As part of my work fighting Planned Parenthood, I regularly monitor the abortion giant’s e-mail messages to supporters. I’m rarely surprised by the heated rhetoric and propaganda I see in these e-mails, but last Friday’s message from Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards betrayed such contempt for the truth that even I was struck by it.
The message begins fairly typically, with an outlandish declaration:
I’m appalled by what is happening in my home state. Governor Rick Perry and the Texas legislature have launched a relentless assault on Planned Parenthood and women’s health that is a true threat to women in Texas and beyond.
Note that Richards decries this “assault on Planned Parenthood and women’s health” as if the two are one and the same—and as if anyone would really be opposed to “women’s health,” least of all the 21 women members of the Texas legislature who voted in favor of the measure, well outnumbering the 15 women who voted against it.
Of course, by “women’s health” we know what Planned Parenthood really means: abortion. That’s the kind of rhetoric we’re used to. But Richards’ next paragraph rises to a crescendo of dishonesty:
This week, Gov. Perry and anti-women’s health legislators in Texas passed a bill that would force women seeking abortion care to view a sonogram. It would also require doctors to read an anti-choice script written by the anti-choice legislature . . .
The bill—HB 15—was actually passed way back in May, not last week, but that error seems almost quaint in comparison to the shocking mendacity of the way Richards characterizes the legislation.
Outright Lies about the Texas Ultrasound Bill
In reality, the bill required doctors to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion.
And what Richards calls an “anti-choice script” is actually a mere description of the physical development of the fetus whose life the woman is considering aborting.
Of course, this kind of medically accurate information does tend rather to dissuade women from abortion than otherwise—but in so doing it is actually pro-choice, not “anti-choice.” It empowers women to make a more informed choice. So Richards is actually the one guilty of undermining freedom of choice here.
Note also how Richards tries to deflect the stigma of the word “abortion” by couching it alongside the word “care,” and uses the term “sonogram” rather than the far more familiar “ultrasound,” which brings to mind all those pictures people post on their fridges and Facebook profiles.
. . . To add to the cruelty, the only way to avoid these burdens would be for women to certify in writing that they are pregnant due to rape or incest.
Yes, the bill provides that women who became pregnant through rape and incest don’t have to hear the medical facts about their fetus’ development. But the Texas legislature was unwilling to make it easy for Planned Parenthood staffers to coach women into lying about how their children were conceived—just as they have been caught doing in cases of statutory rape.
But in any case, I fail to see why a woman who has already been victimized by a sexual predator should be deprived of accurate information about the innocent child she’s carrying. It’s a shame that this kind of concession seems to be necessary to get bills like these passed.
Richards’ Narrow View of “Health Care”
Richards goes on:
Stand with Planned Parenthood and Texas women: tell Gov. Perry to stop blocking women’s access to health care.
Again: for Richards, “access to health care” means nothing but “access to abortion”—but not access to accurate information about abortion, somehow.
Thankfully, a federal judge stopped enforcement of the worst parts of the new law just two days before they went into effect. His ruling pointed out that this law “compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen.”
The judge rightly saw an unconstitutional law designed to bring politicians into medical examination rooms and trample the rights of women and their doctors. Governor Perry immediately vowed to appeal the bill.
Any doctor who would insist that an accurate description of a living, growing human fetus—in other words, the medical facts—represents “an ideological agenda with which they may not agree” shouldn’t be compelled to “read a script” but to surrender his medical license!
And as for doctors’ conscience rights, Richards is more than willing to see them trampled when it comes to those who decline to be involved in abortion.
Tell him to stop. Tell Gov. Perry that Texans, and all Americans, need more access to affordable care, not less. Tell him that enough is enough.
Texas has more uninsured residents than any other state. But Governor Perry recently cut family planning funding by two-thirds—which could cut off health care to more than 300,000 Texas women. 300,000! . . .
Richards seems to forget that there’s a lot more to health care than what she calls “reproductive health care”—but which isn’t even that. For example, Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide mammograms. They diagnose but rarely treat sexually transmitted disease.
The bulk of their business is abortion and birth control. And nobody ever goes to Planned Parenthood for a broken leg, stomach flu, soar throat, migraine headache or any of the other common health problems facing those 300,000 women Richards is so worried about.
Repeating Lies Doesn’t Make Them True
For the remainder of her message, Richards does little more than repeat some of the outrageous claims we’ve already looked at, but for the sake of thoroughness I will include it all:
Women in Texas struggle to find affordable health care, but Governor Perry is trying to shut down the Planned Parenthood health centers that provide it. And now he is threatening to continue pushing legislation that would put doctors at risk of losing their medical licenses unless they read a script written by anti-choice lawmakers to every woman seeking abortion care.
Our leaders have a responsibility to protect our rights and expand access to desperately needed health care. It’s time for Gov. Perry to stop blocking women’s access to health care, and start advancing women’s rights and health.
Texas isn’t the only place that faces lawmakers working to undermine women’s health and rights—and Planned Parenthood is determined to fight back against their anti-women’s health, anti-choice policies in state after state. Thank you for everything you do to stand with Planned Parenthood and the women, men, and teens who rely on us.
Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
If Not “Choice,” What’s Richards’ Real Agenda?
For all the outrageous hypocrisy, distortion and outright falsehood in Richards message, it presents a tacit admission that should be encouraging to the pro-life movement: the more women know about abortion and the unborn child, the less likely they are to choose abortion.
If Richards were really a proponent of “choice,” she’d favor measures like this. But her real motives have nothing to do with “choice” or what she calls “women’s health.”
No, what’s really at stake for Richards when states pass these kinds of informed consent laws is the bottom line.
When women decide against abortion, Planned Parenthood loses money. At least one third of their billion-dollar income comes from providing abortions. We know from whistleblowers like former Planned Parenthood staffer Abby Johnson that increasing abortion revenue is a priority.
So when it comes to informing women about the medical facts of abortion, Planned Parenthood has a conflict of interest.
In her e-mail message to her supporters, Richards uses one of her favorite phrases: “Enough is enough.” But for Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood, there’s never enough abortion.
Meanwhile, here’s hoping Gov. Perry does as Richards warns and appeals the blockage of this bill. Fully implemented, it will give women more choice when it comes to abortion, and save lives.