As the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood has always been high atop the list of Pro-Life Action League opponents. Over the past several months, this multi-pronged fight has been waged on the ground, online, and in the halls of government.
League Confronts New PP Propaganda
On January 9, Planned Parenthood held an advance press briefing with a handful of carefully selected pro-abortion journalists and bloggers about a novel strategy for talking about abortion. It was left to the League’s Matt Yonke—who monitors pro-abortion websites—to break the story in the pro-life community the next day.
After polling Americans about how they feel about abortion and the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” Planned Parenthood realized they had a problem. Contrary to Planned Parenthood’s ideology of abortion without limits, most Americans believe abortion should be restricted at least to some extent—but “choice” has come to be seen as an absolutist position.
So Planned Parenthood is retreating from the decades-old language of “choice” in favor of language that emphasizes the “difficulty” of the abortion decision and fosters the kind of moral ambiguity that Planned Parenthood can hide behind.
As Matt reported, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards was on hand for the January 9 briefing, as was executive vice president Dawn Laguens, who went so far as to say that the word “choice” is no longer relevant to the abortion debate! The word spoke to women who in earlier times had fewer choices, she said, but fails to inspire today’s young women, who feel they have all the choices in the world.
This shift in strategy confirms what we’ve always known: that the word “choice” was never more than pro-abortion propaganda—a rhetorical trick for keeping the moral question about abortion from being raised. But, as Matt declared in his story on the League’s website, our response remains the same: to keep the focus unambiguously on the evil of abortion. In the end, that’s what cut through the “choice” propaganda, and that’s what will continue to cut through to the truth.
League Crashes Roe Anniversary Gala
True to form, two weeks later the League protested Planned Parenthood’s gala fundraiser held the day after the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Despite temperatures in the teens, three dozen stalwart activists took to the streets outside Chicago’s swanky Carnivale restaurant to remind Planned Parenthood’s well-heeled donors that abortion is nothing to celebrate.
Chicago Police initially tried to restrict our protest to the opposite side of the street from the restaurant, but League Executive Director Eric Scheidler asserted our First Amendment rights by positioning signholders directly in front of the restaurant, where we had a legitimate right to be. After that, the demonstration went uninterrupted.
Although VIPs usually enter this type of event through a back door, guest of honor and former Obama advisor David Axelrod had to make his way inside through our gauntlet of graphic abortion signs. As he walked by, Eric called out, “David Axelrod—I thought Democrats were for the little guy. What about the little guy in the womb?” Axelrod just rolled his eyes and walked in.
Despite the extreme cold, activists’ spirits were high, and the protest ran longer than originally planned as guests continued to arrive late. Nobody wanted to end the protest until every guest had seen the reality of abortion.
League Exposes “Abortion Incorporated”
Protest of Planned Parenthood fundraiser at Chicago’s Navy Pier [Photo by Matt Yonke]
Fast forward to May 2 and another swanky Planned Parenthood fundraiser, this one at Navy Pier in downtown Chicago. Once again we found ourselves facing less than ideal weather conditions: driving wind gusts of up to 35 m.p.h. But the League’s volunteers came through, with over 30 turning out to protest Planned Parenthood’s “Generations Gala.”
Among them was a group from Springfield Right to Life that made the three-hour drive to Chicago from Illinois’ capital city. Two other pro-lifers—one from Michigan, one from Connecticut—happened to be visiting Chicago and decided to join our protest.
Along with graphic abortion signs, we also displayed handheld signs reading “Planned Parenthood lies to you” and “Ahead: President of Abortion Inc,” the latter a reference to Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, who was attending the event. Other guests included Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law School student famous for demanding that her contraceptives be paid for by that Catholic institution, longtime League legal adversary Fay Clayton, and Illinois’ stridently pro-abortion Attorney General, Lisa Madigan.
League Files Complaint Over Abortion Death
In addition to fighting Planned Parenthood on the ground and online, the League is also battling Planned Parenthood through the law. On February 8, the Thomas More Society filed a formal administrative complaint on the League’s behalf with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (IDPR), urging an investigation into the death of 24-year old Tonya Reaves after she had an abortion at Planned Parenthood’s Loop Health Center in Chicago on July 20, 2012.
Reaves underwent a dilation and evacuation abortion at 11:00 a.m. that day. Following the abortion, she experienced complications, but it wasn’t until 4:30 p.m.—five and a half hours later—that she was brought to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. During this time, Planned Parenthood never called 911 to get help for her. Moreover, no city ambulance was summoned, and it remains unclear how she was transported to the hospital.
Seven hours later, Reaves was dead. The League’s complaint makes clear that Planned Parenthood’s negligence amounts to a flagrant case of utterly unprofessional “patient abandonment.” However, the IDPR has yet to respond to this formal complaint.
The challenges of confronting a foe like Planned Parenthood are considerable, from their allies in government and the media, to their massive war chest. But through diligence and faithfulness, the Pro-Life Action League continues to fight “Abortion, Incorporated” with everything we’ve got.