- - Monday, May 7, 2012

When it comes to feminist goals, working to end sex-selection abortions should be common ground for all sides. It is a real war on women, costing the lives of girls simply because they are girls. While mainstream American values reject gender-based killings as patently offensive, in this war on women in the womb, Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry are on the side of abortion-trumps-all.

Planned Parenthood believes that it is the subject of an undercover investigation on sex-selection abortions, an investigation similar to those previously conducted by the organization Live Action, which have exposed the abortion chain’s apparent willingness to circumvent parental involvement laws and aid sex traffickers, among other transgressions. For example, Live Action recorded employees in Planned Parenthood clinics in several states as they counseled a young man and woman who they believed were in the sex trade, giving them advice that included how to obtain abortions for the underage girls they claimed to be trafficking.

Through a series of articles attempting to get in front of what may be a damaging expose, Planned Parenthood confirms, rather than counters, its troubling involvement. Admissions by Planned Parenthood and its defenders also demonstrate that legislation prohibiting sex-selection abortions, such as Americans United for Life’s “Ban on Abortions for Sex Selection and Genetic Abnormalities,” is both necessary and effective.

For example, in opposition to a Missouri bill that would ban sex-selection abortions, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist recently testified that the organization “condemns” sex-selection abortions. However, when a legislator asked her to answer whether Planned Parenthood would refuse to perform such abortions if asked by a patient, she dodged the question with political rhetoric. Three times she refused to answer the question, even when asked directly to give a “yes or no” response. Americans United for Life was there, testifying against the discrimination against women inherent in sex-selection abortions.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Leslie Kantor and Dr. Carolyn Westhoff penned an article in which they, too, claimed the abortion chain “condemns” sex selection. However, their article also tellingly admits, “That doesn’t mean we always agree with the decisions made by people who seek our help.” Thus, it appears that in Planned Parenthood-speak, “condemnation” of sex selection does not include “will not participate” in the abortion.

As reported by the Huffington Post, “None of [Planned Parenthood’s] clinics will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selection abortion.”

It seems fairly clear, despite Planned Parenthood’s claimed “condemnation” of sex selection, it is a willing participant in sex-selection abortions unless it becomes illegal.

Of course, facing exposure (yet again) as something other than a health care provider Americans should trust, Planned Parenthood has made itself out to be some kind of victim. “For years opponents of reproductive health and rights have used secret videotaping tactics with fictitious patient scenarios and selective editing to promote falsehoods about Planned Parenthood’s mission, services, and policies.”

But the problem is not that investigations into Planned Parenthood clinics, such as those conducted by Live Action (for which the full video and/or audio are available), “picked on” the largest abortion provider. The problem is the abortion chain’s apparent willingness to violate laws and basic human decency, which have been uncovered.

Predicting the outcome of rumored current investigations, Planned Parenthood has said, “We expect that the materials eventually released will focus on Planned Parenthood’s nonjudgmental discussions with the various women who posed as possible patients [seeking sex-selection abortions].”

Employing the term “nonjudgmental,” Planned Parenthood hopes that readers will think “innocuous” and move on. But step back a second. Think about what “nonjudgmental” is being applied to: “discussions” about killing a baby girl because she is female. Not “judging” gender-based killing is taking a side.

Moreover, engaging in “nonjudgmental” discussions about sex selection undermines Planned Parenthood’s assertion that “Gender bias is contrary to everything our organization works for daily in communities across the country.” The veracity of Planned Parenthood’s statement that it “finds the concept of sex selection deeply unsettling” should be found in any of its “discussions” about sex selection.

The mere fact that Planned Parenthood is mounting a public relations campaign before new allegations of bad behaviors casts doubt on those claims. If Planned Parenthood’s “discussions” were in accord with mainstream American values that reject gender-based killing, it would have nothing to fear from their public release. There would be no story to get in front of, no need for damage control.

What is important, though, is that Planned Parenthood’s participation in this war on women does not end with its “nonjudgmental” discussions. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, appears willing to carry out sex-selection abortions.

Nobody is forcing Planned Parenthood to perform sex-selection abortions; the organization freely chooses to participate in gender-based killings. It is not necessarily cynical to think that payment for the “service” of abortion helps suppress its “deeply unsettled” feelings as Planned Parenthood “nonjudgmentally” discusses and then actually kills the baby girls.

Attempting a defense for Planned Parenthood, Laura Bassett of the Huffington Post denounced the “spotlighting” of the issue of sex-selection abortions as a “common tactic that the anti-abortion community has been using lately to turn the ‘war on women’ around on Planned Parenthood.”

However, exposing Planned Parenthood’s willingness to perform sex-selection abortions does not turn around the “war on women.” Rather, it demonstrates that Planned Parenthood, by carrying out the killings, chooses to be on the anti-female side of life.

In the interest of ending gender-based killings, it is worth repeating: Planned Parenthood does not deny it is a willing participant in sex-selection abortions unless it becomesillegal. Planned Parenthood is case in point why laws against sex-selection abortions, which have been enacted in four states with bipartisan support, are important and effective.

For anyone still inclined to believe Planned Parenthood genuinely cares about gender bias, and who is tempted to adopt its “strategy” of “nonjudgmental discussions” and wishful thinking to end gender-based killings: Remember, so long as it is legal, Planned Parenthood will take cash, check or credit card to abort the unwanted girls.

Anna Franzonello is an attorney with Americans United for Life.

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