Friend-of-the-court briefs have now been filed in the Supreme Court abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The brief filed by Planned Parenthood and other major abortion providers is starkly revealing - just not in the way they intended.
It has little analysis of the Mississippi law and nothing about the unborn child at 15 weeks – the issue at the heart of the case. Instead, it is a maudlin fog of stories meant to distract and gaslight. The brief makes plain that the nation’s largest abortion provider fails to concern itself with women or children, health care, or even science.
In one Orwellian passage after another, the brief talks about how abortion “saves lives.” It features anecdotes of women whose pregnancies were life-threatening even though the Mississippi law at issue in Dobbs includes a “medical emergency exception.”
As wrenching as the brief’s stories might be, they are manipulative misdirection. They ignore entirely the fact that an increasingly small percentage of abortions are sought to preserve a mother’s life or physical health. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research organization that grew out Planned Parenthood, only 3 percent of all abortions are attributed to physical problems affecting a woman’s health. The great majority of abortions done every year – one doctor in the report says he did between 20 and 30 each day – have nothing to do with preserving a woman’s life or physical health.
Another of the brief’s macabre passages says that “abortion providers are on the cutting edge of ethical health care in this country.” But it fails to explain why, if this were true, the overwhelming majority of ob-gyns aren’t willing to perform abortions, with one 2011 study showing only 14% would perform the procedure.
But then, why would anyone expect Planned Parenthood (and other providers) to deal honestly with this issue before the Supreme Court? Planned Parenthood is not even honest about itself. Masquerading as a “woman’s health” organization, it fails to acknowledge just how big abortion is to its bottom line.
Its former employees know better. A recent report showed that Planned Parenthood staff have discovered to their distress what the organization’s abortion focus means at the clinic level. Caroline Strzesynski, for example, was a nurse practitioner for 11 years at Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio but left around eight years ago after the affiliate merged with Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and “abortion quotas” were imposed.
Mayra Rodriguez worked at Planned Parenthood facilities in Arizona for 17 years and was Planned Parenthood’s 2016 employee of the year. “[B]eing the director of the abortion clinic, it opened my eyes that Planned Parenthood only cared about abortion,” she said. “They didn’t care about their staff members. They didn’t care about the patients. They only cared about the money.”
For a brief that truly focuses on the heart of the matter in this case, a brief that discusses a 15-week old unborn baby in all its wonderfully made glory, read an amicus brief in support of Mississippi filed by three female physicians who serve women in need – a radiologist, neonatologist, and an ob-gyn. They stunningly describe what a child is capable of at 15 weeks gestation, the point after which the Mississippi law bans elective abortions: “Not only is the baby’s heartbeat detectable … but the four chambers of the fetal heart are visible. So is the blood “whooshing” between the chambers on color doppler ultrasound…The fetal profile is petite perfection: the gently sloping nose, the distinct upper and lower lips. The mouth opens, and we can even see the tongue move in high-resolution images…This is the living reality of what is at issue in this case: a tiny boy or girl who, at 15 weeks, kicks, breathes, and hiccups, who has little fingers that open and close …. ”
Anyone paying attention can see from its brief that Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have no legal argument to make. Their only hope is to distract from the facts of the case, which undoubtedly support Mississippi’s right to protect its most vulnerable citizens.
• Leigh Fitzpatrick Snead is a Fellow for The Catholic Association.