I am radically, or so I believe, pro-life. I oppose the use of the death penalty (at least in our present unjust context) and I oppose our consistent unethical waging of warfare internationally. I also oppose the pro-death stance of the controversial organization Planned Parenthood. No matter how you frame it Planned Parenthood can no longer deny its massive involvement in abortion. Nor can it continue to deny, I believe, its financial irregularities and violations of both state and federal law.

Prolife3 Americans United for Life (AUL), a national pro-life organization, released a July 7 statement that opened up the strongest case against Planned Parenthood I’ve seen to this point in time. The statement is called: “The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood.” I encourage you to read this report whether you are pro-life or not. And even if Planned Parenthood does help many poor and needy people, which I think it clearly does do well in many instances, this case must not be swept under the proverbial rug of politics.

Planned Parenthood is a rabidly pro-abortion organization that uses $363 million in taxpayer money to operate. In 2009 alone Planned Parenthood reported performing 322,278 abortions! What is shocking is that in this same report, and this is their report, they gave prenatal care to 7,021 clients. They made 977 adoption referrals to outside agencies. That number is staggering if you are fair minded at all. Planned Parenthood is primarily about providing abortions with taxpayer money. AUL reports that at a minimum $114.9 million of Planned Parenthood’s reported income during 2009 came from abortion clinics.

A number of states have stripped funding from Planned Parenthood, including New Hampshire, South Dakota, North Carolina, Montana, Texas, Wisconsin, Kansas and New Jersey. These are not all red or blue states, which particularly interests me. The Obama administration is presently opposing the state of Indiana over what it believes to be a violation of Medicare’s provision that allows people to choose any qualified care provider.

What is interesting to me is the growing number of young people who see this for what it really is – a violation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and with public money! An increasing number of young people, most of whom are not Christians it would seem, say “Enough is enough.” I happen to be a boomer who agrees. And I am not a Right Wing nut case in saying so. This is a matter of public practice and public theology. As a follower of Jesus I care about human life, all of it. A society that cheapens life in a myriad of ways is one that will continue to move away from respect for people and freedom.

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  1. Richrd Wattenbarger August 17, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Thank you, John, for highlighting the role of taxpayer-funded abortions in sustaining the mission of Planned Parenthood. While I, like many, would like to see an end to abortion in this country, I’ve come to embrace the goal of making abortion, as Hillary Clinton once put it, “safe, legal, and rare.” This, I believe, may be the most viable political and social option for the foreseeable future. I also think it’s great politics. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood, which, as everyone knows, tends to support politicians who’d eagerly subscribe to Clinton’s profession, has gotten off scot-free on this. Where are the pro-choice voices that are calling them out? I don’t hear them.
    I’m also discouraged to find pro-life advocates making what I believe is the tactical mistake of not embracing Clinton’s goal. Truly making abortion “safe, legal, and rare,” I believe, would go far toward achieving a key goal of pro-life advocates. It’s also, it seems to me, where I believe not only most of the electorate is but also where a majority  of pro-choice political leaders are. Yet, for perhaps the majority of influential pro-life activists, reducing abortions has taken a back seat to eliminating abortion altogether–at least, that’s how I perceive it. Would it not be better to hold politicians’ feet to the fire by calling out organizations like Planned Parenthood on precisely this issue–just as you’ve done here? If even pro-choice politicians want to reduce the number of abortions, why are they subsidizing the practice?

  2. John H. Armstrong August 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Very good thoughts Richard. While I would like to make abortion against the law I recognize the political realities and the context of our culture, as you do. I thus agree with you in principle. The pro-life movement has generally taken an “all or nothing” mindset for way too long. It is like saying we will save no one if we cannot save everyone. Life, and hard ethical choices, do not always work this way, especially as we seek to regain lost territory.
    It strikes me as important to talk about your view when the majority, for the first time since 1973, is pro-life. There are many young people who are not moral conservatives who want to make abortion rare. We should align with them politically and get all we can as soon as we can. I do not know how serious Clinton is about this statement since she gets support from Planned Parenthood but I agree with it as you put it your comments.
    Again, for those who may wonder I am consistently pro-life morally. This cuts in another direction, however, as I wrote in a blog about war and the death penalty. Social and Christian conservatives are often unwilling to embrace a wider ethic of life.

  3. Richard Wattenbarger August 17, 2011 at 9:50 am

    With respect to Clinton (and politicians who’ve signaled their agreement with her statement), it’s likely that many of them are simply playing to the middle of the political spectrum and nothing more. I have to wonder: if they were serious, would they not be extended an olive branch to those who identify themselves as pro-life? Pro-life advocates should hold these leaders accountable rather than dismissing them (which, regrettably, is all too often what happens).
    It’s undoubtedly a good sign that the majority is pro-life. I’m not sure, though, how that plays out in the realm of public policy. This does present opportunities that pro-life advocates would do well not to squander, but will they? And how fragile is this majority? Pro-life activists can certainly build on this situation if they approach it with humility. Yet if they choose the path of hubris, which I know we’ve both seen happen over and over, they risk rekindling acrimony and losing the gains they’ve made.

  4. John H. Armstrong August 17, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Again Richard we agree. The pro-life movement has so many facets, both political and practical. I lean first to the practical — saving lives, caring for newborn children and mothers with unwanted pregnancies, etc. This is a whole-life issue, not one for the faint-of-heart politicking of far too many who want the government to change everything to conform to their views.

  5. Richard Wattenbarger August 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Exactly. I can’t shut up about this because I’m passionate about it.

  6. Darren Gruett August 17, 2011 at 10:12 am

    The issue of abortion has become deeply personal to me since my wife and I found out that we are expecting our first baby next March. We were trying unsuccessfully for a while, and through that whole process I really came to understand the miracle of life. Just last night I was looking through a book that we got that explains fetal development and what takes place during which weeks. It is absolutely amazing, and it has made me wonder how anyone can justify abortion. I hope more people realize the tragedy of it through reports like the one you mentioned.

  7. Darren Gruett August 17, 2011 at 10:36 am

    John, I liked what you said there. It is easy to condemn abortion, but not so easy to help care for mothers and the babies they have decided to keep. As you said, it is really a “whole-life” issue, and it goes far beyond politics.

  8. John H. Armstrong August 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Congratulations to you both. May God give you a healthy and wonderful child who will grow to love Christ and His Kingdom.

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