Washington D.C., Oct 16, 2016 / 12:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As Planned Parenthood celebrates the centennial of the opening of its first birth control clinic, pro-life leaders are condemning the abuses of the nation’s largest abortion provider.
“Planned Parenthood’s 100-year anniversary is a tragic milestone for our nation and a reminder of the millions of unborn children who will never have a birthday,” a joint statement from pro-life leaders on the anniversary read. “We mourn these children, as well as the women who have been hurt and exploited by the nation’s largest abortion chain.”
October 16 marks the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Planned Parenthood. It began as a birth control clinic in Brooklyn opened by Margaret Sanger. It is now the nation’s largest abortion provider, performing over 300,000 abortions annually in the United States. The organization is running a #100YearsStrong campaign, highlighting its role in providing access to birth control and abortion for women.
“Planned Parenthood’s story began 100 years ago with a radical idea. That access to sexual and reproductive health care had the power to change lives and the world,” the group stated. “Planned Parenthood — once a single health center, is now known and trusted for it’s [sic] sexual and reproductive health care.” It also touted other health services it provides. “We’re the largest source of sexual education in the country and an essential provider of cancer screenings, diagnosis and treatment of STIs, and other preventive care — as well as a catalyst for laws and policies that ensure equal access to health care and reproductive freedom.”
While saying it’s a “provider of cancer screenings,” Planned Parenthood’s clinics actually provide only referrals for screenings. And although Planned Parenthood casts itself as a health care provider, a coalition of pro-life groups has started a #100YearsOfAbuse campaign to bring to light how the group profits from abortion while claiming that it is only a small part of their health care package. Members of the coalition include the groups Alliance Defending Freedom, Americans United for Life, the March for Life, the Family Research Council, the Pro-Life Action League, Radiance Foundation, Students for Life of America, and Susan B. Anthony List.
The website includes videos of how Planned Parenthood “double-dips” by receiving compensation for abortions from mothers and for fetal tissue from tissue procurement companies, and how their income from tax dollars, while not going directly to abortions, is fungible — it frees up other resources for abortion services.
The 100-year anniversary is no occasion for celebration, pro-life leaders insisted. “It’s a pretty somber milestone in American history,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told CNA. When Sanger founded the first clinic she was “advocating that certain types of people were unfit to procreate,” Hawkins said. Then Planned Parenthood pushed for abortion “for those children they were unable to stop from being conceived,” she added.
As the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood continues this work today — even while receiving taxpayer dollars — the pro-life leaders said. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions, and Planned Parenthood claims the money — mostly from Medicaid reimbursements and health grants — does not directly fund abortions.
Planned Parenthood received over $500 million in taxpayer funding in the 2014-15 fiscal year. “In the last three years alone, Planned Parenthood has committed nearly one million abortions while receiving a total of $1.5 billion from the American people, against our will. We represent the growing number of Americans who oppose Planned Parenthood’s extreme abortion agenda and seek to defund this abortion giant,” the pro-life leaders’ statement read.
In 2015, undercover videos released by the citizen journalist group Center for Medical Progress showed Planned Parenthood executives discussing the pricing of fetal tissue with actors posing as representatives of tissue procurement companies. Although Planned Parenthood has not been found breaking the law by multiple congressional investigations, the videos sparked a conversation about the group and its purported mission of being a vital health care provider for women.
“I think it’s really important for pro-lifers to keep talking about Planned Parenthood,” Hawkins said, noting that the conversation has quieted down in recent months. “The election’s kind of taken some of that wind and steam away from that movement, and I think that’s really helped them,” she said.
Abby Johnson is a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who quit her job after watching an abortion there on ultrasound. She is the foundress of And Then There Were None, a group which helps abortion clinic workers leave the industry. She says she saw firsthand the abuses and “deceit” at Planned Parenthood, and expressed her sadness at having worked for them for eight years.
“For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has told women that they aren’t strong enough to be mothers or achieve their goals. For 100 years, PP has treated women as commodities and exploited them in order to increase their business revenue,” she said in a written statement.