In April, Planned Parenthood Federation of America sent an e-mail to its supporters alleging that an Indiana pregnancy resource center (PRC) had engaged in “a campaign of harassment and intimidation” against a pregnant 17-year old girl who had “unwittingly” walked into the center, which shares a parking lot with the Planned Parenthood facility.
Planned Parenthood claims an unnamed PRC in an unidentified Indiana location first passed itself off as an abortion facility, tricked the young woman into going for an appointment at its “other office”—the real Planned Parenthood facility across the lot—and then called the police to intercept her there, saying that she was a minor “being forced to have an abortion against her will.”
Thereafter, the story continues, the PRC staff “proceeded to wage a campaign of intimidation and harassment over the following days.” The story says the PRC staff showed up at the girl’s home and even went to her school to urge classmates to pressure her not to have an abortion. The story grimly states: “Our clinic director reports that she was —scared to death to leave her house.'”
Pro-lifers intercepted the Planned Parenthood communiqué and were immediately skeptical. The absence of specific details gave the story all the marks of an urban legend, and I decided to investigate Planned Parenthood’s shocking claims.
Investigating Planned Parenthood’s Story
The communiqué offered only three clues about the abortion facility involved in this alleged incident: that it was (1) run by Planned Parenthood, (2) in the state of Indiana, and (3) shared a parking lot with a pregnancy resource center. By cross referencing the Indiana Planned Parenthood locations with two national PRC databases, I found only one possible fit: A Woman’s Choice in Indianapolis.
Now that I had identified the only place where this incident could possibly have occurred, I contacted the Indianapolis Police Department, reasoning that they would surely have filed a police report after responding to a tip that a girl was being forced to have an abortion. The IPD official I spoke with could find no trace of any police report corroborating Planned Parenthood’s version of events. Nor were there any police reports related to the nearby pregnancy resource center. The police department official I worked with said that the police would be unlikely not to have filed a report on an incident like that described by Planned Parenthood.
Next I searched the Marion County Clerk’s Office records to see if any lawsuits had been filed against the pro-life center. Again, nothing.
Planned Parenthood’s story claimed that the young woman was “scared to death to leave her house,” yet no police report was ever filed. No lawsuit was ever brought against those responsible for the alleged “campaign of harassment and intimidation.” If this incident really took place, Planned Parenthood was apparently more interested in demonizing pro-lifers than in looking out for the welfare of this young women.
Planned Parenthood Urged To Come Clean
On May 5 I published the results of my research on the Generations for Life and Pro-Life Action League websites, and we issued a national press release calling on Planned Parenthood to either substantiate its claims with hard evidence or admit that their story is a fabrication.
One enterprising pro-lifer brought the matter to the attention of Indiana State Senator Billie Breaux, concerned that Breaux might give credence to Planned Parenthood’s claims, which appear designed to influence legislation that would restrict the activities of pro-life pregnancy resource centers. Sen. Breaux’s legislative assistant, Cindy Felsten, wrote the following response, which we pubished on the Generations for Life website:
I looked into this email and yes it is a true story. Many of the Pregnancy Crisis Centers [sic] here are staffed by volunteers who are not trained. The information was put out to try to get people to stand up and ask for legislation to stop what some of these centers do.
Indiana Political Staffer Duped?
I called Cindy Felsten myself and she again insisted that Planned Parenthood’s story is true. I asked how she was able to verify it. She told me that Planned Parenthood of Indiana official Michael McKillip had assured her by phone that their version of events was accurate.
Felsten admitted that McKillip did not divulge the facility nor even the city in which the incident was supposed to have occurred. When I asked her if she had contacted the pro-life center to get its version of events, she said, “No.” It was troubling, even if not surprising, to witness the staff of an elected official shilling for Planned Parenthood and denigrating the integrity of Indiana PRC workers.
However, we can be encouraged that, thanks to the tools made available to pro-lifers on the Internet, Planned Parenthood’s desperate attempt to deceive the public was widely publicized. I am gratified that our increasingly influential Generations for Life website played a part in exposing the lies of the culture of death.
Links and Related Pages
- Evil CPC Story Urban Legend?
- New Development in the Evil CPC Story—John Jansen’s May 3 blog entry
- Calling Their Bluff—John Jansen’s May 5 blog entry
- Shilling for Planned Parenthood—John Jansen’s May 11 blog entry