Sarah Terzo

Lies, pressure, negativity: what passes for ‘counseling’ at Planned Parenthood, abortion clinics

Sarah Terzo
By Sarah Terzo
Image

February 15, 2013 (LiveActionNews.org) - Pro-life activists have tried to put laws in place requiring counselors at abortion clinics to give factual information to women considering abortions. Many of these laws say that a woman must be offered detailed facts about the development of her unborn baby, information on resources in the community that are available if she carries the baby to term, and physical and emotional risks of the procedure. Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups adamantly oppose these laws. They oppose them even when it is not mandatory for the woman to see this information, but she would simply be offered the CHOICE to view it.

A Georgia Planned Parenthood director named Kay Scott summarize the abortion giant’s position on informed consent when she said:

“Supporters of the Woman’s Right to Know bill say it would allow time for reflection, but this bill is really about deception. …women already receive full informed consent before having an abortion…..”(1)

However, when speaking with post-abortion women, a theme that is repeated again and again is the fact that so few of them were given factual and unbiased information about the risks of abortion and the development of the unborn baby. Some were outright lied to – others received biased counseling or no counseling at all.

Several studies have testified to this:

According to a survey publicized in David Reardon’s book Aborted Women: Silent No more, out of 252 women who experienced post-abortion trauma:

  • 66% said their counselor’s advice was biased
  • 40 to 60% described themselves as not having been certain of their decision prior to counseling
  • 44% stated they were actively hoping to find an option other than abortion during counseling
  • 5% reported that they were encouraged to ask questions
  • 52 to 71% felt the questions were inadequately answered, sidestepped, or trivialized
  • 90% said they were not given enough information to make an informed decision
  • 83% said it was very likely that they would’ve chosen differently if they had not been so strongly encouraged to abort by others, including their abortion counselors
  • 95% of women who had abortions at Planned Parenthood said that their Planned Parenthood counselors gave “…little or no biological information about the fetus which the abortion would destroy”(2)

From a review on the psychological effects of abortion by researcher Catherine Barnard who examined a number of different studies on abortion and informed consent:

Click "like" if you want to end abortion!

“Several empirical studies in the U.S. have indicated the deficiencies of current abortion counseling practices with the majority of respondents reporting insufficient information provided by the abortion counselor; insensitive, unhelpful abortion clinic personnel, with respect to providing assistance in decision-making, and the provision of misinformation, thereby contributing to increased anxiety, confusion and levels of post-abortion depression and hostility.”(3)

In one incident, a young woman named Alicia went to Planned Parenthood to see if she was pregnant. She arrived for the pregnancy test with her husband and mother, yet when it came time to see the pregnancy counselor, she was ordered to go in alone and to leave her support people behind. According to Alicia, the clinic worker then asked her if she intended to have an abortion. Alicia indicated that she would want to keep her baby.

“You can be honest with me, are you being forced to keep it against your will?” I said, “Absolutely not. I wasn’t expecting to get pregnant so quickly, but if I am pregnant I want to keep my baby” and again she asked “So your husband or mom are not forcing you to keep it if you are?” I said, more aggressively and upset, “NO!” 

When she was asking me if I was forced to keep the baby she looked like she was reading from a script. I remember her saying that if I kept “it,” it would be very expensive and life changing. She was poking at the fact that I didn’t seem like I could afford to have a baby. She also asked if I was scared to say that I wanted an abortion, and that if I had any questions I could talk to someone that can ease my nerves. She never really said baby she said “it” a lot.”(4)

Alicia turned out not to be pregnant. She later commented:

“I have not been able to shake that experience, it was very disturbing that I had someone trying to convince me to abort my baby especially after telling her over and over again that I wanted to keep my baby. I didn’t sleep for a week!”(5)

19-year-old “Barbara” went to a clinic at her mother’s insistence after becoming pregnant. When she went, she wanted to keep her baby.

“The woman at the clinic started spewing facts so fast. They told me just enough to scare me….they mentioned all three points but made adoption sound negative and birth tragic, then really pushed abortion. I told them I was more than 14 weeks. She said they had to do it really quick because they couldn’t do more than a 14-week limit and pushed me to make the appointment for absolutely that day.”(6)

When Jennifer Clifford went to Planned Parenthood and found out that she was pregnant, she did not want to have an abortion. In her article “UN-Planned Parenthood” she tells her story:

“Next, the nurse asked me how I felt about the possibility that I could be pregnant. I let her know that I was excited at the idea but unsure of my future. She honed in on that uncertainty and probed further- what would I do with the child? Could I support it? What would my parents think? These were issues that I had not yet allowed to enter into my mind; I was taking the whole thing one step at a time. Consequently, I could not answer her questions as quickly as she blurted them out. As I floundered for responses, a look of smug resolution came over her face, as if she had already decided what I was going to do. I was a textbook abortion customer to her- young and afraid, and not knowing where to turn.” (7)

 

Clifford continues, describing what happened after the pregnancy test came back positive:

“She reminded me of my age and of my state in life. I knew I could not support the child on my own, so I asked her for a number I could call for government assistance. She claimed she didn’t have one to give me. It struck me as odd that she couldn’t provide me with a point of contact. Surely other women had been in this same situation before me and had needed information on how they could get help to keep their children as well. Why did Planned Parenthood, then, not keep such an important number handy?”

Clifford then asked for a referral to an obstetrician, which Planned Parenthood refused to provide. She goes on:

“The nurse breathed a heavy sigh of disapproval and curled her lip, as if I wasn’t understanding her point. ‘We don’t deal with pregnant women.’ Shocked, I wondered how this company could call itself ‘Planned Parenthood’ when it was unable or unwilling to deal with expectant parents….She seemed to sense my uneasiness and pressed some more.

She mentioned my parents again, appealing to my utter terror in having to break the news to them. The nurse bombarded me with negativity, playing on my fears and concerns and continuing to offer me the ‘easy way out.’… When I disagreed, she thrust a package of pamphlets at me on abortion costs and procedures, adoption information, and a small excerpt on prenatal care. She presented this to me and told me to come back when I had made up my mind…” (8)

This, then, is informed consent at Planned Parenthood.

Even some pro-choice activists have admitted that counseling at abortion clinics leaves something to be desired. Jennifer Baumgardner, who started the t-shirt campaign “I Had An Abortion” told the story of an abortion patient in her book “Abortion & Life.” She quotes the young woman saying:

“I went with my boyfriend and friend to Planned Parenthood. I think I was headed into my eighth week at that point. I went into a room for pre-abortion counseling- five quick, terse questions. I had assumed that I was going to get a half-hour and I would finally be able to tell someone or talk to someone about how freaked out I was, but I didn’t get to.”(9)

Another powerful source of information about how clinics really counsel women comes from former clinic workers who have left the abortion field and are now willing to describe how their clinics attempted to sell abortions to women using biased counseling and inaccurate information.

In an article in the Christian Herald, former clinic worker Kathy Sparks said the following about her response when abortion patients asked questions about the developing baby:

“Sometimes we lied. A girl might ask what her baby was like at a certain point in the pregnancy: Was it a baby yet? Even as early as 12 weeks a baby is totally formed, he has fingerprints, turns his head, fans his toes, feels pain. But we would say ‘It’s not a baby yet. It’s just tissue, like a clot.’(10)

While medical science has not yet determined exactly when the baby can feel pain, it is clear that Sparks was withholding vital information that would help pregnant women make a decision that they would have to live with for the rest of their lives. An unborn baby at 12 weeks does indeed have fingers and toes, a beating heart, and developing fingerprints. To characterize such a well-developed human being as “tissue” or “a clot” is outright dishonest.

According to Joy Davis, another former clinic worker whose testimony appeared in the Pro-Life Action League’s DVD “Abortion: The inside Story”

“When I first started working there [at the clinic], I had to sit and listen to women answering the phone for at least a month before they would allow me to answer the phone. We had to know exactly what we were doing when we were talking to these women. We had to find out very quickly what their problem was, play on that and get them in the clinic for an abortion. We were very good salespeople.”

Former Clinic Worker Deborah Henry elaborates on this theme:

“Many women could not afford to have babies, so we would use examples - like the price of babies’ shoes, the price of clothing, how much it cost to raise a baby. If they weren’t finished with their education, the hindrance it would have on their education, how would they find a baby sitter, who was going to take care of that baby for them? We would find their weakness and work on them….All they were told about the procedure itself was that they would experience slight cramping similar to menstrual cramps, and that was it. They were not told about the development of the baby….The women were never given any type of alternatives to the abortion.”(11)

In a rare moment of candor, abortion clinic worker Sallie Tisdale says the following in an article in Harpers Magazine. Tisdale was still working in the clinic at the time of the quote:

“It is when I am holding a plastic uterus in one hand, a suction tube in the other, moving them together in imitation of the scrubbing to come, that woman ask the most secret question. I am speaking in a matter-of-fact voice about ‘the tissue’ and ‘the contents’ when the woman suddenly catches my eye and says ‘How big is the baby now?’

These words suggest a quiet need for definition of the boundaries being drawn. It isn’t so odd, after all, that she feels relief when I describe the growing buds bulbous shape, its miniature nature. Again, I gauge, and sometimes lie a little, weaseling around its infantile features until its clinging power slackens.”(12)

Sometimes pro-choice publications also reveal the bias that is all too prevalent in abortion counseling. Planned Parenthood has a training manual called “The Complete Guide to Pregnancy Testing and Counseling.” It presents a hypothetical situation in which a woman comes to the clinic with ambivalent feelings about having an abortion. It suggests that the clinic worker:

“Tell her that no one makes the decision to have an abortion easily or ever feels really ‘good’ about it. Acknowledge that feelings of discomfort and sadness are normal. Ask about the reasons for which she and her husband decided on an abortion. Help her to reaffirm that this is the best decision for them right now. Remind her that feelings of guilt, sadness or loss do not mean that a wrong decision was made.”(13)

Life Dynamics discovered another document meant to train abortion clinic providers. The Reproductive Health Access Project gives “Pregnancy Options Counseling Points for the Ambivalent Patient.” Here are some of the points.

“2. Normalize feelings of ambivalence.

3. Acknowledge common feelings such as shame, disappointment, guilt and regret.

4. Reframe the situation – she may be making the most responsible decision by NOT continuing the pregnancy.

5. Be conscious of time – you do not need to know everything about the patient to help her make a decision.

6. Refer to the pregnancy, not the baby.

7. Elucidate that the patient’s choice not to be a mother now does not mean she is choosing not to be a mother in the future.”

Many, many more sources could be cited to prove that abortion clinics fail when it comes to abortion counseling. Numerous former clinic workers, beyond those quoted here, have testified that their former employers told them to lie, mislead, and withhold information. Many more women have testified to such deceit and coercion. This article only presents a fraction of the evidence that these deceptive practices go on in clinics all around the country.

 

1. Kay Scott “ABORTION: 24-HOUR-WAIT SUPPORTERS TRY TO DECEIVE” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, GA), Jan 21, 2005 pA15

2. David Reardon’ Aborted Women: Silent No More (Elliot Institute, January 1, 2002 http://www.amazon.com/Aborted-Women-Silent-No-More/dp/0964895722/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359675798&sr=8-1&keywords=Aborted+Women%3A+Silent+No+more

3. Barnard, C. (1990), The Long Term Psychological Effects of Abortion, Portsmouth, NH: Institute for Pregnancy Loss; and Vaughan, H. (1990), Canonical Variates of Post-Abortion Syndrome, Portsmouth, NH: Institute for Pregnancy Loss.

4. Susan Michelle Tyrrell ““‘They kept asking me if I was being ‘forced’ to keep the baby’: Alisha’s Planned Parenthood visit” Life Site News December 1, 2011http://www.lifesite.net/news/they-kept-asking-me-if-i-was-being-forced-to-keep-the-baby-alishas-planned

5. Ibid.

6. Trish Diggins “Selling Lies: Deception & The Abortion Industry”, The Forerunner Mar 1, 1992 http://www.forerunner.com/forerunner/X0433_Deception__Abortion_.html

7. Jennifer Clifford “UN-Planned Parenthood” The Catholic Resource Network, EWTN 1998 http://www.ewtn.com/library/PROLIFE/UNPLAN.TXT

8. Ibid

9. Jennifer Baumgardner Abortion & Life” (New York, NY: Akashic Books, 2008) 127

10. Gloria Williamson “The Conversion of Kathy Sparks” Christian Herald January 1986 p 28

11.Personal Testimony “Meet the Abortion Providers” Convention 1993

12. Sallie Tisdale “We Do Abortions Here” Harpers Magazine Oct 1987 p 68

13. “The Complete Guide to Pregnancy Testing and Counseling” Planned Parenthood 1985 (p 24-25) quoted in “Achieving Peace in the Abortion War” by Rachel M MacNair, Ph.D., published by the Feminism & Nonviolence Studies Association January 2009.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org. Sarah Terzo is a pro-life author and creator of the clinicquotes.com website. She is a member of Secular Pro-Life and Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.

FREE pro-life and pro-family news.

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most. Subscribe today. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

Congressman: Give us Nucatola or we’ll subpoena

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Dr. Deborah Nucatola has become awfully shy since she became the first national Planned Parenthood figure featured in an exposé of its practice of harvesting, and allegedly profiting from the sale of, the organs of aborted children. Within hours of the video release by the Center for Medical Progress, she removed her social media accounts. 

Now, she is considering dodging a call to testify before a Congressional committee investigating whether she admitted to breaking the law during her covertly recorded cameo with actors posing as agents of a human biologics company.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee called her to address the committee by month's end. 

Roger K. Evans, Planned Parenthood's Senior Counsel for Law and Policy, responded by saying that asking her to speak to Congress "no later than July 31 ... is short notice given the number of questions raised." 

He instead offered to substitute Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley in Nucatola's place.

Faced with the possibility that Planned Parenthood would refuse to send its star witness, at least one congressman has said he will take steps to ensure the abortion provider shows up.

Rep. Joe Pitts, R-PA, responded to Evans' letter by saying that the committee has called Dr. Nucatola to the witness stand before the end of the month, and she will comply or face the consequences.  

“If they say no, we’ll subpoena her,” the pro-life Republican said. 

The committee is focused on whether the process Dr. Nucatola - the doctor seen in the first video, eating salad and sipping wine - amounts to a violation of federal felony law forbidding the sale of human organs for "valuable consideration." 

Advertisement
Featured Image

Why selling ‘baby body parts’ has captured America’s attention (VIDEO)

By Pete Baklinski

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - A key player in last week’s startling video exposé of Planned Parenthood says that it took 30 months of strategic planning from numerous pro-life organizations to give the story the hard-hitting power with which it has walloped the abortion industry over its practice of harvesting the body parts of aborted babies. 

“We are seeing the fruit of a lot of careful thought, a lot of disciplined activities, and a lot of undercover work,” Rev. Frank Pavone, executive director of Priests for Life, told LifeSiteNews in an interview in Washington. 

Since breaking Tuesday of last week, the story has trended first place in social media platforms such as Facebook and has been given top priority on mega news aggregation websites such as Drudge Report. The first of now two undercover videos has been viewed over 2.5 million times on YouTube. 

Pavone said that this is not the first time Planned Parenthood has faced the heat for what many considered to be a barbaric practice of harvesting human organs for profit. Similar investigations in the late 1990s into the practices of Planned Parenthood found that aborted babies were being dissected alive, harvested, and sold in pieces for research. 

“Now this is fresh evidence. Now this is evidence going to the highest levels of Planned Parenthood. We know that people at the national level of Planned Parenthood are aware of and are admitting that these baby body parts are being harvested, that transactions are taking place, that money is changing hands. And so, this is catching the attention of the American public because it brings the abortion issue down from the abstract level to the concrete,” he said. 

“This is not just about viewpoints, it’s about victims. It’s not just about beliefs, it’s about bloodshed. When people see and hear terms like ‘eyes, livers, hearts’ it’s like, ‘What are we talking about here? This is ghoulish disgusting activity,’” he said. 

Pavone praised pro-life activists such as Operation Rescue president Troy Newman and Life Dynamics president Mark Crutcher for helping the exposé along, giving “strategic input, guidance, and advice.” Pavone highlighted the hard work of lead investigator David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress for going undercover to film meetings with high profile Planned Parenthood employees and attending numerous Planned Parenthood conferences.

Pavone believes the story has received so much traction in social media outlets like Facebook because it gives people a platform to express outrage over the injustice of abortion in response to mainstream media’s unwritten rule of silence and apathy on abortion. 

Traditional media outlets are “in the pocket” of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, he said, adding that they “don’t want to say a bad word about Planned Parenthood.”

“Social media has become the engine for those who feel so frustrated that things we have known for years that the abortion industry is doing, and yet we can’t seem to get the word out, now these people are taking this and running with it. And I think you’re seeing years and even decades of frustration being channeled in productive ways to say, ‘We’ve got to shout this from the rooftops.’ And social media is the perfect rooftop,” he said. 

When asked what the undercover videos released so far reveal about the abortion industry and the people who work in it, Pavone responded: 

When an abortionist dehumanizes the baby that he or she is about to kill, the abortionist also dehumanizes himself. And this is what we are seeing in these people. We see it in Deborah Nucatola sipping the wine and eating the salad and talking about the body parts. We see it in the newest video [about] Dr. Mary Gatter. We saw it in [jailed abortionist] Gosnell.

What’s wrong with [these people]? There are two things wrong. Number one, these people are dehumanized. They are deeply damaged by the abortions they perform. Because when you perform your first abortion, a voice of protest rises up within you saying, ‘No. Stop. You can’t do this.’ But then if you ignore that voice, and go ahead and do that abortion, then the next time you have to explain to yourself, and to everybody else, why you ignored that voice. And so, the voice of protest gets buried under layer, and layer, and layer of excuses and rationalizations. And in doing that, you are becoming disconnected from your own conscience.

How can these people talk about this with apparent peace on their face? It’s because they are disconnected from themselves, from their own conscience.

Pavone said that new undercover videos to be released in the coming days will continue to shed light on the gruesome practices happening at Planned Parenthood abortion centers across the nation. 

“We want to defund Planned Parenthood and get them to stop what they are doing. This is a very concrete way of doing that. We want to end Planned Parenthood because they are the largest abortion business in the world, and we want that to stop,” he said. 

Already a Congressional investigation is underway, but so far, Planned Parenthood is refusing to cooperate with the demands of the Committee investigating. 

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

The Planned Parenthood scandal shows the power of exposing abortion’s grotesqueness

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

July 23, 2015 (UnmaskingChoice) -- If there’s one thing that confuses me about how many pro-lifers decide on strategies to change hearts and minds on abortion, it’s the fact that they seem to believe that we have to approach the most controversial issue there is without controversy—that somehow, we have to take an issue that people have incredibly strong feelings about and ensure that none of those feelings surface during a discussion.

As our postcard campaign nears our record-breaking mark of one million postcards delivered to one million homes, reactions have been widely varied—we have phone calls from people “horrified” by the postcard, who don’t seem to realize that the action depicted is much more horrifying. We have people who demand to know what they are supposed to say if their children see the picture of “the dead baby”—who don’t seem to realize that with their own words, they have admitted that we live in a country where dead babies are tossed in garbage cans behind government-funded clinics. We also have people who call us to thank us for the information, and express anger that such barbarism could be happening in Canada. We have people who phone to tell us that the postcard has changed their vote, and the votes of their neighbors. And we have people like the old man who wanted to shake my hand because he was encouraged to see that “some people cared about things.”

Huge numbers of Canadians have no idea that abortion decapitates, dismembers, and disembowels a pre-born human being. Huge numbers of Canadians are being exposed to that tragic and horrifying fact.

By the polling numbers, we see many people influenced against abortion—even if they don’t like us, the image stays with them, and they like abortion even less. Even if only ten percent of people were influenced against abortion because of postcards depicting abortion imagery, I would point out that that is still a far bigger number than any other pro-life strategy even claims to impact. For the first time, statistically significant portions of the population are being exposed to the reality of abortion—and they are reacting to that reality.

Pro-lifers are often tempted to run scared because they believe what the pro-abortion movement says about our best evidence—that it will “turn people” off. It will, of course. In the words of one abortion activist: “Your pictures turn people off of abortion.” If people get angry with us, but are still influenced against abortion, we have accomplished exactly what we set out to do. That being said, people only focus on the angry commenters that they see—a handful of social media posts, and the same tired news story from each and every single media outlet. I’m not sure if most journalists are unimaginative or just lazy, but most seem unwilling or incapable of even visiting a few websites and trying to find out what the rationale behind the strategy is. Most of them, I suspect, have pre-written stories and just call around to get the quotes they want. We know, for example, that reporters have specifically ignored people who have received the postcard and offered to comment positively—that is not, they openly say, the story they are looking for.

The abortion movement, on the other hand, can’t decide whether the imagery we use is extremely effective, or very ineffective. Canadian abortion blogger “Fern Hill” is usually babbling the talking points about how what we’re doing is so counter-productive, and that we’re obsessed with “gore porn,” and then calling us a bunch of names. (If pro-abortion groups really did believe that what we were doing strengthened support for abortion so much, I suspect that they’d be a lot less angry about what we’re doing—after all, we’re just doing their job!) But a couple of days ago, after responding to pictures of the dozens of lovely young women on our staff by snapping that they were all one unplanned pregnancy away from being pro-choice (such a depressing world these people live in), she tweeted an article at me that I found interesting.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

It was a piece on David Daleidan of the Center for Medical Progress, the man behind the recent exposes of Planned Parenthood. He’s captured video of Planned Parenthood employees casually discussing not only the abortion procedure, but also how to best pillage the corpses of these dead children in order to sell their body parts for profit. The videos have horrified people across North America, and reaction has been swift. Amanda Marcotte, a pro-abortion blogger who often writes for Slate, has responded to the new scandal in an article called “Grossing people out can have short-term impact, but does it matter in the long-term?” She quotes Michelle Goldberg over at The Nation:

Further, it’s a way for the anti-abortion movement to focus the abortion debate on the graphic details of rare, late-term procedures, about which there is less public consensus than there is about early abortion. It serves the same purpose as the ban on so-called “partial-birth abortion,” and as blown-up pictures of bloody fetuses. It induces disgust, a very politically potent emotion, since most people associate things that are gross with things that are immoral. In his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, Jonathan Haidt describes how researchers asked students at Cornell University to fill out surveys about their political attitudes while standing either near or far from hand sanitizer. Those standing closer to it became temporarily more conservative. If something that minor can affect people’s politics, then a video like this one is sure to have a visceral impact.

Amanda Marcotte goes on to say that while abortion imagery and exposes are very potent, that the impact of them is not long-lasting. Why? Because, she writes with hilarious immaturity, most things in life are gross—sex, going to the bathroom, surgery—and we all get over those things, don’t we? So surely abortion pictures will also be forgotten.

She’s forgetting something—abortion pictures aren’t powerful because they’re “gross.” Abortion pictures are powerful because they show the results of abortion—a dead, butchered human being. The power in the imagery is that people recognize that, and something in them responds to this injustice. It’s why even the people angry with our postcards have responded to the media by talking about the postcards depicting the “dead babies” or the “slain babies” or the “torn-up babies.” No-one thinks that what they’re looking at is a removed appendix. No one thinks that what they’re looking at is bodily waste. Everyone knows, almost immediately, that what they’re looking at is a dead human.

That is why the impact of abortion pictures doesn’t just disappear. One more piece of evidence? Almost everyone I know in the pro-life movement was convicted to join the pro-life fight because they saw a picture or a video of abortion, including myself. As Marcotte herself pointed out, that was what convicted David Daleidan as well. We now have over forty young people on our staff, all convicted by seeing what abortion does to babies and what they can do about it.

The movement is just getting started.

Reprinted with permission from the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform.

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook