You might recall that the Center for Medical Progress was sued shortly after they began releasing a series of undercover videos over the course of several weeks beginning in July 2015. As a result, CMP was ordered to turn over any unreleased footage to Congress and was prohibited from releasing any new undercover video footage to the public.
Soon after, however, several hours of previously unreleased footage was leaked by an anonymous source. A few of these videos show footage from a National Abortion Federation meeting held in San Francisco in April 2014 — the same meeting, in fact, at which CMP’s most recently released video was filmed (and which was subsequently ordered by a federal judge to be removed from YouTube, although it can still be seen here.)
The footage that was leaked nearly two years ago didn’t receive much attention at the time, so in light of CMP’s most recent video, it deserves another look.
One of the most interesting segments from comes from a video titled “2nd Trimester Provider Self Care” in which Mona Reis — a longtime owner of the Presidential Women’s Center abortion clinic in West Palm Beach, Florida — made some rather candid remarks about the nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood. These comments begin at the 14:08 mark, and a transcript follows:
The last part of this presentation is, I think, the most difficult for me to articulate and one that I have not had any resolution with. It is often the subject that we should not talk about because it causes great tensions within our movement.
It’s demoralizing to think that our most profound battles are not always from the antis but also from within. And that is — meaning no disrespect to [Dr.] Lisa [Harris, of Planned Parenthood],* who is on this panel — and it has to do with the Planned Parenthood reality. For me, it has greatly changed my life over the last five years. It’s felt like a great personal betrayal of what I thought were shared values and convictions.
I supported the mission of Planned Parenthood. I fund raised for them, I served on their board. My analogy to how I feel is similar to stories my wonderful 91-year old father would tell me of his years in the Army and his relationships with his fellow soldiers who became lifelong friends. He would tell me about those days in the trenches as being some of the happiest of his life. The bonds that his friends formed were from their determination for freedom and liberty. They loved their country and defending their mission was at the core of everything they believed in. They looked out for each other.
That’s how I felt about the Planned Parenthood organization and the community of my friends that were part of it. In 2009, we began to deal with the impact of having three Planned Parenthood affiliates within 30 miles of us providing medical abortion services. And then, two years later, we read in our local paper that they had opened a large surgical facility 15 minutes from us.
When I spoke to the CEO, who was a good friend of mine, she told me that it wasn’t personal, it was just business. But you see, it was really personal to me. I felt betrayed and I could not understand what was the need to expand services in this area where there was a longstanding quality facility.
Why not follow the mission, I thought, of providing services for those who needed them most–those in areas where women were forced to drive hours to find a provider?
Many of you might say that America has a free enterprise system and that anyone has the right to open up a competing entity. But what makes us different, I feel, is our level of commitment and the backdrop of violence and restrictive laws to limit abortions that we must work within.
When a Planned Parenthood in Binghamton, New York stuck to the core values of honoring the fact that there was a good provider in the area and that they would focus on more family planning services, they were disaffiliated.
Many of us have also experienced physicians and key staff members who leave us and open their own facility. They duplicate all that has been the best of us. I guess you expect everyone to share your integrity and when that moral code is compromised, it leaves you feeling used.
I don’t know how to move forward in a cohesive way, and I feel as if we are the ones who are always expected to accept it as more of us are forced to close our doors. If I had a magic wand, I would ask the leadership of Planned Parenthood to change their direction and work with us: to open their eyes, their hearts, respect our history, and the fact that independent providers have been on the front lines from the beginning and ensuring our ability to continue to do so.
It’s a bit rich to hear an abortion provider complain about another abortion provider’s failure to adhere to a “moral code,” but the underlying point is significant, and it’s one that we’ve been making for years: Planned Parenthood is the Wal-Mart of the abortion industry. Or, put another way, “Big Abortion” exists, and its name is Planned Parenthood.
This is all the more true with the belated release this week of Planned Parenthood’s 2015-2016 annual report, which reveals that Planned Parenthood now does nearly 35% of the nation’s abortions. Since the year 2000, Planned Parenthood’s abortion numbers have increased by a staggering 67%, while their prenatal services dropped by 48%. Judge for yourself where Planned Parenthood’s priorities lie.
Sure, Cecile Richards and company will call other abortion providers “friends” and “allies,” but that’s only until Planned Parenthood sees an opportunity to gobble up their share of the abortion market. Then the nation’s largest abortion chain’s “friends” become competitors to be destroyed.
* This is the same Lisa Harris who appears in the most recently released CMP video, saying, “Let’s just give them all the violence, ‘it’s a person,’ ‘it’s killing,’ let’s just give them all that.”