Commentary Magazine


Topic: Planned Parenthood

Hillary Clinton Pours Salt in Planned Parenthood’s Open Wound

Since the moment that the videos featuring Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the discarded aborted infant body parts began trickling out, each one more morbid than the next, pro-choice activists have contended that they are simply not newsworthy. Planned Parenthood defenders who actually watched the videos (a surprising number of those backing the organization confess after sufficient prodding that they’ve not seen the footage firsthand) insist that all that has been revealed is a bit of desensitization; professionals who have grown inured to how laymen view their perfectly legal and morally unambiguous work. But Planned Parenthood’s behavior and those on the left who depend on the organization’s largess betray the significance of the slow-motion scandal by downplaying it. This week, an unlikely source, Hillary Clinton, delivered a blow that could ultimately prove fatal to Planned Parenthood’s privileged status as a beneficiary of taxpayer subsidization. Read More

Since the moment that the videos featuring Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the discarded aborted infant body parts began trickling out, each one more morbid than the next, pro-choice activists have contended that they are simply not newsworthy. Planned Parenthood defenders who actually watched the videos (a surprising number of those backing the organization confess after sufficient prodding that they’ve not seen the footage firsthand) insist that all that has been revealed is a bit of desensitization; professionals who have grown inured to how laymen view their perfectly legal and morally unambiguous work. But Planned Parenthood’s behavior and those on the left who depend on the organization’s largess betray the significance of the slow-motion scandal by downplaying it. This week, an unlikely source, Hillary Clinton, delivered a blow that could ultimately prove fatal to Planned Parenthood’s privileged status as a beneficiary of taxpayer subsidization.

For those who decline to watch the gruesome videos featuring unspeakably brutish callousness toward humanity – infants, no less – you’ll be spared the details of the videos. Suffice it to say that they feature Planned Parenthood officials revealing the scope of the marketplace for organs from aborted fetuses. National Review’s Ian Tuttle summarized one macabre moment the latest installment in the multipart series of investigative videos:

At the 10:22 mark of the Center for Medical Progress’s latest video, released today, there is a picture of a hand. By the curve of the thumb and the articulation of the fingers, one can see that it is a right hand. It was formerly the right hand of an 11.6-week-old fetus; it is now part of the various organic odds and ends being sifted through on a plate in the pathology lab of a Planned Parenthood clinic.

In the latest video, while opining on whether her organization would prefer infant organs individually or in bulk, Dr. Savita Ginde, Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Denver, Colorado, tells her interlocutor she would prefer them in their most profitable form. “I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it,” she says.

If there were truly no profit motive at work here, as the law stipulates there must not be, then there would be no incentive to “see how much we can get out of it.” It’s entirely possible that Planned Parenthood is not abiding by the letter of the law, but even if it were there is clearly a market for human organs that the public would surely be interested to learn more about. Sadly for the public, the press is utterly incurious.

Despite the fact that these videos set off a firestorm, despite that a push is underway in Congress to deprive Planned Parenthood of its taxpayer funding, despite the fact that Planned Parenthood executives are implicating themselves in immoral practices prompting the head of that institution to apologize for their cold-bloodedness; there has been precious little coverage of this rolling scandal in major media outlets. It’s not hard to see why.

This week, Planned Parenthood secured the services of the famous Democratic public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker to manage this crisis. It is a highly capable firm that is replete with former Democratic officials and reporters who left journalism in pursuit of a paycheck. It is telling that their first course of action was to reach out to news outlets to suppress the further dissemination of these damning videos. “The group circulated a memo to reporters and producers late Monday that discouraged them from airing the undercover videos, arguing that they were obtained under false identification and violated patient privacy,” Politico reported. “Those patients’ privacy should not be further violated by having this footage shared by the media,” the memo read, despite the fact that patients were not featured in these videos. Still, the tactic might be effective. It is not hard to envision media outlets jumping the flimsy excuse provided to them by their friends and former associates at SKDKnickerbocker to not report on a story they’d prefer to see buried in the first place.

Those defenders of Planned Parenthood who have mustered the courage to watch the videos have offered only unconvincing defenses of the organization. Calling the exposé a “hit job,” the often-thoughtful Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum insisted that there was simply no substance to the latest Planned Parenthood video. After comparing the queasy feeling a human being should experience while bearing witness to haggling over dismembered infant parts as though they were chicken gizzards on display in a Marrakesh bazaar to the same feeling one gets while dissecting a frog in seventh grade science class, Drum insisted the practice was no different from organ donation.

“This is no different,” Drum insisted. “It’s every bit as altruistic and admirable as harvesting useful tissue from adults. Period.” At the risk of reopening an argument Drum surely thought he had concluded with the declarative addition of the word “period” to that sentence, there most certainly is a difference. Organ donation is consensual. The dismemberment of another human being in utero is, by definition, not consensual. This contention opens a whole new philosophical debate about the agency of the unborn and whether or not they deserve rights similar to those provided to their mothers. It’s a debate worth having. While those on the left can be reasonably certain that unpopular and legally problematic personhood laws would not be its result, such a debate might result in more restrictions on the marketplace for fetal organs. When it becomes a question of whether or not we should as opposed to whether or not we can, the terms of this debate will no longer favor Planned Parenthood.

Which leads us to Hillary Clinton. In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Clinton was asked about the Planned Parenthood videos. “I have seen pictures from them and obviously find them disturbing,” Clinton said. She noted that Planned Parenthood does good work in providing a variety of services that are not abortion-related, but she also did not criticize Republican efforts to investigate the institution. “And if there’s going to be any kind of congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one (organization),” Clinton added, presumably referring to the nefarious types who had the temerity to observe Planned Parenthood officials behaving ghoulishly.

The earthquake in Clinton’s comments is that she found the videos “disturbing.” Those media outlets that were burying the Planned Parenthood story or framing it as just another peculiar conservative fixation have lost that cover. Hillary Clinton stole it from them. If they are to report on Hillary Clinton’s comments, they must also report on what she is commenting upon. To ignore what amounts to a denunciation of a liberal taxpayer-funded organization by someone soon to be the nation’s most prominent Democrat would be to embrace a level of unalloyed corruption that any journalist with a conscience would reject. News outlets are now obliged to either show the videos or to describe them in all their lurid detail.

The coming days will be clarifying. They will prove whether we have an objective press or merely a class of aspiring Democratic public relations professionals.

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Deception or Truth About Planned Parenthood Body Parts Sale?

It took a week, but the left is finally finding its voice about the shocking videos that portray Planned Parenthood officials bargaining for the sale of body parts from aborted fetuses. The initial response from liberals to the controversy was shocked silence that bespoke a hope that an apology from Planned Parenthood would suffice to answer critics. But more videos are becoming available showing other such conversations that betrayed a cynical and mercenary attitude toward the treatment of these tiny bodies that have been shattered and “crushed” by the procedures that they profit from. Thus, Congressional Democrats and liberal organs such as the New York Times are now speaking out both in defense of the organization and the practice of selling the refuse of abortion. The counterattack against the group’s critics attempts to cast the debate as one in which the right to abortion or even research with fetal tissue is being called into question. But the Planned Parenthood videos are shocking because they reveal the barbarism of late-term abortion procedures used on infants that could possibly survive outside the womb and the callous way in which abortion mills profit from them. The issue here isn’t the future of Roe v. Wade or medical research, but the reality of a practice that rightly strikes most Americans as equivalent to infanticide.

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It took a week, but the left is finally finding its voice about the shocking videos that portray Planned Parenthood officials bargaining for the sale of body parts from aborted fetuses. The initial response from liberals to the controversy was shocked silence that bespoke a hope that an apology from Planned Parenthood would suffice to answer critics. But more videos are becoming available showing other such conversations that betrayed a cynical and mercenary attitude toward the treatment of these tiny bodies that have been shattered and “crushed” by the procedures that they profit from. Thus, Congressional Democrats and liberal organs such as the New York Times are now speaking out both in defense of the organization and the practice of selling the refuse of abortion. The counterattack against the group’s critics attempts to cast the debate as one in which the right to abortion or even research with fetal tissue is being called into question. But the Planned Parenthood videos are shocking because they reveal the barbarism of late-term abortion procedures used on infants that could possibly survive outside the womb and the callous way in which abortion mills profit from them. The issue here isn’t the future of Roe v. Wade or medical research, but the reality of a practice that rightly strikes most Americans as equivalent to infanticide.

The Times claims the videos are the product of a “campaign of deception” directed at Planned Parenthood and that the edited versions of the videos initially released distort its position. However, such umbrage about the tactics of those trying to monitor an organization that receives vast amounts of taxpayer dollars is entirely hypocritical. As liberal columnist Kirsten Powers noted in USA Today, no one on the left thought there was anything wrong with someone secretly taping the embarrassing private talk by Mitt Romney in which he spoke of “47 percent” of the public being bought by the Democrats. The Times had no problems with the means by which the tape was produced or the fact that the damning quote was taken out of context. The same standard should apply to Planned Parenthood officials that spoke on tape about their “less crunchy” ways of killing the infants whose body parts they were hawking.

Nor should we be diverted by the Times or Planned Parenthood’s Congressional defenders attempt to claim critics of the group want to ban all medical research with fetal tissue. No one wants to ban research but it is hardly surprising that the videos provoked outrage because what they reveal is that an organization that claims to be about women’s health is actually in the business of mass harvesting human organs. That is a point that isn’t refuted by claims in the unedited versions of the videos that the group only seeks to get its “expenses” back from the sales.

What Planned Parenthood’s apologists don’t understand is that the issue here isn’t deception but morality. The group’s Deborah Nucatolla, its senior director of medical research, was caught on tape saying that it could produce more saleable body parts by performing more late-term abortions. If that is indeed what they have been doing, and there is no reason to believe that this is not unusual, then it is clear that Planned Parenthood is engaged in a practice that is deliberately seeking to promote abortions under circumstances that are morally dubious because of the survivability of the fetus and which have nothing to do with the health of the mother.

While most Americans still support keeping abortions during the first trimester legal, the outrage about the tapes worries the Times and the abortion industry precisely because it focuses attention on an aspect of the issue on which the vast majority of the public is not on their side. Late term abortion is rightly opposed because, in an era of ultrasounds and medical advances that make it possible for many infants that have been in the womb for more than 20 weeks to survive, the practice is morally indefensible. And, if most Americans think killing such infants is horrific, how much more despicable is a taxpayer-funded group that sells the body parts of these babies?

The problem here isn’t whether knowledge about the way Planned Parenthood thinks and operates helps those who would like to ban all abortions. The real issue is whether we have become a culture that is indifferent to immoral medical practices aimed at producing body parts for sale. Defense of the practice isn’t so much a matter of abortion rights as a willful effort to prevent us from even considering the moral dimensions of the issue. That those who believe an unrestricted right to abortion under any circumstances is the only principle worth defending are ready to defend such gruesome practices is deeply troubling. No matter where you stand on the question of legal abortion, there are some things that no decent society should tolerate. Congress would do well to investigate this matter and defund Planned Parenthood.

 

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A Glimpse Into the Culture of Death

Thanks to a secret video that was released by the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life group, we have been provided a glimpse into the culture of death.

In this case, it was provided by Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services and an abortion doctor. Dr. Nucatola’s conversation was with two people posing as individuals interested in buying the organs of unborn children who had been aborted. It reveals the lethal, brutal logic of the abortion industry. Read More

Thanks to a secret video that was released by the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life group, we have been provided a glimpse into the culture of death.

In this case, it was provided by Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services and an abortion doctor. Dr. Nucatola’s conversation was with two people posing as individuals interested in buying the organs of unborn children who had been aborted. It reveals the lethal, brutal logic of the abortion industry.

During what looked to be quite a nice wine-and-salad lunch in a Los Angeles restaurant, Dr. Nucatola speaks about the dismemberment of unborn children and the sale of their body parts.

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part,” Nucatola tells the individuals posing as organ traffickers. “I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

How tender.

Dr. Nucatola adds, “I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.”

So think about this: Planned Parenthood opposes the use of ultrasounds when their purpose is to reveal the humanity of a child (and in doing so may discourage abortion) – but it supports the use of ultrasounds when the purpose is for selling the body parts of unborn children. After all, how are we going to know which parts of an unborn child to crush without ultrasound guidance?

The reason this video is so damaging to Planned Parenthood is it exposes the unedited and animating principle behind the abortion industry and its flagship (and tax-payer supported) organization. They are utterly indifferent to and un-phased by the lethal violence of abortion. (“I was like wow, I didn’t even know, good for them,” Nucatola said when speaking about the number of people wanting the intact hearts of aborted children.) They consider abortion as morally problematic as cosmetic surgery and the right to have an abortion to be a fundamental human right, a sign of an enlightened and progressive society. Given that, why not sell the body parts? Why not make money from the organs of a dismembered and defenseless child? At least she will be useful for something.

None of this should come as a shock. After all, Planned Parenthood opposes limitations even on partial-birth abortions. And we twice elected as president a man who is not only the greatest friend of the abortion industry in history; he is a man who, as a state senator, opposed legislation that would have prevented infanticide.

Perhaps this incident has created what President Obama likes to call a Teachable Moment. Let’s assume that liberals are troubled by abortion rather than indifferent to it. If so, I’m eager for them to explain precisely what it is about abortion that troubles them. Is there something happening during an abortion that bothers their conscience? Is something morally and ethically unsettling going on? If so, what? At what stage, if any at all, does abortion go from being fine to being un-fine? And by what objective standards, if any at all, are those determinations made? At what point, if any at all, does an unborn child begin to have any rights at all? Or is the whole thing completely arbitrary and ad hoc, to the point that allowing for an abortion up to the moment of birth is defensible? If the whole thing seems too morally complex to sort through, then shouldn’t we at least err on the side of life rather than death for the child? (I say “child” because the hearts, lungs and livers that are being sold are from a human being, not a giraffe or a coyote.)

Let’s now move from an educable moment to an ironic one: Many contemporary liberals like to portray themselves as the defenders of the weak, the powerless, and the vulnerable. Yet when it comes to the weakest, the most powerless, and the most vulnerable members of the human community – unborn children – they are for (or at least for legally allowing) crushing below and crushing above. In their more candid and honest moments – when the spin machine is turned off and the talking points are cast aside — progressives will even admit it over a glass of Pinot and a salad.

 

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When Republicans ‘Pounce’

When political reporters are compelled by necessity to report on subjects that cast liberals in a negative light, nothing is more welcome than a reaction quote from a Republican. If a Democrat or a progressive interest group finds itself in the dock, the press can always count on Republicans to rescue liberals from due opprobrium by virtue of their very existence. The story is never the story; for political reporters and editors alike, the Republican reaction to the story is the preferred prism through which to view events Democrats find… discomforting. Read More

When political reporters are compelled by necessity to report on subjects that cast liberals in a negative light, nothing is more welcome than a reaction quote from a Republican. If a Democrat or a progressive interest group finds itself in the dock, the press can always count on Republicans to rescue liberals from due opprobrium by virtue of their very existence. The story is never the story; for political reporters and editors alike, the Republican reaction to the story is the preferred prism through which to view events Democrats find… discomforting.

On Tuesday, the federally-subsidized abortion provider Planned Parenthood had its worst news cycle since the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby. In a candid video filmed over a two-and-one-half hour lunch, Planned Parenthood’s senior director for medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, dished about the marketplace for discarded fetal organs and body parts in between delicate bites.

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part,” Nucatola told her dining partner. “I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.” She went on to describe how to best remove a child from a womb and to remove its brains while preserving its body in order to meet the demand for infant hearts, lungs, muscle tissue, et cetera.

The bombshell revelation about an organization that received $27.8 million from taxpayers this year alone should have made national headlines if only to clarify the nuanced legalities of Planned Parenthood’s organ transfer practices. The 1993 National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act makes it illegal to “knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce,” although exceptions are made for reimbursements related to the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, and storage of human tissue. It is, however, legal to donate the discarded tissue of aborted infants with parental consent.

That does not mean that there is no profit motive involved in the trade of fetal organs. Planned Parenthood is “reimbursed” for its services; Nucatola even referenced specific dollar figures. “Nucatola’s blasé butcher’s banter makes it clear that this is a competitive market and that supply and demand, not Planned Parenthood’s expenses, is what sets prices,” National Review’s Kevin Williamson observed. It’s a marketplace the American public would surely be interested to know more about.

But there was no shocked media coverage and little appreciable outrage over the grotesque callousness displayed by Nucatola outside of traditionally pro-life conservative circles. The Washington Post, for example, didn’t cover the video that was released in the early morning hours until 4:31 p.m. ET. Similarly, former Washington Post reporter and current Vox.com scribe Sarah Kliff excused her paper’s refusal to cover the criminal late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell because that was a “local crime story” in the backwater burg of Philadelphia. But at least the Beltway paper ran with the story. Many of its competitors ignored it entirely. Something is amiss here. A political media that catapulted an obscure Texas state senator to stardom over the quixotic filibuster of her state’s 20-week abortion ban barely uttered a peep about this shocking video despite its wild popularity in social media outlets. In retrospect, the delay was perfectly explicable. The press was searching for a particular angle: How to frame this story as a peculiar fixation of conservatives.

The Hill led the way: “Republicans seize on Planned Parenthood video,” the headline read. The critical information, the pitiless discussion of human dismemberment and the value of their precious organs for traffickers, was apparently not as fascinating to The Hill as was the reaction from conservatives to Nucatola’s bloodless candor.

This is not a new phenomenon. Republicans engaging in displays of human cognition and reacting to exogenous events often frees the press of their responsibility to report on the merits of a particular story that reflects poorly on Democrats or liberal interest groups. In the spring of 2013, the Obama administration found itself embroiled in a series of simultaneously unfolding scandals. From the IRS targeting scandal, to the White House emails revealing Benghazi-related talking points, to the Department of Veterans Affairs systematically covering up deadly wait times, the administration found itself besieged on all fronts. But what was the political press fascinated with? When Republicans would inevitably “overplay their hand.” The story is never the story.

Political reporters are curiously enthralled by how frequently “Republicans pounce” on stories that could imperil Democratic electoral prospects. “Gasoline prices are on the rise, and Republicans are licking their chops,” read the lead in a 2012 Politico report on the Republicans who “pounce” on skyrocketing prices at the pump. When a hot mic caught President Barack Obama promising then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev more “flexibility” in his second term, National Public Radio discovered that Republicans had pounced yet again. When Obama contended in that election year that the private sector was “doing fine” in the third year of an anemic economic recovery, Republicans pounced once more. Flash-forward to Hillary Clinton’s preposterously false assessment of her family’s post-presidential financial situation, and Republicans were accused of pouncing on her “dead broke” comment.

Another variation of the familiar theme holds that Republicans “seize” on news that puts the opposition party in an uncomfortable position. “Republicans seize on HSBC scandal to hold up Loretta Lynch’s confirmation,” read The Guardian’s headline regarding a 60 Minutes exposé surrounding Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s role in negotiating a settlement with the China-based bank after it was implicated in facilitating money laundering by Mexican drug cartels and helping its clients evade U.S. sanctions. “Republicans seize on health law’s growing problems to slam Democrats,” the Associated Press revealed in 2014, much to the presumed glee of the majority of the public that disapproves of the law and its myriad disastrous effects on the insurance market. When President Obama failed to produce a budget in February 2014 (his previous two budgets having received precisely zero votes in the Democrat-controlled Senate), Republicans seized again.

To any competent editor, a political party capitalizing on the problems of its opposition is a dog-bites-man story. If that narrative construction distracts from Democratic scandals or failures of governance, however, it’s excusable. It is no longer possible to suspend disbelief; once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, but the course of an entire two-term presidency is enemy action.

When Republicans pounce, you can be sure that the press will cover the leap and not their target.

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The Economics of Birth Control Drugs

The Hill is reporting that Colorado Senator Cory Gardner is introducing a bill that would require drug companies that produce birth control drugs to apply to the FDA to have them be sold over the counter. These drugs have been on the market now for decades with few if any side-effects, and most such drugs go over the counter quite soon. Senator Gardner has six Republican co-sponsors.

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The Hill is reporting that Colorado Senator Cory Gardner is introducing a bill that would require drug companies that produce birth control drugs to apply to the FDA to have them be sold over the counter. These drugs have been on the market now for decades with few if any side-effects, and most such drugs go over the counter quite soon. Senator Gardner has six Republican co-sponsors.

It’s only common sense to make safe drugs with no abuse potential as easily available as possible, right? But guess who opposes the measure. Planned Parenthood, among other liberal organizations. They have one stated objection and one unstated. The latter is that if a woman can just walk into a drug store and buy birth control pills, she won’t need to go to Planned Parenthood first to get a prescription. Planned Parenthood would become, in effect, the world’s largest abortion clinic.

But their stated objection is that if birth control is OTC, then insurance companies might stop paying for it, just as they don’t pay for aspirin, cold medicines, and Tums.

Of course, insurance companies shouldn’t be paying for it even if it’s a prescription drug.

Insurance is meant to protect people and organizations from large expenses that cannot be predicted, such as a house fire or an automobile accident. Everyone who sends a premium to an insurance company hopes that he won’t have to make a claim. What insurance does not and should not cover are routine, predictable expenses, such as, with automobiles, oil changes. Equally, health insurance should cover large, unpredictable expenses, such as serious illness. They should not cover routine, predictable expenses such as birth control. But Obamacare forces them to, at great expense to the women who take birth control pills.

Here’s the economics-101 reason:  Covering such expenses is not insurance at all, it’s a prepayment plan and a very expensive one.

Because insurance companies don’t cover oil changes, the car owner drops by the garage four times a year, gets his oil changed, pays the garage $25 and drives off, for an annual expense of $100. But if the federal government in its infinite wisdom were to decide to force automobile insurance companies to pay for oil changes, the garage owner would bill the insurance company instead. But because that requires clerical effort and he has to wait for his money, the garage owner won’t charge $25, he’ll charge, say, $30. When the insurance company gets the claim, it will run it through its own clerical process and, eventually, cut a check and send it to the garage.

But that overhead has to covered by the premium as well, as does the company’s need to make a profit. So the insurance company will jack up the premium by, say $10 per oil change. So now, instead of the four annual oil changes costing $100, they cost $160 in increased insurance premiums.

And liberals think that birth control, thanks to Obamacare, is now “free.”  Milton Friedman, call your office.

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The Lethal Compassion of Modern Liberalism

The Philadelphia abortionist, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was found guilty Monday of murdering three babies born alive in an abortion clinic. (Gosnell severed the necks of the newborn babies.) He was acquitted in the fourth baby’s death, and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of an adult patient. 

Planned Parenthood applauded the verdict. “The jury has punished Kermit Gosnell for his appalling crimes.” 

The abortion rights organization should have stopped there. But it didn’t.

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The Philadelphia abortionist, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was found guilty Monday of murdering three babies born alive in an abortion clinic. (Gosnell severed the necks of the newborn babies.) He was acquitted in the fourth baby’s death, and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of an adult patient. 

Planned Parenthood applauded the verdict. “The jury has punished Kermit Gosnell for his appalling crimes.” 

The abortion rights organization should have stopped there. But it didn’t.

“This verdict will ensure that no woman is victimized by Kermit Gosnell ever again,” said Planned Parenthood spokesman Eric Ferrero. “This case has made clear that we must have and enforce laws that protect access to safe and legal abortion, and we must reject misguided laws that would limit women’s options and force them to seek treatment from criminals like Kermit Gosnell.”

So what’s missing from this Planned Parenthood statement? That’s right: any reference to the murdered infants. Because in the disturbing and distorted world of Planned Parenthood, murdered infants cannot be mentioned, even in the case of an abortion doctor who is convicted of murdering three of them.

One can see how the Gosnell trial has complicated life for those in the abortion industry. They know that Gosnell’s actions are morally repellant–yet Planned Parenthood cannot utter a single word of sympathy for the murdered infants. So the solution is to applaud the verdict but ignore the lethal actions that led to the verdict.

Planned Parenthood’s commitment to abort any child, for any reason, at any point in pregnancy (or post-delivery) is simply unshakeable. The organization seems to view abortion like a secular sacrament, as a demonstration of emancipation. There is something quite twisted in all this. And it tells you a great deal about Barack Obama that he is so impressed with the lethal work of Planned Parenthood that he is the first sitting president to address the group. And why not? As a state senator in Illinois Mr. Obama opposed legislation that would grant legal protection to a newborn child that had been marked for abortion but survived.

Of course, a story like this shouldn’t obscure the fact that liberalism is the philosophy that defends the weak, the vulnerable, and the defenseless. Except for when it comes to snipping the necks of newborn children.

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Waiting for the Gosnell Verdict

The wait for the verdict in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell went on today as a jury continued to weigh the multitude of charges that the Philadelphia abortionist faces for butchering women and their babies. The case has gotten more attention in the mainstream media in recent weeks after conservative columnists lambasted it for ignoring a gruesome story that remains an embarrassment to the pro-choice side of the abortion debate. But it’s still unclear whether the country has even started to fully assimilate what these crimes mean about the state of health care for poor women in this country. Nor are many of us asking the big question that hangs over the Gosnell proceedings: how much of an aberration are the instances of infanticide that the testimony against the defendants revealed?

But there is one thing we know for sure. If Gosnell’s attorneys manage to convince a jury not to convict him, you can forget about any expectations that this case will lead to more scrutiny of clinics where late-term abortions are being conducted.

Abortion rights defenders are right to say that the charge that Gosnell’s crimes, which include the murder of infants born alive after botched abortions, should not be imputed to anyone else in what is a large sector of the health care industry. But the problem in Philadelphia is that due to a politically-motivated decision by a pro-choice Republican governor a decade ago, inspections of such clinics were shelved lest they be interpreted as an attempt to make abortions less available. But if a jury is persuaded that the Gosnell prosecution is about race or an attempt to roll back Roe v. Wade, the impulse in the media as well as among a political class that largely wishes to avoid entanglement in this issue will be to forget about it, allowing any other Gosnells out there to go on killing babies and mistreating their patients with impunity.

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The wait for the verdict in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell went on today as a jury continued to weigh the multitude of charges that the Philadelphia abortionist faces for butchering women and their babies. The case has gotten more attention in the mainstream media in recent weeks after conservative columnists lambasted it for ignoring a gruesome story that remains an embarrassment to the pro-choice side of the abortion debate. But it’s still unclear whether the country has even started to fully assimilate what these crimes mean about the state of health care for poor women in this country. Nor are many of us asking the big question that hangs over the Gosnell proceedings: how much of an aberration are the instances of infanticide that the testimony against the defendants revealed?

But there is one thing we know for sure. If Gosnell’s attorneys manage to convince a jury not to convict him, you can forget about any expectations that this case will lead to more scrutiny of clinics where late-term abortions are being conducted.

Abortion rights defenders are right to say that the charge that Gosnell’s crimes, which include the murder of infants born alive after botched abortions, should not be imputed to anyone else in what is a large sector of the health care industry. But the problem in Philadelphia is that due to a politically-motivated decision by a pro-choice Republican governor a decade ago, inspections of such clinics were shelved lest they be interpreted as an attempt to make abortions less available. But if a jury is persuaded that the Gosnell prosecution is about race or an attempt to roll back Roe v. Wade, the impulse in the media as well as among a political class that largely wishes to avoid entanglement in this issue will be to forget about it, allowing any other Gosnells out there to go on killing babies and mistreating their patients with impunity.

Even if, as even most objective observers insist, what happened at one clinic in West Philadelphia is unimaginable at Planned Parenthood clinics, this trial ought to cause Americans to begin thinking about whether a politically-motivated lack of concern has created an opening for other Gosnells. One of the most powerful arguments for legalized abortion was always the certainty that whether or not they were allowed under the law, such procedures would continue to be performed. But what we have learned from the Gosnell case is that the horrors of back-alley abortions didn’t end when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe.

Even more troubling is the talk we’ve heard recently from Planned Parenthood in which it was made clear that a) some in the group think giving medical care to infants born alive after abortions was optional and b) the horror stories emanating from the Gosnell office were not considered sufficiently shocking by local Planned Parenthood officials to report them to the authorities. If such reactions are possible, then it is far from unreasonable to conclude that a culture of indifference to human life, even when it has emerged from womb, may be operating on the margins of our health care system.

Let us pray that that whatever it is that happens to Kermit Gosnell, the gut-wrenching facts of this case are sufficiently publicized to cause enough Americans to do some soul-searching about what this trial says about the state of ethics and respect for human dignity in our country today.

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Obama’s Planned Parenthood Payoff

Even in an administration as skilled in manipulating the media as that of Barack Obama, there are still some things that are more greatly valued than a finely crafted piece of political spin. One of those is the need to pay back supporters for their efforts in the president’s re-election campaign. That’s why President Obama will be addressing Planned Parenthood in Washington on Friday. Given the prominent role that PP President Cecile Richards played last year as surrogate speaker for the president, and the organization’s central part in promoting the idea that Republicans were waging a “war on women,” Obama’s decision to speak at the event seems only natural. But the timing of his appearance at a Planned Parenthood conference couldn’t be worse.

The problem stems from the admission on the part of an official of the group’s Southeastern Pennsylvania affiliate reported last week by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Speaking with Gloria Steinem at the group’s annual Spring Gathering at Philadelphia’s Constitution Center, Dayle Steinberg said Planned Parenthood was aware of problems at the infamous abortion clinic operated by Kermit Gosnell:

Steinberg said that when Gosnell was in practice, women would sometimes come to Planned Parenthood for services after first visiting Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, and would complain to staff about the conditions there.

“We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,” Steinberg said as she sat with Steinem before Tuesday’s events.

While this doesn’t make the group responsible for the atrocities that were allegedly committed by Gosnell, it does raise questions as to why an organization avowedly dedicated to protecting the health of women chose not to take any action on its own or to investigate what was going on. As Wesley J. Smith noted at National Review yesterday, it does remind one of the old saying, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Coming as it does, in the aftermath of a damaging comment by a Florida Planned Parenthood official who thought whether clinic personnel should render medical assistance to a baby born as a result of a botched abortion was an open question, the comments about the ongoing Gosnell trial might have made the group politically toxic. But President Obama owes Planned Parenthood too much to pass on a chance to embrace them.

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Even in an administration as skilled in manipulating the media as that of Barack Obama, there are still some things that are more greatly valued than a finely crafted piece of political spin. One of those is the need to pay back supporters for their efforts in the president’s re-election campaign. That’s why President Obama will be addressing Planned Parenthood in Washington on Friday. Given the prominent role that PP President Cecile Richards played last year as surrogate speaker for the president, and the organization’s central part in promoting the idea that Republicans were waging a “war on women,” Obama’s decision to speak at the event seems only natural. But the timing of his appearance at a Planned Parenthood conference couldn’t be worse.

The problem stems from the admission on the part of an official of the group’s Southeastern Pennsylvania affiliate reported last week by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Speaking with Gloria Steinem at the group’s annual Spring Gathering at Philadelphia’s Constitution Center, Dayle Steinberg said Planned Parenthood was aware of problems at the infamous abortion clinic operated by Kermit Gosnell:

Steinberg said that when Gosnell was in practice, women would sometimes come to Planned Parenthood for services after first visiting Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, and would complain to staff about the conditions there.

“We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,” Steinberg said as she sat with Steinem before Tuesday’s events.

While this doesn’t make the group responsible for the atrocities that were allegedly committed by Gosnell, it does raise questions as to why an organization avowedly dedicated to protecting the health of women chose not to take any action on its own or to investigate what was going on. As Wesley J. Smith noted at National Review yesterday, it does remind one of the old saying, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Coming as it does, in the aftermath of a damaging comment by a Florida Planned Parenthood official who thought whether clinic personnel should render medical assistance to a baby born as a result of a botched abortion was an open question, the comments about the ongoing Gosnell trial might have made the group politically toxic. But President Obama owes Planned Parenthood too much to pass on a chance to embrace them.

The increased coverage given the Gosnell trial as a result of criticism of the major media blackout of the story should have put Planned Parenthood in the cross hairs of the controversy after Steinberg’s statement. But the same outlets that were doing their best to ignore Gosnell are not saying much, if anything, about Steinberg’s admission. The reason for this is obvious, even for those who support abortion rights. While groups like Planned Parenthood assert that Gosnell’s crimes make the need for quality health care, such as the services they provide, even more important, the trial’s revelations about the cavalier way late-term abortions are carried out seems to make many people in the “pro-choice” community—a term that includes much of the media—uncomfortable.

Planned Parenthood retracted their Florida representative’s statement about babies born after attempted abortions and now they need to answer some questions about Gosnell. But none of this is likely to affect an Obama White House that sees the group as integral to their struggle to depict their opponents as hostile to women’s health care.

Whatever one may think about the charge that Republicans were waging a war on women (a canard that was boosted by the stupid comments of former Representative Todd Akin about abortion and rape), Steinberg’s statements give the impression that Planned Parenthood was indifferent to the war Kermit Gosnell was waging on women and babies at his West Philadelphia clinic. That might have caused a president less beholden to them to stay away from them. But the debt the president owes the group is far greater than any questions that might be asked about his presence at their event.

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Why They Won’t Talk About Kermit Gosnell

In 2011, the journalist Mara Hvistendahl published Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, detailing the societal effects of sex-selective abortions that target women the world over and resulted in the absence of perhaps more than 100 million girls who by now should have been born. But Hvistendahl soon learned the downside to uncovering what many believe to be a shocking trend in human rights offenses: people will want to do something about it. And so she lashed out, declaring that “anti-abortion activists have been at work in a disingenuous game, using the stark reduction of women in the developing world” to argue for pro-life policies that could save those women.

Hvistendahl’s plaint recalled the incredible work of Edwin Black, most notably his book War Against the Weak, which detailed the role American eugenics played in the monstrous ethnic cleansing in Europe in the 20th century culminating in the Holocaust. One of the most important personalities in this terrible saga was the eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood. Yet like Hvistendahl, Black was concerned about the implications of what he had uncovered. In the introduction, he writes: “Opponents of a woman’s right to choose could easily seize upon Margaret Sanger’s eugenic rhetoric to discredit the admirable work of Planned Parenthood today; I oppose such misuse.”

But what Black and Hvistendahl betray in their defensiveness is an awareness that an ideology that supports unlimited (or practically unlimited) abortion has consequences, and those consequences are exacerbated immensely by the fact that the supposedly “progressive” practitioners of such an ideology resort to the denial of human life where it obviously exists. To dehumanize is to invite a world of trouble. And that world of trouble unfortunately empowers evil such as that displayed by the “doctor” Kermit Gosnell, who stands accused of using his Philadelphia abortion practice to provide what is essentially child execution by killing babies who survive an abortion procedure and are born alive.

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In 2011, the journalist Mara Hvistendahl published Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, detailing the societal effects of sex-selective abortions that target women the world over and resulted in the absence of perhaps more than 100 million girls who by now should have been born. But Hvistendahl soon learned the downside to uncovering what many believe to be a shocking trend in human rights offenses: people will want to do something about it. And so she lashed out, declaring that “anti-abortion activists have been at work in a disingenuous game, using the stark reduction of women in the developing world” to argue for pro-life policies that could save those women.

Hvistendahl’s plaint recalled the incredible work of Edwin Black, most notably his book War Against the Weak, which detailed the role American eugenics played in the monstrous ethnic cleansing in Europe in the 20th century culminating in the Holocaust. One of the most important personalities in this terrible saga was the eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood. Yet like Hvistendahl, Black was concerned about the implications of what he had uncovered. In the introduction, he writes: “Opponents of a woman’s right to choose could easily seize upon Margaret Sanger’s eugenic rhetoric to discredit the admirable work of Planned Parenthood today; I oppose such misuse.”

But what Black and Hvistendahl betray in their defensiveness is an awareness that an ideology that supports unlimited (or practically unlimited) abortion has consequences, and those consequences are exacerbated immensely by the fact that the supposedly “progressive” practitioners of such an ideology resort to the denial of human life where it obviously exists. To dehumanize is to invite a world of trouble. And that world of trouble unfortunately empowers evil such as that displayed by the “doctor” Kermit Gosnell, who stands accused of using his Philadelphia abortion practice to provide what is essentially child execution by killing babies who survive an abortion procedure and are born alive.

The details of Gosnell’s alleged actions are more than unpleasant; they are damned-near soul scarring. And they are coming out because he is on trial for them, because what he is accused of is murder.

You may not have heard much about Gosnell’s case. That’s because the mainstream press has chosen by and large to ignore it. There is no area of American politics in which the press is more activist or biased or unethical than social issues, the so-called culture wars. And the culture of permissive abortion they favor has consequences, which they would rather not look squarely at, thank you very much. The liberal commentator Kirsten Powers has written a tremendous op-ed in USA Today on Gosnell and the media blackout. Powers writes of the gruesome admissions that Gosnell’s former employees are making in court, some of which amount to “literally a beheading” and other stomach-turning descriptions. On the media’s refusal to inform the public, Powers writes:

A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan hijacked a segment on Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.

The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial and The New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial’s first day. They’ve been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony….

You don’t have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” It’s about basic human rights.

The media should be ashamed beyond description for this behavior. The American left should come to terms with what it means to talk about a human life as if it were a parasite, or merely a clump of cells. And they should most certainly stop lecturing the rest of us on compassion, on pity, on social obligation, on morality.

Powers is right when she says the alleged revelations about Gosnell “should shock anyone with a heart.” Which is precisely what the press is avoiding.

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Fluke’s Battle Cry: Lysistrata or Insomnia?

Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke became the poster child for the Democrats faux “war on women” theme this past spring when she was brutally mocked as a “slut” by Rush Limbaugh for whining to Congress about her Catholic university’s refusal to pay for her contraceptives. Fluke has parlayed that foolish insult into a full-time career as a liberal activist and will appear at the Democratic National Convention to denounce the Republicans and urge President Obama’s re-election. Fluke has no interest in the fact that her fight for free contraceptives infringes on the religious liberty of Catholics and others who object to being compelled to pay for services that violate their consciences. She believes her demands trump the constitutional rights of others.

Today, she appeared at a pre-convention Planned Parenthood rally at which she urged women to work for the GOP’s defeat. The group was reportedly disappointed by the poor turnout for the event that was apparently caused by an Occupy Wall Street standoff with police preventing Democrats and activists from getting to the rally. But thanks to Fluke, they got some publicity because of the catchy battle cry she issued to supporters:

She announced her new rule: “No sleep ’til November!” Fluke called on Planned Parenthood supporters to talk to “everyone…if there is one woman or one man who loves women in America who doesn’t understand what these candidates stand for in November,” Planned Parenthood supporters will have failed.

But what exactly does the would-be lawyer mean by that? It might be just an awkward metaphor.  But does she expect all women to be pulling all-nighters working at Obama call centers or knocking on doors canvassing? Or is she channeling Greek poet Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata, first performed in 411 B.C.E., in which the women of Athens vow to withhold their sexual favors until their men obey their demand to change a state policy?

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Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke became the poster child for the Democrats faux “war on women” theme this past spring when she was brutally mocked as a “slut” by Rush Limbaugh for whining to Congress about her Catholic university’s refusal to pay for her contraceptives. Fluke has parlayed that foolish insult into a full-time career as a liberal activist and will appear at the Democratic National Convention to denounce the Republicans and urge President Obama’s re-election. Fluke has no interest in the fact that her fight for free contraceptives infringes on the religious liberty of Catholics and others who object to being compelled to pay for services that violate their consciences. She believes her demands trump the constitutional rights of others.

Today, she appeared at a pre-convention Planned Parenthood rally at which she urged women to work for the GOP’s defeat. The group was reportedly disappointed by the poor turnout for the event that was apparently caused by an Occupy Wall Street standoff with police preventing Democrats and activists from getting to the rally. But thanks to Fluke, they got some publicity because of the catchy battle cry she issued to supporters:

She announced her new rule: “No sleep ’til November!” Fluke called on Planned Parenthood supporters to talk to “everyone…if there is one woman or one man who loves women in America who doesn’t understand what these candidates stand for in November,” Planned Parenthood supporters will have failed.

But what exactly does the would-be lawyer mean by that? It might be just an awkward metaphor.  But does she expect all women to be pulling all-nighters working at Obama call centers or knocking on doors canvassing? Or is she channeling Greek poet Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata, first performed in 411 B.C.E., in which the women of Athens vow to withhold their sexual favors until their men obey their demand to change a state policy?

If the latter, it would be a highly inventive campaign tactic as well as a tribute to Fluke’s erudition. It would, of course, be very bad news for Democrats of all sexual proclivities and, no doubt, cause some strife in households where the partners are of different political persuasions. In Aristophanes’ version of history, the women eventually do prevail and manage to bring a halt to the Peloponnesian War.

Far be it from me to offer any advice about how any attendee at the DNC should make use any of the sexual organs that some of them are dressed up as this week. But one imagines that Democratic women would be far better off going Lysistrata until November rather than suffering the horrors of insomnia. There is also the added benefit that at least for the next two months, it would cut down on the costs of the contraceptives that Fluke and her supporters are so anxious to have paid by taxpayers and Catholic institutions.

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Planned Parenthood’s War on Girls

In a new James O’Keefe-style sting operation on Planned Parenthood, the pro-life organization Live Action set out to prove, and succeeded in doing so, that Planned Parenthood will help any woman abort their fetus for any reason, even the most reprehensible. In previous stings, Live Action caught Planned Parenthood employees accepting donations in order to reduce the number of African Americans born in the United States. This time around, they appear to show that not only will they help a woman abort at the last possible week in order to achieve the desired sex of the baby, but they’ll also give tips on how to manipulate Medicaid in order to do so.

Planned Parenthood, which counts on taxpayer dollars to fill one third of its operating budget, is no stranger to controversy about its questionable ethics and has again refused to apologize for them. The Huffington Post reports: 

This spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America also told The Huffington Post that the organization condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender, but its policy is to provide “high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into” its health centers. That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).
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In a new James O’Keefe-style sting operation on Planned Parenthood, the pro-life organization Live Action set out to prove, and succeeded in doing so, that Planned Parenthood will help any woman abort their fetus for any reason, even the most reprehensible. In previous stings, Live Action caught Planned Parenthood employees accepting donations in order to reduce the number of African Americans born in the United States. This time around, they appear to show that not only will they help a woman abort at the last possible week in order to achieve the desired sex of the baby, but they’ll also give tips on how to manipulate Medicaid in order to do so.

Planned Parenthood, which counts on taxpayer dollars to fill one third of its operating budget, is no stranger to controversy about its questionable ethics and has again refused to apologize for them. The Huffington Post reports: 

This spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America also told The Huffington Post that the organization condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender, but its policy is to provide “high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into” its health centers. That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).

In the same statement Planned Parenthood admits, “Within three days of this patient interaction, the staff member’s employment was ended and all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters.” They also claim that Live Action’s videos were edited and that a hoax was perpetrated on the Austin, Texas office. While the patient visit was indeed a “hoax” – the woman does not appear to be pregnant nor was she seeking a sex-selective abortion, Live Action has posted the entire transcript (albeit no full video) in an effort to quell claims the video was in any way altered. If the video was edited and the visit was a hoax as Planned Parenthood attests, why was the staff member immediately fired? While the organization’s supporters are trying to treat this incident as a provocation, the group still has a lot of explaining to do about its practices.

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Mitt Romney’s Opportunism

Earlier today, I made the case that Rick Santorum’s language has been intemperate of late. The problem for Mitt Romney is a different one: opportunism. I have in mind, among other things, last week’s debate, when Governor Romney, in criticizing Santorum, said, “Well, I’m looking at [Santorum’s] historic record” — including “a whole series of votes. Voting to fund Planned Parenthood…” and more.

This charge is technically correct but incomplete. In fact, it creates an utterly false impression. Santorum voted for a large spending bill that included funding for Planned Parenthood, the kind of difficult and prudential judgment members of Congress are often forced to make. (It helps explain why long-serving members of Congress rarely win the presidency.) But that vote cannot obscure this fact: Santorum has been one of America’s most vocal champions for the pro-life cause, to the point that he opposes abortion even in the case of rape and incest, and we all know he would defund Planned Parenthood in a millisecond if he could have his way. On culture of life issues, Rick Santorum is among the least compromised of all politicians.

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Earlier today, I made the case that Rick Santorum’s language has been intemperate of late. The problem for Mitt Romney is a different one: opportunism. I have in mind, among other things, last week’s debate, when Governor Romney, in criticizing Santorum, said, “Well, I’m looking at [Santorum’s] historic record” — including “a whole series of votes. Voting to fund Planned Parenthood…” and more.

This charge is technically correct but incomplete. In fact, it creates an utterly false impression. Santorum voted for a large spending bill that included funding for Planned Parenthood, the kind of difficult and prudential judgment members of Congress are often forced to make. (It helps explain why long-serving members of Congress rarely win the presidency.) But that vote cannot obscure this fact: Santorum has been one of America’s most vocal champions for the pro-life cause, to the point that he opposes abortion even in the case of rape and incest, and we all know he would defund Planned Parenthood in a millisecond if he could have his way. On culture of life issues, Rick Santorum is among the least compromised of all politicians.

Beyond that, though, what makes the charge particularly unfair is that Romney, at one time in his career, strongly favored the right to an abortion, attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 1994, and according to press reports, his wife Ann donated to Planned Parenthood. So to have Romney attack Santorum for being insufficiently pro-life is a bit much.

Romney has shifted his position on abortion, and I’m glad he has. But for him to portray Santorum as unprincipled on this issue strikes me as deeply unfair. It might work in a narrow tactical sense. But these attacks are dangerous for Romney, because they can easily reinforce a pre-existing impression, which is that there’s a shamelessness to Romney’s attacks that can be discrediting. (Trying to lay blame for Obamacare at the feet of Santorum is also a fairly brazen charge.)

There are plenty of arguments Romney can make on his own behalf, as well as criticisms he can level against Santorum. But Santorum being an ally of Planned Parenthood is an argument Romney really should stay away from.

 

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Planned Parenthood Says it Won’t Do Abortions Without Ultrasounds

Pro-choice groups have been pushing back against a Virginia bill that would require women to undergo ultrasounds before an abortion procedure. The complaints are the ultrasounds are needlessly invasive, not medically necessary, and would be forced on women seeking abortions, even if they don’t want them.

This criticism misses one crucial point: Planned Parenthood policy already requires ultrasounds before abortion procedures.

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Pro-choice groups have been pushing back against a Virginia bill that would require women to undergo ultrasounds before an abortion procedure. The complaints are the ultrasounds are needlessly invasive, not medically necessary, and would be forced on women seeking abortions, even if they don’t want them.

This criticism misses one crucial point: Planned Parenthood policy already requires ultrasounds before abortion procedures.

“That’s just the medical standard,” said Adrienne Schreiber, an official at Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C., regional office. “To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy, before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound.”

According to Schreiber, Planned Parenthood does require women to give signed consent for abortion procedures, including the ultrasound. But if the women won’t consent to the ultrasound, the abortion cannot take place, according to the group’s national standards.

Schreiber said there are several options at that point. If the woman is uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, which is more invasive, she can wait until the fetus is large enough to opt for a transabdominal ultrasound.

“But if she’s uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, then she’s not going to be comfortable with an equally invasive abortion procedure,” Schreiber told me.

Planned Parenthood’s policy undermines a key sticking point for the Virginia legislation. Opponents of the mandatory ultrasound bill say the law would take away a woman’s right to consent to an ultrasound.

“Planned Parenthood gets patient consent. Virginia bill requires ultrasound regardless of consent,” Virginia Delegate David Englin, an opponent of the bill, told me yesterday.

While Planned Parenthood technically does get the patient’s consent, it will not go ahead with the abortion procedure without an ultrasound – which, as it so happens, is virtually the same policy that’s proposed in the Virginia bill.

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Hillary Clinton’s Meddling

The ideological extremism of the Obama administration keeps popping up on an almost daily basis, like a game of whack-a-mole. The latest example comes to us courtesy of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was in Canada, where she was lecturing Canadians on how they should be more pro-abortion.

Secretary Clinton’s comments were made in the context of the Canadian government’s G8 maternal and child health initiative. According to Clinton: “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”

So here’s a question: can you imagine Henry Kissinger or Dean Acheson ever saying such a thing? Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State; she’s not the president of Planned Parenthood. And for an administration that insists it shouldn’t meddle in the internal affairs of other nations — unless it means making life considerably more difficult for our allies like Honduras and Israel — this is quite remarkable.

Or perhaps not. It fits in quite well with those who argue that no administration in history has been quite as radical on quite as many fronts as this one. There have been exceptions, of course, most especially on Obama’s policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. But for the most part, the Obama administration cannot help itself from pushing the most extreme side of a host of issues, whether it comes to spending; or deficits and the debt; or expanding the reach and power of the federal government; or nationalizing health care; or decimating the morale of the CIA; or providing terrorists with unprecedented rights; or bashing our allies; or criticizing America abroad; or promoting abortion in other lands.

All of this is coming together in the minds of the members of the public, which is why November looks like it will be so bad for Democrats, in so many ways.

The ideological extremism of the Obama administration keeps popping up on an almost daily basis, like a game of whack-a-mole. The latest example comes to us courtesy of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was in Canada, where she was lecturing Canadians on how they should be more pro-abortion.

Secretary Clinton’s comments were made in the context of the Canadian government’s G8 maternal and child health initiative. According to Clinton: “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”

So here’s a question: can you imagine Henry Kissinger or Dean Acheson ever saying such a thing? Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State; she’s not the president of Planned Parenthood. And for an administration that insists it shouldn’t meddle in the internal affairs of other nations — unless it means making life considerably more difficult for our allies like Honduras and Israel — this is quite remarkable.

Or perhaps not. It fits in quite well with those who argue that no administration in history has been quite as radical on quite as many fronts as this one. There have been exceptions, of course, most especially on Obama’s policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. But for the most part, the Obama administration cannot help itself from pushing the most extreme side of a host of issues, whether it comes to spending; or deficits and the debt; or expanding the reach and power of the federal government; or nationalizing health care; or decimating the morale of the CIA; or providing terrorists with unprecedented rights; or bashing our allies; or criticizing America abroad; or promoting abortion in other lands.

All of this is coming together in the minds of the members of the public, which is why November looks like it will be so bad for Democrats, in so many ways.

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