- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Planned Parenthood is launching a counterattack in response to significant pro-life gains on the state and federal levels.

The organization will push legislation to expand access to abortion in more than a dozen states this week and hopes to have initiatives in all 50 states by the end of the year.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the nation’s largest abortion provider has been “marching, mobilizing, and organizing,” and now it’s time to channel that into “real policy change.”

“Now, together with our partners, we are moving forward to fight for people’s health and rights, state by state, bill by bill,” Ms. Laguens said in a statement. “We’re starting with more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia this week alone, and we’re pushing for efforts in all 50 states.”

The nation’s largest abortion provider will work alongside state lawmakers and local pro-choice organizations to expand access to “birth control, quality sex education, and safe, legal abortion.”

States taking up pro-choice policy this week include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

Some of the abortion provider’s partners include: the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, Latino Memphis and the Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus.

The campaign comes at a moment of unprecedented strength for the pro-life movement.

According to a report by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, 19 states passed a total of 63 pro-life laws in 2017, the largest number enacted in a year since 2013. Overall, the pro-life movement has enacted 401 pieces of legislation since 2011, the report found.

“Both at the federal level and in state capitals,” the Guttmacher report said, “providers of publicly funded family planning services are under assault from policymakers motivated by efforts to shut out providers associated with abortion, especially those affiliated with Planned Parenthood.”

At the federal level, the Republican-controlled House has passed legislation defunding Planned Parenthood and banning abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, the point at which pro-life activists say the unborn can feel pain.

The pro-life movement also has a committed advocate in the White House.

President Trump’s pro-life achievements include reinstating and expanding the Mexico City policy, which prohibits more than $9 billion in foreign aid from being used to promote abortion overseas, and signing a law allowing states to direct taxpayer funds earmarked for family planning services away from clinics that provide abortions.

The Trump administration also has proposed a new rule that would protect health care workers from participating in the performance of abortions in violation of their religious or moral convictions.

Given these pro-life advances, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said Planned Parenthood’s campaign reeks of desperation.

“Planned Parenthood’s campaign is defense disguised as offense,” Ms. Dannenfelser said in a statement. “This failing abortion business, under federal investigation for its role in the harvest and sale of aborted babies’ organs for profit and facing funding losses on the state and national levels has earned for itself an existential crisis.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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