be a bit excited by the prospect of Rudy Giuliani as the nominee of the Republican party. Here's a Republican guy who is essentially on their side. His willingness to buck them up as he aims for the White House is an opportunity to confront this front for a culture of death ironically hiding "Parenthood."
Kathryn Lopez is the editor of National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com). She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2007, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.