Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America, has been making national headlines in recent months. An attempt to remove federal funding from the organization passed the House but did not pass the Senate. Since then, several states have advanced efforts to decrease or eliminate state funding to Planned Parenthood.
Critics object, however, claiming that Planned Parenthood should continue to receive government funding because it provides important health services for women, including cancer screenings. In many poor areas, Planned Parenthood is the only organization that offers these services for women who have no health insurance. These women will have no opportunities for basic health care if Planned Parenthood is defunded.
How should we respond to these objections as Catholics, balancing our pro-life values with a sense of compassion and concern for the poor? If it is true that Planned Parenthood provides some valuable health services for women, should we therefore support the organization?
First of all, it should come as no surprise that Planned Parenthood is able to open clinics in poor areas where other organizations cannot. It has a budget that other organizations lack. After all, Planned Parenthood is receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from the government. If that money were to be taken away and given to pro-life groups, they would be able to provide valuable services for women, without murdering innocent children as well. In short, defunding Planned Parenthood would allow other organizations to compete – organizations that are truly interested in helping women.
Abby Johnson spent eight years working and volunteering for Planned Parenthood because she wanted to help women. After witnessing an abortion on an ultrasound, she gained national attention as she underwent a powerful conversion, resigned from her job, and dedicated her life to pro-life work. Abby explains that she had wanted to work for Planned Parenthood because she truly believed that they were helping women. Initially motivated by a sense of compassion and generosity, Abby is now a living witness that Planned Parenthood is not about helping women.
Furthermore, keep in mind that one of Planned Parenthood’s biggest non-abortion “services” is contraception. The Catholic Church teaches that contraception is gravely immoral. In addition, artificial birth control discourages personal responsibility and encourages promiscuity. Women are assured that they will not get pregnant if they are using contraception. But what happens if it fails? These women return to the same clinics that gave them the birth control in order to get abortions. Abortion becomes the “solution” to failed contraception.
During the Holocaust, the Nazis chose certain individuals in concentration camps to be the victims of brutal medical experiments. These experiments often resulted in death or disfigurement; however, they also contributed to modern medical knowledge. With the data they provided, scientists were able to expand their knowledge of human genetics and poisonous substances, as well as treatments for hypothermia and a number of contagious diseases.
Although millions of people were unjustly murdered in the Holocaust, modern medicine and science have benefited from the results of the Nazis’ inhumane experiments. Does the good result of this medical knowledge justify the horrible evils that were committed? No. Any reasonable person would be appalled by such a suggestion. The same is true of Planned Parenthood. No good that comes out of Planned Parenthood can make up for the millions of abortions that are performed there. Offering health services to women does not justify murdering their children.
Planned Parenthood’s own records indicate that the organization performed 332,278 abortions in the United States in 2009. That is an average rate of one abortion every 95 seconds, nonstop, for the entire year. In other words, Planned Parenthood helps fight cancer and other disease, while at the same time brutally murdering an innocent child every 95 seconds. Should we continue to fund such an organization? The answer should be crystal clear.