Cecile Richards has pounded the drum till its skin has worn thin: Women’s healthcare is in danger. Without Planned Parenthood, women will die. Women will have no way to obtain pap smears, breast exams, and birth control, unless the half a billion taxpayer dollars a year keeps flowing into her hands.
On its face, this seems relatively ridiculous. We have Obamacare, which mandates “free” birth control. We have Republicans looking to make birth control even easier to obtain by making it available in stores. One wonders if Planned Parenthood got the memo from the Centers for Disease Control that aggregates guidance from the American Cancer Society, U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The Society of Gynecologic Oncology, and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology to recommend that sexually active women under 21 do not get pap smears and that women over 21 receive a pap smear every three years.
It has become pretty clear that Planned Parenthood is offering “services” as the entry point on their supply chain. Every pregnancy test offered gives Planned Parenthood the opportunity to convert that customer to its most profitable service—abortion.
Big Abortion Losing Steam
The Center for Medical Progress’ remarkable investigative journalism has introduced a shock to the average American. Many tacitly pro-choice folks are shifting their beliefs in light of videos that depict abortion for what it is. Articles like “I don’t know if I’m pro-choice any more after the Planned Parenthood videos” are becoming more common. People are waking up to what we have allowed for too long—ending children’s lives for our “convenience.” Or worse, thinking that we should try to reap health benefits from the small bodies being ripped out of their mothers.
This new excuse is just that. Research with fetal tissue has been largely a dead end for some time and the critical source material, pluripotent stem cells, is available through other means. It’s even found in the breastmilk moms use to nourish new lives. Using the false hope that potential medicine might come from the destruction of life is perverse on its face.
Organ supply company Stem Express severed its relationship with “high volume” partner Planned Parenthood rather than defend the work of facilitating human organ and tissue sales as “valuable.” Holly O’Donnell, the whistleblower who worked for Stem Express, faced with a 20-week-old fetus whose heart was still beating and having to cut through its face to retrieve neural tissue for her employer, quit that day. These videos are starting a conversation about Planned Parenthood, which has seen its approval rating drop as a result.
An Opening to Revitalize Life-Focused Health Care
When polling questions discuss the videos’ content first, the results differ from many headlines you see: “44 percent of respondents who saw the controversial videos ‘now have a more negative view of Planned Parenthood, compared with 34 percent who said their views were unchanged.’ By the time information from the videos was described to survey respondents, the number of people saying tax dollars for Planned Parenthood should end was bigger than the number of people saying federal funding was acceptable. ‘After the videos were described to poll respondents, 39 percent said Planned Parenthood should not receive government funding and 34 percent said federal dollars should continue,’ the report concluded.”
This seems like a good opportunity, at a minimum, to eliminate the American taxpayer in the gruesome business model that Planned Parenthood has built. It’s hard to believe there would not be alternatives for women if Planned Parenthood disappeared today.
But the one thing Planned Parenthood has that others don’t is name recognition. People often are more motivated by the fear of losing something than the hope of gaining, and Planned Parenthood is maximizing this as they push back against calls to defund their organization. To blunt this argument, the Right will need to do the hard work of providing a sense of security by showing there is a compelling alternative.
Big Abortion Currently Corners the Market
Planned Parenthood has said that if they are defunded, many women would have nowhere to go for healthcare. There is a kernel of truth in that statement. Recently, Kathleen Eaton-Bravo, founder and CEO of Obria Medical Clinics (licensed care providers for girls and women), warned that Planned Parenthood is partially right: pro-life clinics could not handle the influx of women.
“Our competitor, Planned Parenthood, is well-organized and well-funded. In 40 years, the pro-life movement has yet to form an alliance of licensed pro-life medical clinics,” Eaton-Bravo said. We have a problem in the pro-life movement: pro-life medical clinics are fragmented and can’t compete with big abortion.
On July 30, National Review published a symposium addressing the question of women’s health in a post-Planned Parenthood era. The writers drew attention to pro-life medical clinics like Obria. Most agreed that, contra Planned Parenthood statements, there are pro-life options for women. One thing lacking among the answers is an alliance—a unified entity or two which has the organization and funding to stand up against Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has 97 percent name recognition. Couple that with the fact that 93 percent of girls and women use mobile devices to search for words like “abortion,” and we shouldn’t be surprised to find out that it takes only 14 seconds for a girl to make an appointment with a local Planned Parenthood center. (Try it—pick up your cell phone and google “abortion.”)
The pro-life movement has to compete at this level. This means marketing, branding, and a host of other tools that many crisis pregnancy centers with a phone number in the local yellow pages just don’t have.
Let’s Create Nationwide Alliances
God bless all those crisis pregnancy centers that labored in obscurity for years, but if we want to reach the abortion-minded women, we must consolidate pro-life clinics and offer competitive services. This means more than a pregnancy test, a pat on the hand, and off the girl goes with a package of diapers and a plastic baby doll. Some have said 80 percent of women end up back at Planned Parenthood for medical care after visiting a pregnancy care center. Whether that statistic is accurate is of secondary importance here—the point is that many women do return to Planned Parenthood.
As we continue the path toward defunding Planned Parenthood, pro-life alliances must be formed, coupled with the creation of full-service, licensed pro-life medical care clinics. One of Obria’s goals is to unite under one brand with other pro-life medical clinics across the country, in order to compete patient-for-patient with Planned Parenthood. Services would include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and the spectrum of well-women care, sans contraceptives and abortions.
As America wakes up to the Auschwitz-like experimentation and atrocities Planned Parenthood has been committing under the guise of “women’s health,” the pro-life movement must rise to the challenge, and they must do so with a viable model—one based on alliance building, licensed full-service medical care, and name recognition. We need a model that can reach the 93 percent of women who use their mobile devices to turn to Planned Parenthood at a moment of crisis.