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Does Planned Parenthood use Propaganda?

Webpage of Planned Parenthood

In case you are not aware, Planned Parenthood has a vested financial interest in the abortion industry. As such, they are not just providing abortion services, but are political activists. They therefore cannot be trusted as sources of reliable information. 

Total contributions from Planned Parenthood PAC to federal candidates between 2019-2020 totalled $746,595, most of which (about 98%) went to Democrats in the house and senate, none of which went to Republicans. There is reason that the Democratic party is known as the party of abortion on demand. Their support has been lobbied for. Why do they lobby for it? Because Planned Parenthood receives $530 million in US government funding. Abortion is big business. 

Of the many services they provide (STD testing, pregnancy tests, referrals to doctors), most of their profits come from abortions, which may cost up to $750 in the first trimester, and up to $1,500 later in pregnancy. Abortion is big business, and Planned Parenthood in financially invested in protecting their industry.

For these reasons Planned Parenthood needs to support a narrative that has an abortion positive spin.

Considered two examples from a simple page of testimonials. 

First, the first paragraph contains two errors.

“The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to abortion.  A majority of justices ruled to throw away nearly 50 years of precedent and take away the right to control our bodies and personal health care decisions.”

Planned Parenthood

Error number one: contrary to their claim, there was never a constitutional right to abortion. Abortion is not in the US Constitution. Roe v Wade (1973) invented the right by judicial fiat, supposedly finding it in the shadow of the right to privacy, which is itself found only in the penumbra of (not explicitly but implicitly in) the “liberty” of the process clause of the 14th Amendment. This ostensible right, not being established in the tradition of the nation’s laws and involving the critical moral question of the fate of the human life in the womb, made it “egregious from the beginning.” Dobbs v Jackson (2022)

Error number two: contrary to their claim, Dobbs v Jackson (2022) did not “take away the right to control our bodies and personal health care decisions.” Rather, it answered the question of who got to decide – the federal government (via the judicial activism of the Supreme Court) or the state legislatures (via the People’s representatives). It decided the latter. People can still get abortions in states that permit it.

You may say that a charitable reading of these claims by Planned Parenthood are simply oversimplifications. It is, after all, an introductory paragraph. Nevertheless, both oversimplifications skew towards affirming their preferred narrative, which is to downplay the right of the child to live. For example, see how the killing of an unborn child is characterised as “the right to control our bodies and personal health care decisions.” This diminishes the value of the life destroyed in the process to zero. It’s all about the pregnant women. Not about the life inside her. Not a smidge. 

Second, they use misleading statistics. 

“The majority of people in this country support legal abortion.”

Planned Parenthood

That’s disinformation. In fact, the majority support restrictions on abortion past 15 weeks. This is shown in a recent poll but it has been known for quite a while.

For an organisation who advocate politically for abortions on-demand up until the point of birth, to cite the majority when only 28% think abortion should be allowed past 23 weeks, is insidious. Further, the survey tells us 75% of women would not allow abortion over 15 weeks.

To then cite stories that would be allowed under any state law with abortion restrictions (for instance, a woman with sepsis, another undergoing cancer treatment, a pregnancy which put another at high risk, etc.) in support of a broad access to abortion on demand is not just obtuse, but propaganda. The stories there are heartbreaking. But not the justification Planned Parenthood is looking for to support their business model. 

Pushback

“If you were honest you would have added that your poll shows 61% of women oppose overturning Roe vs Wade. . . . [T]he [term limits] given still show support for abortion up to 15weeks. Why try and misrepresent that to saying more women are against abortion? That is simply untrue.”

Facebook reactionary
I respond

You criticise me on the basis of omitting the opposition for overturning Roe v Wade (61% women, 55% overall). A majority opinion. However, unlike general questions like “Are you Pro-life or Pro-choice?” or “Do you support Roe v Wade?” which are prone to being misunderstood, I cited statistics that got down to brass tacks, such as “Do you think your state should allow abortion after 15 weeks?” (75% of women do not, a limit Roe v Wade didn’t allow for), and “should abortion be allowed before 15 weeks?” (only 23%, +18% for those up to 23 weeks, and +10% for those up to 9 months = 51%). It is clear from these statistics that the American people do not have a taste for abortion, especially in the second and third trimesters. Democratically speaking, limiting abortion should be on the agenda, not opening it up.

Again, this commenter pushes back

There is no data saying Americans have no appetite for abortion or that more women than men were against abortion.

Facebook reactionary
I respond

This is dealing in generalities, just as Planned Parenthood does. Whilst it is correct that on the question of abortion the American populous is fairly evenly split, and even leaning towards favouring the practice, when you get down to specifics of when people think abortion should be allowed, as I mentioned, the data shows that the needle swings towards regulation after so early as 15 weeks. More women (75%) are against abortion after 15 weeks than men are against abortion (69%) after 15 weeks. Everyone can read the data I linked to for themselves, and see that is exactly what it says. When they do I trust they will see Planned Parenthood’s claim “most people agree with abortion” as insidious, for they are using this as justification for them to facilitate the killing of the broad range of unborn children that most of the American public actually don’t agree to.

UPDATE

For a video refuting the lie, “There has been a small but vocal opposition trying to undermine the right to abortion,” see this video by Live Action.

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