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Planned Parenthood

Before you read any further, let it be perfectly clear that this page is not here to support Planned Parenthood (PP), just in case you were wondering! But since that organization’s name turns up in so many areas, I’ve decided to have a page specifically for PP. There will still be mentions of it in the posts, too, but from now on I’ll try to build a collection here for quick reference.

Next is the article that led me to start this page. Found it on Aug 20 while reading the Aug 19 edition of LifeSiteNews’ daily email. Sounds like PP is picking a fight with the USCCB.

Wednesday August 19, 2009

The Gloves are Off: Planned Parenthood President Slams U.S. Bishops on Abortion, Healthcare

By John Jalsevac

August 19, 2009 ( – The president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, has penned a scathing editorial, published today in the Huffington Post, in which she sets her sights on the U.S. Catholic bishops, slamming them for their opposition to the abortion mandate in the Obama health care bill, and to abortion in general.

“Does anyone else see the irony in the U.S. bishops wanting to define universal health care as covering everything except for what they don’t support?” writes Richards. “Since when does universal health care mean denying comprehensive reproductive health care supported by the majority of Americans?”

Richards then goes on to accuse the bishops of endangering “millions” of women’s lives around the globe with their “hard-line opposition to women’s rights.” “The effort to criminalize access to safe abortion endangers most women in the developing world — the very women that you would think the bishops would be concerned about,” says Richards.

The U.S. bishops, while expressing support for healthcare reform in general, have been adamant in their stance that healthcare reform must not include mandated abortion coverage – something that the current legislation would do if passed.

In an August 11 letter Cardinal Justin Rigali, Chairman of United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, carefully but forcefully countered claims, propagated by proponents of Obama’s healthcare reform, including Planned Parenthood and Cecile Richards, that the Obama plan wouldn’t mandate abortion coverage and lead to taxpayer funding for abortions.

Any claim that taxpayer money would not be used to fund abortion is “an illusion,” said Rigali in that letter. “Government will force low-income Americans to subsidize abortions for others (and abortion coverage for themselves) even if they find abortion morally abhorrent.”

Numerous other prominent bishops, including Archbishop Charles Chaput, Bishop Robert Vasa, and Bishop R. Walter Nickless have also spoken strongly against the abortion provisions in the healthcare bill.

The intense campaign to publicize the abortion mandate in the healthcare bill, not only by the U.S. bishops, but by a huge alliance of pro-life and pro-family organizations, appears to have been successful, with a majority of Americans in a recent poll saying that they believe the Obama reform would include taxpayer funding for abortion.

However, with the majority of Americans calling themselves pro-life, any taxpayer funding for abortion is likely to be extremely unpopular and contribute to the swelling opposition to the Obama plan.

When pro-life concerns about the abortion mandate in the healthcare bill first began to be expressed, pro-abortion groups and legislators responded by simply denying that the legislation would mandate abortion coverage. Cecile Richards was amongst these, saying at the beginning of this month that the abortion mandate is a “myth.”

“Nothing in any of the current health care reform bills mandates abortion coverage — or any other type of health care service — in the Exchange,” Richards insisted in a column for the Huffington Post early in August. “Opponents of women’s health and health care reform are exploiting this legislation as a way to push for unprecedented prohibitions on abortion coverage in the private marketplace.”

In her most recent article, however, the Planned Parenthood head was more candid about her views on the healthcare plan, saying that it should include “comprehensive reproductive health,” a term that for Planned Parenthood includes abortion and contraception.

“We have an opportunity this year to fundamentally address serious health care issues for women and young people in America,” says Richards, “and we stand ready to partner with President Obama and Congress to find solutions to our most pressing health care issues.”

“We call upon Congress and the White House to continue to stand firmly on the side of women in health care reform. Women are needed to pass health care reform — and we are not going backwards and we are not going away.”

And here is what LifeNews has regarding the same subject:

Planned Parenthood President Attacks Catholic Bishops on Abortion, Health Care

by Steven Ertelt, Editor

August 19, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards is so upset that the nation’s Catholic bishops are opposed to being forced to pay for abortions in the health care “reform” bills that she has written a new editorial saying so. The editorial is making its way across the pro-abortion blogosphere.

In various letters to members of Congress, the Catholic bishops have made it clear that they support health care reform as long as it does not involve taxpayer-financing of abortion.

Richards, whose top goal at Planned Parenthood is making sure abortion is included and that her centers get government funds from the government-run health care plan, used the tried and true approach of talking about everything other than abortion.

She claims abortion is merely a first step and that the Catholic bishops will begin defining legitimate medical procedures out of universal health care, as if the bishops would begin opposing medical care or surgeries.

“Does anyone else see the irony in the U.S. bishops wanting to define universal health care as covering everything except for what they don’t support?” Richards asks.

“Under this theory, I suppose women are supposed to wait to see just exactly how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops comes down on a variety of health care needs to understand what in fact will be considered universal,” she complains.

Richards also makes the wild-eyed claim that the Catholic opposition to taxpayer-funding of abortions in America would some how hurt women across the globe — even though UN statistics show maternal mortality at its lowest in nations where abortions are prohibited.

“The danger, of course, is not simply that the bishops are pushing to erode decades of legal access to contraception and abortion in America. Their hard-line opposition to women’s rights also endangers millions of women around the globe,” Richards claims.

“The effort to criminalize access to safe abortion endangers most women in the developing world,” she contends, adding that women “primarily in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean” are at risk because abortions are illegal.

Yet, a 2009 World Health Organization (WHO) report shows countries that have decriminalized abortion in recent years in response to pressure, such as Ethiopia, have failed to lower dramatic maternal death rates. Ethiopia’s maternal death rate is 48 times higher than in Mauritius, which is the most pro-life nation in Africa.

“According to WHO, the country with the lowest maternal mortality rate in South America is Chile, which protects unborn life in its constitution. The country with the highest is Guyana, with a maternal mortality rate 30 times higher than in Chile,” Aracely Ornelas of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute says.

He adds that Guyana has allowed abortion without almost any restriction since in 1995. Ironically, one of two main justifications used in liberalizing Guyana’s law was to enhance the “attainment of safe motherhood” by eliminating deaths and complications associated with unsafe abortion.

“Worldwide, the country with the lowest maternal death rate is Ireland, a nation that prohibits abortion and whose constitution explicitly protects the rights of the unborn,’ Ornelas says.

Richards concludes her op-ed: “We call upon Congress and the White House to continue to stand firmly on the side of women in health care reform.”

It appears the nation’s Catholic bishops are doing just that.

Here is ithe USCCB’s response, as described at CNA:

In face of Planned Parenthood attack, USCCB official insists abortion is not health care

Washington D.C., Aug 20, 2009 / 06:19 am (CNA).- Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has criticized the U.S. Catholic bishops’ work to exclude abortion coverage from health care legislation. In response, an official with the conference insisted that taking human life is not health care and warned that pro-abortion politics are endangering the entire proposal.

Writing in an August 18 opinion piece at the Huffington Post, Cecile Richards characterized the bishops’ desire to exclude abortion coverage from health care reform as one that denies “comprehensive reproductive care” which she claimed to be supported by the majority of Americans.

She also argued that the Catholic position was an ongoing effort to eliminate the “legally protected right to abortion” from American health care.

Citing the website of the USCCB, Richards criticized the Catholic bishops for holding that condoms can worsen the AIDS pandemic in Africa, that contraception is not basic health care and should not be covered under most health care plans, and that “emergency contraception” will not reduce the need for abortion or unintended pregnancy.

“Seems that, if the U.S. Conference had its way, the national health care system would make American women second-class citizens and deny them access to benefits they currently have,” she charged.

In Richards’ view, the bishops’ pro-life stand constituted “hard-line opposition to women’s rights” and has endangered women around the globe.

She said the root cause of “unsafe abortion” is unintended pregnancy which could be prevented by affordable contraception for women. She also claimed the correlation between higher contraceptive use and lower maternal mortality is “well established.”

Richards argued that increased access to contraception would lower the abortion rate and the “epidemic” rates of sexually transmitted infections. She then stated that she would welcome the bishops’ commitment to focus on such problems, insisting that to do so would stand on the side of women in health care reform.

Speaking to CNA on Wednesday morning, Richard Doerflinger [in CNA photo on right], associate director of the USSCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, addressed Cecile Richard’s [in CNA photo on left] claims.

Doerflinger said Richards erred in claiming most Americans favored “comprehensive reproductive health care.”

“This is not supported by majority of Americans. The majority of Americans describe themselves as pro-life.

“We don’t see the taking of human life, at any stage, as health care at all. Most Americans do not want to pay for abortions,” he remarked.

“We mean by universal coverage what everybody but Planned Parenthood means. That is, we need to cover all the people. We know that people need health care throughout life from conception to natural death. That is why fetology is a branch of human medicine, which Richards seem unaware of,” Doerflinger said.

“Universal coverage doesn’t mean that Americans are forced to pay for absolutely everything a doctor might be willing to do,” he continued, adding that health care would presumably not pay for euthanasia or legitimate but elective procedures like cosmetic surgery.

Doerflinger explained to CNA that in his understanding of the current health care legislation, a U.S. House bill would cover abortion in the public health insurance plan. The legislation itself would provide coverage for abortions in a “very limited” way, but the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services will have the power to mandate coverage for all abortions in the public plan.

“We’re very much against that and hope it can be amended out,” he added. Under the House bill, the federal government will require anyone who purchases the plan to purchase abortion coverage,” he said.

The Senate presents a “more fluid situation” because there is no released draft.

“We hope it will be better than the House bill,” Doerflinger stated.

Asked to respond to Richards’ criticisms of U.S. bishops’ actions on condoms and the AIDS pandemic, he replied:

“The Catholic Church has done more to fight AIDS in Africa than Planned Parenthood has. Planned Parenthood doesn’t want people to know that hormonal contraception has actually been associated with an increased risk of contracting AIDS. It has nothing to do with preventing AIDS, something to do with making it worse.

“Our major arguments on this have not been about contraception,” he clarified. “She likes to change the subject.

“But it is the case that there is a great deal of evidence that contraceptive programs fail to reduce abortions. We cite the primary sources for that on our website so that people can read them for themselves.”

On emergency contraception, Doerflinger said there have been 23 major studies of the effects of emergency contraceptives.

“None of the 23 was able to find any effect in reducing abortions,” he reported, saying these facts had been reviewed by scientists unopposed to emergency contraception.

He said it was necessary to stop “running away from the facts” and “citing contraception as the cure for everything” when the evidence is otherwise.

Doerflinger said the bishops’ materials about health care reform have been centered on supporting universal coverage, but opposing mandated abortion coverage.

“She keeps talking about how we’re trying to diminish a right,” he said of Richards. “A mandate is not consistent with a personal choice. If what she’s talking about is people’s personal ability to choose whether or not to buy abortion coverage, we’re not going to oppose legislation that allows that.

“We’re talking about the government mandating that people purchase abortion coverage against their will. Why would she be against that if she favors ‘choice’?

“To get into the government-run health plan you must buy abortion coverage. That’s contrary to personal choice. Maybe she should be joining us in our effort.”

“We think the abortion issue is paramount, because we see it as really the taking of a life in existence.”

Doerflinger then summed up his objections to Planned Parenthood’s position:

“I think what Planned Parenthood is saying is that millions of people must continue to go without basic health care unless they can get their wish list of making everyone pay for abortions. I think that the charge of being ‘single issue’ falls squarely back on Planned Parenthood’s side, because this is not the kind of health care that most Americans want to purchase or have to pay for.

“This issue could bring down health care reform. We hope that that does not happen, but an insistence on this one issue on their part might do so.”

Added 090824

Pro-Life Leader Euteneuer Blasts Planned Parenthood for Attacking Catholic Bishops

Washington, DC ( — Father Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, last week blasted Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, for her scathing and error-filled attack on the nation’s Catholic bishops. They have called for abortion to be excluded from all proposed national health care legislation. “Richards has done a favor to all pro-lifers and people of good faith in her hate-filled rant against the shepherds of our beloved Church,” he told “First, she has reminded everyone that, despite President Obama’s recent statements to the contrary, abortion is absolutely going to be covered in any health care reform legislation that crosses his desk. He and his cronies in Congress are much too beholden to the abortion lobby for any different outcome.” Secondly, “she again highlights the extreme position of the organization she leads, and their hostility to the Catholic Church. No Catholic organization should be comfortable finding themselves on the same side of the table as this hateful anti-woman outfit.” Father Euteneuer added: “Richards claims that, despite the findings of virtually every study on the subject, expanded access to contraception will somehow reduce the number of abortions. How much more access can be granted to this … chemical that, as the Catholic Church predicted, has resulted in more, not less, abortions?”

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