Pro-life groups are accusing Planned Parenthood of taking advantage of the humanitarian catastrophe in Haiti to promote a pro-choice agenda.
Days after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, the International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR) sent out a fundraising appeal to help rebuild two clinics that were destroyed in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel.
The clinics are operated by PROFAMIL, a “member association” that provides “sexual and reproductive health services,” including abortions. The fundraising post said that PROFAMIL is setting up a temporary stationary clinic and mobile-health units to provide “basic first aid, as well as obstetric care and family planning.”
Outrage over the appeal quickly spread through the pro-life community and its related blogs. Rita Diller, national director of Stop Planned Parenthood, said on LifeSiteNews.com that the group was “using the disaster and the suffering in Haiti to raise money to perpetuate itself.”
“While millions of people are suffering unbelievably and are without the most basic necessities, Planned Parenthood wants to grab the donations that should be going to provide medical care, food, clothing and housing, and funnel it to its local affiliate that pushes condoms on children as young as 10 years old,” she said.
Liz Clark, a spokeswoman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, declined to comment, saying that her group and the IPPF/WHR were “not the same organization.”
The IPPF/WHR did not return two phone calls placed over two days asking for comment. According to the IPPF/WHR Web site, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America was one of the IPPF/WHR’s eight founders, and remains its “member association” in the United States. PPFA has its own international program and doesn’t receiving funding from the group.
At the same time, the PPFA continues to work with the international group; for example, it lent support to the Haiti effort by posting the IPPF/WHR’s fundraising appeal on its Facebook page.
Defenders of Planned Parenthood insisted that critics were jumping to the wrong conclusions. Dawn Stacey, a former Planned Parenthood pregnancy-options counselor who now serves as About.com’s contraception expert, said on her blog that the mobile units would “bring needed services to people who are totally isolated.”
“There are reports of women giving birth on the side of the road as hospitals and houses have been demolished,” said Ms. Stacey, noting also that Planned Parenthood is encouraging donations to Americans for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, which is also bringing assistance to pregnant women in Haiti.
“The donations (Planned Parenthood is promoting) will help UNFPA provide emergency reproductive health kits,” said Ms. Stacey. “These kits could essentially function as OB wards as they contain essential drugs, equipment and supplies to provide lifesaving services to pregnant women.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, remained skeptical.
“That’s great spin, but it’s not reality,” he said. “At a time when Americans are responding in a very compassionate way, Planned Parenthood is trying to go down there and create more victims by exploiting them at a very vulnerable time.”
He said that Planned Parenthood has a history of using natural disasters to promote its agenda. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Planned Parenthood offered free emergency contraception, better known as “morning-after” pills, to terminate pregnancies.
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, Planned Parenthood of New York City offered 12 days of free reproductive health services, including abortions, emergency contraception, HIV and STD testing, and counseling.
“Everyone wants to do something,” Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Ali Bartolone said at the time in a statement. “This is our response; this is our way of helping women in need.”
Douglas Scott, president of Life Decisions International, a Planned Parenthood watchdog group, said that the organization donated $22,000 in abortion equipment after the fall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989.
“This kind of self-serving opportunism is common for Planned Parenthood,” Mr. Scott said on the Christian Newswire Web site. “When people are standing outside with a hand stretched out, they do not expect someone to put a condom or birth control on it. Planned Parenthood officials should be ashamed.”