Death, Destruction, and the National Abortion Federation

NOTE: This article is the first in an occasional series on the National Abortion Federation.

The National Abortion Federation (NAF) holds itself up as the gold standard of providers of so-called “safe, legal, and accessible abortion care.”

But when the notorious Kermit Gosnell—currently on trial for murder in Philadelphia, in case you haven’t heard—unsuccessfully applied to become an NAF member in late 2009, the evaluator who visited his facility said it was the worst one she had ever seen, yet she never reported the horrific conditions in Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” to authorities.

It’s also worth noting that Gosnell worked one day a week at Delaware Atlantic Women’s Medical Services, which was an NAF-certified clinic at the time the Gosnell grand jury report was released in January 2011.

NAF on “Developing Cultural Competence in Reproductive Health”

Today the Pro-Life Action League begins an occasional series examining several of the most revealing documents on the NAF website, beginning with “Developing Cultural Competence in Reproductive Health” [PDF] published in 2004, which gives recommendations from a seminar held in Seattle on April 6, 2003 at which the keynote speaker was the now-infamous Dian Harrison, former CEO of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate.

Most of the contents are not surprising. The NAF recommends, for example, that its member clinics discover which ethnic groups/language groups are in their area and provide forms and instructions in the clients’ native language.

Of particular note, however, is NAF’s concern is for women who are “underserved” in health care. In fact, a brief look at the 25 page document finds 19 references to “underserved women”, most of which are refer to the area of “reproductive health care.”

On page 5, the report expresses worry about the “disparities in access to reproductive health services that continue to persist and [plan] to develop remedies to close the gaps”.

Are there disparities in access to reproductive health services among women of color?

Yes there are. According to the report (page 4) “…Latinas are roughly two and a half times as likely and black women are more than three times as likely as white women to have an abortion” (page 4).

In other words, in abortions these women are overserved. How is it possible to have a group of women underserved in “reproductive health care” when they have 2 ½ to 3 times more abortions?

All the barriers listed for these women accessing health care—location of clinics, language, ability to pay, feeling comfortable with clinic personnel from different backgrounds, etc.—seem to have been more than adequately overcome for Latina and African-American women to have such a high abortion rate.

Yet the NAF is encouraging more changes to reach these “underserved” women until the disparities in reproductive healthcare are removed. Frankly, in order to do that they would need to decrease their attempts at reaching out to women of color. Yet the NAF wants to increase their outreach to these women. Hence, the title of this post, based on Proverbs 27:20a (NIV):

“Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither”…is the NAF.

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