Abortion/Morality/My Faith

5 Things to Know about Planned Parenthood and Why it Matters

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12

I have a secret.  

When I was a little kid, I used to go into my room, close the door and whisper to God that he should send a person down to Earth to fix the world’s problems. A little silly, I know (especially because he already sent someone!). But then, one day, it hit me: instead of waiting for someone else to change the world, why shouldn’t I give it a try? Why shouldn’t we each give it a try?

Planned Parenthood and the media want us on their side. They want us to believe abortion is nothing more than a minor surgery. They want us to accept that abortion is about one person (the mother) instead of two (the mother and baby).

That’s because they know that we can make a difference. But do we?

If we believe that each baby in the womb is a human being, we should fight every day for the lives of the unborn. And that fight starts with understanding how Planned Parenthood operates.

Here are the top 5 things to know about Planned Parenthood:

1. Planned Parenthood Is America’s Largest Abortion Provider

Planned Parenthood (PP) describes itself as a “trusted health care provider” that offers “vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions.” But as pro-lifers, we call out PP for one main reason: abortion.

According to PP’s latest annual report, the organization aborted 323,999 unborn babies in 2014. And, according to numbers tracked by pro-life organizations from past annual reports, PP has aborted about 7 million unborn babies total since 1970.

That’s roughly the population of Hong Kong and two million more than Ireland’s population (4,892,305). That’s the death toll of the Civil War – times 14.

We are missing generations of people – our own family and friends – because of PP.

The United States performs the most abortions in the world after China, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. And if PP were considered in the comparison, “it would rank sixth in the world in number of abortions carried out annually.”

2. Planned Parenthood Is Taxpayer-Funded – For Now

No matter how we feel about abortion, pro-lifers are forced to give money to PP each year through taxes.

According to its new annual report, PP received $553.7 million from “Government Health Services Grants & Reimbursements” from 2014 to 2015. That means that 43% of PP’s money comes from federal funding collected by the government from taxpayers.

A law, the Hyde Amendment, forbids PP from using that money to pay for abortion (with a few exceptions). But with federal funding for some of its services, PP can direct more of its own funding towards abortion.

The organization, however, is in danger of losing its money.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, by the end of 2015, “11 states had moved to slash funding either for Planned Parenthood health centers specifically or for any family planning provider that also offers abortion services.”

Earlier this month, Congress sent a bill to the president’s desk to defund PP for the first time in history. If it had passed, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act would have given PP’s federal funding to comprehensive health care centers instead – centers that don’t perform abortions.

President Barack Obama vetoed the bill. But pro-life leaders say that if the new president elected this year is pro-life, that bill could become law in the near future.

3. The Planned Parenthood Videos Are a Game-Changer

The new push to defund PP began after a group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), led by David Daleiden, released graphic videos last summer and blamed PP for selling aborted baby parts – for profit – to researchers.

Doing so is illegal.

While undercover, Daleiden recorded many of these videos with a secret camera while speaking with PP officials. So far, CMP has released 11 original videos. To get an idea of their content, here are the headlines from some of them:

While PP and the media dismissed these videos for being “edited,” an analysis of the videos by a digital forensics firm, Coalfire, found that all of the missing footage consisted of commuting, camera adjustments, bathroom breaks, meals and waiting.

These videos sparked nationwide protests, congressional hearings, state investigations and a heated GOP presidential debate.

4. Planned Parenthood Is Best Friends with the Media

Reporters and journalists regularly censor the pro-life movement. But the biggest example of media bias on life issues in 2015 – bias by journalists, reporters or anchors – came from the coverage of the videos.

Each day, the three broadcast networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, air two national news shows (one in the morning, one in the evening) on American television. At the Media Research Center (MRC), we track how reporters and anchors cover or don’t cover stories during these news shows.

Their coverage of this story was indefensible.

In the first 9 hours and 30 minutes of news shows’ broadcasts after the story broke, ABC, CBS and NBC, spent only 39 seconds on the first video. It took more than 24 hours before all three covered the videos.

ABC, CBS and NBC prioritized animals over aborted babies by covering the shooting of Cecil the lion more in one day than they did these videos in two weeks and in their reporting on the National Zoo’s new panda cubs.

Two months after the first video’s release, MRC found that ABC, CBS and NBC aired only 0.13% of the CMP footage during their news shows or 1 minute, 13 seconds of more than 16 hours of footage.

The media do PP’s bidding – and they get rewarded for it.

Since 1978, PP has awarded 257 journalists, media outlets and projects with the “Maggie Awards for Media Excellence.” Named in honor of founder Margaret Sanger, the awards went to those who “enhance the public’s understanding of reproductive rights and health care issues,” including abortion. ABC, CBS, NBC and other news sources you may recognize have received these awards.

In other words, we shouldn’t assume that the media are reporting correctly, if at all, on issues of interest to pro-lifers.

5. Planned Parenthood Says Abortion Is “Good” – and They Want Us to Agree

Besides reporters, PP uses celebrities and TV shows to appeal to Americans, especially younger people like us.

When the videos came out, hordes of celebrities declared that they “stand with Planned Parenthood,” beginning with Scarlett Johansson (Avengers), Mae Whitman (Arrested Development) – and now, even Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games)

PP coordinated and worked with popular TV shows like HBO’s Girls and movies like Grandma. The organization also applauded shows like ABC’s Scandal and films like Obvious Child for including abortion.

That’s because PP wants us to believe, along with them and the media, that abortion is a good thing.

Last year, the president of PP, Cecile Richards, called abortion access “the key to women’s opportunity” and just last month, PP tweeted about a “magical land” where abortion is “free and plentiful.”

PP also recently counseled the #ShoutYourAbortion campaign, a movement that urges women to tell their positive abortion stories (while ignoring women who are filled with regret).

To them, abortion is anything but the ripping apart of the most vulnerable: the unborn.

Conclusion: How to Fight Planned Parenthood

We know PP is against us. Pop culture is against us. The media are against us. But we can still stop abortion – we can still save lives – beginning with ourselves.

Here are 5 simple ways to start your fight for the unborn:

  1. Knowledge is power. Inform yourself by reading pro-life news on a regular basis from sites like LifeSite, LifeNews and NewsBusters.
  2. Spread pro-life news and information by word-of-mouth to friends and family. Share pro-life stories on social media.
  3. Volunteer at your local pregnancy center or pray outside abortion clinics with 40 Days for Life.
  4. Intern or join mentorship programs at pro-life organizations like Americans United for Life, Live Action, Students for Life of America and the Susan B. Anthony List.
  5. Attend the March for Life on January 22 and rally together in Washington, D.C. with hundreds of thousands of other pro-lifers to send the message that life is valuable, no matter how small.

About the Author

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a staff writer for the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institute where she is a Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow. Contact her at kyoder@mrc.org or follow her on Twitter: @k_yoder.