I am pro-choice. And for years, I believed the myth that Planned Parenthood was doing a service to make abortion safe and rare.
That changed in 2015 after watching the viral hidden camera video of Planned Parenthood doctors and operatives discussing how to best end the life of a fetus in order to harvest body parts and sell them for medical researchers. That prompted a few questions:
No one who unequivocally supports Planned Parenthood could provide answers. They yell the video has been debunked; even though Planned Parenthood is open about fetal organs and tissue being sold to research firms to pay overhead costs for the clinic and procedure. They quickly point to the stats that claim abortions make up 3 percent of all services; not noting that the actual number of abortions performed or that almost 50 percent have had more than one. They defensively claim that all women know what's happening, even though I've read stories of doctors lying to women about how far along they were or what the fetus looks like at that stage. And when all else fails, I am told I am a man who has no right to an opinion over a woman's body, even though I can't help but recognize at some point that fetus could have been any one of us.
And then I wonder: Why are abortion services the backbone of Planned Parenthood's fight for what is allegedly a rare event that is not paid for with government funds? Why can't prevention of pregnancy or diseases be the driving force?
The millions of dollars they privately raise and receive from taxpayers to get high profile celebrities for advertising or performances could be used to keep abortion a rare event by educating women on birth control and offering even more access to prenatal care and prevention services to underserved, rural areas.
Speaking of prenatal care, another investigation by a different pro-life organization revealed this week that of 100 random Planned Parenthood locations contacted, only five offer any sort of prenatal services. The rest said that the only services they could offer were abortion services. For a group that believes in choice, where is the choice for the woman who opts to keep her baby, but needs access to prenatal care?
Since its inception, Planned Parenthood has done a lot to diminish choices to women for racist and classist reasons. Founder Margaret Sanger was adamant about eugenics and population control. Those views aren't merely problematic; they've since planted themselves in rural and urban areas with high concentrations of low-income women who either lack access to gynecological care or have been told the lie for years that Planned Parenthood is the only free/low-cost clinic that caters to women's health.
If we are not assured that all Planned Parenthood locations are providing relevant resources to allow women to make decisions (including providing information about how far along they are in their pregnancy, prenatal care if they intend to carry to term, psychological counseling for those who have had abortions and for overwhelmed, expectant mothers), then it's my opinion that they do not offer "choice." They offer an agenda.
By all means, stand with Planned Parenthood if you support an organization that exclusively pushes abortion over prevention or parenthood. But as someone who truly believes in choice, I'm staying seated.