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New York Times op-ed admits abortion is at Planned Parenthood’s ‘very roots’

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May 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A recent New York Times piece reflecting on just-retired Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards’ battles with the Trump administration inadvertently admits abortion’s centrality to the organization, undermining a critical Planned Parenthood narrative.

Columnist Gail Collins’ Friday piece details Richards’ assessment of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s pro-life record during their time in office so far, which Richards says is less “friendly” to abortion than that of former President George W. Bush. Last month, Richards declared Trump the most anti-abortion president of her lifetime.

Collins opens her article by recounting a meeting Richards took shortly after Trump’s inauguration with presidential daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, during which Richards claims that the two attempted to “bribe” Planned Parenthood to cease their abortion activities in exchange for continued federal funding.

This, Collins writes, was “a little like suggesting to Mark Zuckerberg that he could get past his business problems if he dropped the part about being on the internet.” Later, she writes that Planned Parenthood is about “family planning,” which includes birth control as well as abortion, “at its very roots.”

These comments fly in the face of one of Planned Parenthood and its defenders’ most persistent talking points, which is that “abortion services” comprise just three percent of the organization’s medical services. It performs more than 300,000 abortions every year. The percentage is typically deployed to argue that Planned Parenthood’s subsidies should continue because most of its activities are unrelated to abortion.

The percentage is derived from counting as separate services that are normally grouped together, such as giving the same woman contraceptives, a pregnancy test, and an abortion, without regard for the varying costs or complexity of particular services. In 2013, senior editor Rachael Larimore of the left-wing Slate admitted that such methodology makes the figure the “most meaningless abortion statistic ever.”

“Planned Parenthood gets at least a third of its clinic income—and more than 10 percent of all its revenue, government funding included—from its abortion procedures,” Larimore wrote. “Ask anyone who runs a for-profit business or nonprofit charity if something that brings in one-third of their revenue is ‘central’ to their endeavor, and the answer is likely to be yes.”

Collins also faults the Trump administration for “want[ing] to destroy programs meant to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place,” which supposedly undermines their stated goal of preventing abortions. 

But a 2016 study out of the University of Notre Dame found a link between school condom programs and a 10% increase in teen birth rates, suggesting that the promotion of “safe sex” rather than abstinence encourages more sex to occur in the first place, and by extension more instances of contraception failing. Further, Faith & Reason Institute senior research fellow Mary Eberstadt notes that the “statistical record since the 1960s” shows that “increased use of contraception has also increased abortion.”

Further reinforcing abortion’s centrality to Planned Parenthood, the pro-life Radiance Foundation has detailed how Planned Parenthood increased abortions while decreasing actual medical services for women under Richards’ leadership.

From fiscal years 2006 to 2016, Planned Parenthood’s annual abortions rose almost eleven percent, according to the abortion giant’s annual reports. During that same period, breast cancer screenings declined 62%, pap tests declined 72%, and prenatal care declined 30%.

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