On September 18, a group of pro-life leaders from across the nation gathered at the invitation of the Pro-Life Action League for a closed-door summit on confronting—and ultimately defeating—the unborn child’s worst enemy: Planned Parenthood. This particular date was chosen, in part, because it was the one-year anniversary of the date that Planned Parenthood was scheduled to open their doors in Aurora, Illinois, a date held off for two weeks, to the immense vexation of Planned Parenthood officials, thanks to pro-life efforts.
The League’s Joe Scheidler opened the meeting with some inspiring observations on the signs that Planned Parenthood is more vulnerable now than ever before, including their current strategy of building massive new abortuaries in response to the effectiveness of pro-life protest and counseling efforts. I then took over as facilitator for the meeting.
Fighting Planned Parenthood on All Fronts
The meeting ranged over a series of critical topics, each briefly introduced by a specialist in the group, followed by an open round-table discussion. Jim Sedlak of American Life League discussed Planned Parenthood’s expansion plans and their effort to create a more positive public image. Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America offered a presentation on undermining Planned Parenthood’s image with a consistent pro-life message, and how we can work to defund them. Kristan also introduced Lila Rose of Life Action Films, who gave a preview of her now-famous video exposing how Planned Parenthood shelters child predators and skirts parental involvement laws in Indiana.
Patricia Bainbridge of Life Decisions International addressed Planned Parenthood’s assault on youth, and Kathleen Sullivan of Project Reality gave an overview of how they work to undermine abstinence education. Claude Allen of the Gerard Health Foundation supplemented Kathleen’s presentation with an explanation of the rigged investigations falsely showing abstinence programs don’t work.
Tom Brejcha of the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center gave an overview of the many legal battles against Planned Parenthood throughout the country on such diverse areas of law as libel, malpractice and zoning compliance. And David Bereit of 40 Days for Life spoke on the critical role that grassroots activism must play in our pro-life strategy.
Among the other leaders in attendance at the meeting were Steve Peroutka of National Pro-Life Action Center, Jill Stanek of JillStanek.com, Janet Morana of Priests for Life, Joe Langfeld of Human Life Alliance and Brian Clowes of Human Life International.
A Bold Joint Statement
The meeting concluded with the drafting of a Joint Statement on Defeating Planned Parenthood, which was submitted to the press the following day. Media outlets across the country picked up the story, and I was busy with interviews for the next week on the combination of legal, political, media and grassroots strategies—all of them rooted in prayer—that we set forth for ending Planned Parenthood’s reign of terror on the unborn.
The complete joint statement, “Defeating Planned Parenthood: A National Pro-Life Strategy”, is available for downloading in PDF format at http://prolifeaction.org/docs/PPSummitJointStatement.pdf.