Pro-lif­ers see dis­ar­ray as Richards de­parts from Planned Parenthood Abor­tions rise while health care falls

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY BRADFORD RICHARD­SON

Ce­cile Richards re­ceived a hero’s send­off on her last day as pres­i­dent of Planned Parenthood, but pro-life ac­tivists say her un­com­pro­mis­ing stance on abor­tion and al­liance with the Demo­cratic Party have left the or­ga­ni­za­tion on shaky ground.

Dur­ing her 12-year ten­ure, which of­fi­cially came to an end last week, Ms. Richards made Planned Parenthood into a political pow­er­house that rou­tinely spends tens of mil­lions of dol­lars to elect Democrats to of­fice. Yet grow­ing political in­flu­ence and in­creased tax­payer fund­ing co­in­cided with fewer med­i­cal ser­vices, fewer pa­tient vis­its, mas­sive clinic clo­sures — and more abor­tions.

Kris­tan Hawkins, pres­i­dent of Stu­dents for Life of Amer­ica, said Planned Parenthood be­came “an or­ga­ni­za­tion ob­sessed with abor­tion” on Ms. Richards’ watch.

“Ce­cile Richards leaves Planned Parenthood in dis­ar­ray, see­ing fewer women, un­der fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion and fac­ing the loss of tax­payer fund­ing,” Ms. Hawkins said. “It’s too bad she made end­ing life more im­por­tant than help­ing women.”

Ms. Richards over­saw the per­for­mance of more than 3.5 mil­lion abor­tions dur­ing her ten­ure at Planned Parenthood.

The num­ber of abor­tions per­formed at Planned Parenthood has in­creased by nearly 11 per­cent since 2006, Ms. Richards’ first year on the job, de­spite a more than 23 per­cent de­cline in pa­tient vis­its.

James Studnicki, vice pres­i­dent and direc­tor of data an­a­lyt­ics for the pro-life Char­lotte Lozier Institute, co-au­thored a pa­per re­cently pub­lished in the Open Jour­nal of Pre­ven­tive Medicine, which shows the na­tional abor­tion rate has sharply de­clined over the same time that Planned Parenthood has seen a steady uptick in the pro­ce­dure.

He said the data “strongly sug­gest that Planned Parenthood has ac­tively propped up a na­tional abor­tion rate that has oth­er­wise seen large de­clines, to their ob­vi­ous financial ben­e­fit.”

“More than three mil­lion abor­tions that might have been avoided can be at­trib­uted to Planned Parenthood’s in­ter­ven­tion in the abor­tion mar­ket,” Mr. Studnicki said in a state­ment.

Chuck Dono­van, pres­i­dent of the Char­lotte Lozier Institute, said it’s no ac­ci­dent that Planned Parenthood has a com­mand­ing share of the U.S. abor­tion mar­ket.

Data also sug­gest that the em­pha­sis on abor­tion has come at the ex­pense of other pro­ce­dures.

The num­ber of can­cer screen­ings per­formed at Planned Parenthood de­clined ev­ery year that Ms. Richards was pres­i­dent. The or­ga­ni­za­tion per­formed 67 per­cent more can­cer screen­ings in 2006 than in 2017, the most re­cent year for which data are avail­able.

Planned Parenthood also showed lit­tle in­ter­est in pre­na­tal ser­vices dur­ing Ms. Richards’ ten­ure. Abor­tions out­num­bered pre­na­tal ser­vices by a ra­tio of more than 44to-1 last year.

The num­ber of Planned Parenthood fa­cil­i­ties peaked in 2008 at 880. To­day, there are fewer than 600 clin­ics.

If eco­nomic forces don’t put Planned Parenthood out of busi­ness, there is a good chance political pow­ers will.

The Repub­li­can Party, gal­va­nized by re­ports that Planned Parenthood traf­ficked in baby body parts from abor­tions, has never been more com­mit­ted to tak­ing taxpayers out of the abor­tion busi­ness.

Pres­i­dent Trump is re­port­edly con­sid­er­ing a reg­u­la­tion that would pro­hibit re­cip­i­ents of Ti­tle X grants, which are ear­marked for fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices, from per­form­ing abor­tions. The pol­icy could cost Planned Parenthood $50 mil­lion to $60 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

Ms. Hawkins said Planned Parenthood de­serves blame for hol­low­ing out the Demo­cratic Party over the past decade. She pointed out that the party has lost more than 1,030 elected seats, in­clud­ing the pres­i­dency, since 2008.

“When the pro-life gen­er­a­tion says, ‘I’m with her,’ they mean pre­born women,” Ms. Hawkins said.

But pro-choice ac­tivists started the Twit­ter hash­tag #ThankYouCe­cile last week to mark her last day at the abor­tion gi­ant.

Amanda Lit­man, for­mer email mar­ket­ing direc­tor for Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign, said Planned Parenthood has “lit­er­ally saved lives” be­cause of Ms. Richards’ “spine of steel.”

She thanked Ms. Richards for “re­fus­ing to com­pro­mise on our rights and for stand­ing up with poise, hu­mor and grace against ev­ery sin­gle chal­lenge.”

In an in­ter­view last week on CNN’s “New Day,” Ms. Richards said the coun­try has made “enor­mous progress” dur­ing her time lead­ing Planned Parenthood.

The daugh­ter of for­mer Texas Gov. Ann Richards, she re­fused to rule out a run for elected of­fice.

“I don’t know what’s next, but I’m ex­cited to ex­plore ev­ery­thing,” she said. “I know that I’ll be very fo­cused in this next few months on mak­ing sure ev­ery woman in this coun­try is reg­is­tered to vote, is ac­ti­vated and goes to the polls in Novem­ber.”

“I don’t know what’s next, but I’m ex­cited to ex­plore ev­ery­thing. I know that I’ll be very fo­cused in this next few months on mak­ing sure ev­ery woman in this coun­try is reg­is­tered to vote, is ac­ti­vated and goes to the polls in Novem­ber.” — Ce­cile Richards

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