Last year was a bad year for the abortion industry. Each passing month seemed to expose more of the industry's "dirty laundry" and, in direct response, state legislatures enacted a record number of laws intended to put an end to the tyranny of abortion-on-demand and to the American taxpayers' unwitting complicity in it.
January opened with undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood employees appearing to aid and abet purported sex traffickers in their ongoing abuse of young girls and with grisly revelations from Kermit Gosnell's "house of horrors" abortion clinic in Philadelphia, where unlicensed, nonmedical personnel performed abortions in squalid conditions and where viable babies were delivered and then killed when their spinal cords were cut with scissors.
By the end of the year, several states had acted to eliminate or limit taxpayer funding for abortion providers including, most notably, Planned Parenthood, while others had taken strong action to ensure that women considering abortion were no longer subjected to the abhorrent conditions and practices so common at many of the nation's abortion clinics.
Seemingly caught off-guard by the ferocity of the opposition it was now facing in statehouses across the country and by the damage being done to its increasingly tattered reputation, the abortion industry resolutely refused to address its culpability and instead doubled down on misleading rhetoric.
For example, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards lamented the "unprecedented attacks" and criticized lawmakers who, in her view, were not responding responsibly to apparent violations of both federal and state law, as well as to very real threats to women's health and safety, but instead were "escalating their anti-women rhetoric as they try to outdo each other in their attacks on Planned Parenthood and women's health."
This naked attempt at misdirection is laughable, given the current state of the abortion industry in America.
Ample evidence convincingly demonstrates that it is the abortion industry that endangers women and their health while focusing instead on augmenting its taxpayer funding, increasing the number of abortions it performs, attempting to avoid meaningful regulation and oversight, and enhancing its financial bottom line.
In recent years, the abortion industry has aggressively and successfully sought to increase its taxpayer funding.
For example, for the fiscal year ending June 2010, Planned Parenthood's financial statements indicate it received more than $1.34 million perday and more than 46 percent of its income from taxpayers. This compares with approximately $1 million per day and 33 percent of its income in the previous fiscal year. At the same time, Planned Parenthood has ordered that all of its affiliates must provide abortions by the end of 2013.
In 2011, in response to the abortion industry's growing dependence on taxpayer dollars and taxpayers' aversion to paying for or subsidizing abortions, two-thirds of the states considered measures to limit or eliminate the abortion industry's taxpayer funding, with 19 states enacting one or more funding bans or limitations and an additional 15 states considering similar measures. In 2012, this trend is likely to continue, further depriving the abortion industry of its financial lifeline.
Moreover, within the past 18 months, state officials in at least 14 states launched investigations into the abortion industry, resulting in criminal charges against a number of abortion providers, the closing of clinics, fines and other punitive action.
Recognizing that the abortion industry cannot be trusted to police itself, at least 20 states last year considered stringent new regulations on the provision of abortions with Arkansas, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Utah adopting new protective standards. A number of states are already considering similar regulations in 2012.
According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, the issues of "reproductive health and rights" received "unprecedented attention" in 2011, when 68 percent of new and relevant state laws placed restrictions on the abortion industry, "a striking increase" from 2010, when only 26 percent of newly enacted laws directly impacted the abortion industry.
Clearly, the American people and many of their elected representatives are no longer buying the abortion industry's disingenuous and self-serving claims that abortion is safe, the industry is the great protector of women's health and mere access to abortion improves women's lives.
Jan. 22 marks the 39th anniversary of Roev. Wade, a decision that has emboldened a renegade and parasitic abortion industry - an industry that millions of Americans and their elected representatives are now actively seeking to dismantle. As a result, 2012 seems destined to be another well-deserved bad year for the abortion industry.
Denise M. Burke is vice president of legal affairs at Americans United for Life.
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