On last Sunday’s episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the celebrity sisters took on one of the most divisive issues in American politics: Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. It started with a conversation between Kim and Kourtney, her older sister.
“What is all this Planned Parenthood talk, where people want to protest for Planned Parenthood?” Kim asks.
“You know I don’t watch TV, I don’t look online really,” Kourtney responds.
Apparently incapable of reading a news story, Kim and Kourtney call in the big guns to explain the protests: little sister Khloe.
“I am pro-choice,” Khloe declared. “It doesn’t mean I am for abortion, but I do think there are circumstances where people should be given the choice.”
Kim paused. “I want to have an opinion on this, but I just don’t know enough,” she said. “I do like to speak up on social media about topics that mean something to me, and I want to be more informed.”
Strange, I thought for a topic to “mean something” to you, you have to have already formed a strong opinion on it. But what do I know?
The sisters then schedule a visit to Planned Parenthood’s Los Angeles headquarters to educate themselves and help Kim decide her opinion on a topic that “means something” to her. Similar to what might happen when a journalist visits North Korea, Planned Parenthood pulled out all the stops. Featured in the grand tour were the organization’s most sympathetic patients. One of them, Kelly, found out she was HIV-positive at age 23, allegedly thanks to a test at the clinic. Also present was Adeline, who says that after meeting a physician at Planned Parenthood, she decided against getting an abortion.
What the Kardashians Didn’t See That Day
Lost amid these women’s stories is the fact that Planned Parenthood also does abortions. A lot of abortions. Indeed, according to the group’s most recent report, Planned Parenthood performed more than 300,000 abortions in one year alone.
To put that number into perspective, that’s one abortion performed every 90 seconds, accounting for about half the total abortions performed in the United States each year. Planned Parenthood performs 113 abortions for every single adoption referral.
Of course, non-Planned Parenthood facilities perform abortions. But what makes Planned Parenthood particularly prone to mass protests is the fact that the organization receives more than $500 million in federal funding each year through grants and Medicaid reimbursements, and was founded by a woman who supported various methods of population control, including abortion, to defend the unborn “against their own disabilities.”
We’re Not Supposed to Fund Abortion Providers
On paper, none of the funding Congress sends Planned Parenthood is supposed to pay for abortions. But in reality, the situation is far more complex.
In 1976, three years after the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, which banned federal Medicaid funding for abortions. (Today it provides exceptions for the cases of rape and incest.) Historically, the Hyde Amendment had bipartisan support, and didn’t become a divisive political issue until last year, when Planned Parenthood and its allies launched a campaign against it.
“Abortion has been one of the most divisive topics in American society and politics for more than four decades,” explains the American Center for Law and Justice. “The Hyde Amendment has been a unique compromise by Americans on all sides of the abortion debate, declaring that because abortion is so controversial, our federal tax dollars should not be used to end unborn lives.”
Money is fungible. So although Planned Parenthood can’t directly bill Medicaid for abortions, the more than $500 million in government funding it receives annually ends up in the same pot, thereby subsidizing hundreds of thousands of life-ending procedures. So long as Planned Parenthood chooses to offer abortions, pro-lifers say all Americans shouldn’t be forced to fund that organization. If Planned Parenthood were willing to sacrifice that aspect of their business, however, the situation would look much different.
What the Kardashians Say about Abortion Versus Do
Although sympathetic, the patients’ stories featured in last week’s episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” were hardly relevant to Kim’s initial question: “What is all this Planned Parenthood talk where people want to protest for Planned Parenthood?”
To be clear, those who stand for life aren’t protesting the organization’s service to HIV-positive patients and the likes—they’re fighting to stop the killing of unborn babies, or at the very least, to stop being forced to subsidizing it. Conservatives, many of whom are pro-life, have found many reasons to criticize the Kardashians. But for the past 14 years, the Kardashians have shown better than anyone what a joy unplanned children can be.
There’s no way of knowing whether any of the Kardashian sisters have ever gotten abortions. But we do know they’ve clearly decided against it. In 2009, Kourtney faced an unplanned pregnancy with her then-boyfriend, Scott Disick. According to People, Kourtney contemplated getting an abortion, but ultimately decided against it.
In an interview, she said: “I really wanted to think it through for myself, and not hear what my sisters were saying, or what Scott was saying. Even though I took it all in, I wanted it to be my decision…My doctor told me there is nothing you will ever regret about having the baby, but he was like, ‘You may regret not having the baby.’ And I was like: That is so true. And it just hit me. I got so excited, and when I told Scott he was so excited. But I think if I had said I’m not going to keep it, I really think he would have pushed me into keeping it.”
If Kourtney had gone to Planned Parenthood rather than her private physician, would she have made that same decision? Given the family’s decision to become Planned Parenthood activists, it seems like a fair question.
Since giving birth to her precious son Mason, Kourtney has had two additional children, despite an uncertain future with Scott. Kim has two of her own, and Khloe and Kylie Jenner are both reportedly pregnant.
After touring the facilities with Sue Dunlap, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Kim said, “The perception of Planned Parenthood is that it is an abortion clinic; that is nothing what it is like.”
“I’m a big fan of Planned Parenthood now,” Khloe added. “Meeting the girls and hearing their stories and seeing how many women have been helped by some of the services they have to offer, I think people need to be more educated in how they form opinions, and that is what I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do.”
If the Kardashians truly cared about educating people about Planned Parenthood, they would have done more than interview HIV-positive patients. They would have addressed the abortions Planned Parenthood performs an average of every 90 seconds, and gone inside to watch one. But airing an abortion on national TV? That’s far too real for a reality show.