Patrice Robison is the former president of Students for Life and December ’15 alumna with a degree in nursing.
As former president of Students for Life, I’m grateful for the opportunity to respond to Nureen Khadr and others who declined to approach us in person during the Planned Parenthood Project, a display we hosted on campus during finals week last semester.
Students for Life exists to spread the truth about the value and dignity of human life, and this cannot be done without a full understanding of everything that Planned Parenthood stands for. This includes the undeniable reality that Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion vendor, selling over 320,000 abortions every year in the U.S. alone. Our display sought to create dialogue about some uncomfortable facts, but Nureen repeatedly accused us of spreading false information, writing, “Dear Students for Life: you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own set of facts.”
I completely agree with her. In fact, our display did not include any opinions about abortion, but rather facts straight from Planned Parenthood itself. I want to respond to Nureen’s claims:
Nureen stated, “Unlike the first banner suggests, 94 percent of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services are not abortions.” However, this staggering number is from Planned Parenthood’s own annual report. In its 2013-2014 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood provided 18,684 prenatal services, 1,880 adoption referrals, and 327,653 abortions. Taken together, these pregnancy services total 348,217. The 327,653 abortions account for 94 percent of the 348,217 total pregnancy services.
Concerning another banner, Nureen says, “There are no records that substantiate Planned Parenthood turning a profit from selling fetal tissue[.]” However, hundreds of hours of damning footage released by the Center for Medical Progress reveal what Planned Parenthood executives themselves admitted on tape would cause “a huge PR issue” and “the headlines [to] be a disaster.”
Nureen and others who have a basic knowledge of the situation do not deny that Planned Parenthood was exchanging money for fetal parts. The question rather is whether or not Planned Parenthood had been making a profit. The media narrative, which Nureen repeated, is that Planned Parenthood is reimbursed for the cost of “collecting, storing, and transporting the tissue.” If this was true, then set costs would determine reimbursement and negotiation would be out of the question. But instead we see dozens of senior level executives and top Planned Parenthood doctors on film doing the following: haggling over prices for body parts, discussing how payments are based on market value of fetal specimens, not on reimbursement of actual costs, explaining that there are no costs involved for clinics which have a relationship with fetal tissue procurement companies, since procurement techs come into the clinics to do all the work for them (i.e. handling consent forms, dissecting aborted fetuses to procure intact organs, and packing and shipping the body parts), admitting to accounting gimmicks to hide sales (also evidenced through publicly available invoices), admitting to illegally manipulating fetuses to the breech position to obtain more intact fetal parts.
This investigation revealed three federal statutes that are being violated: selling body parts for profit, harvesting fetal cadavers without consent, and performing partial birth abortions in order to obtain the most valuable parts.
Two different forensic reports- one by Coalfire, a forensic analysis and cybersecurity company used by many Fortune 500 companies- have confirmed that the videos are authentic and not manipulated. The second analysis was done by a Democratic opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, who said in the report: “This analysis did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.” The full footage is available at www.centerformedicalprogress.org, but Planned Parenthood wants nothing more than for people to refuse to watch the videos and examine the evidence for themselves in order to continue their cover-up. If that describes you, Planned Parenthood has succeeded.
As for the use of fetal tissue, there is a controversial history of using aborted body parts to research cures to diseases, all of which have ended in tragic failures. Adult and umbilical cord stem cells have however proven to be helpful in many conditions. Fetal stem cells have been used in our vaccinations since the 1960s when the Rubella vaccine was created. However, the Center for Disease Control and other medical authorities have said, “No new fetal tissue is needed to produce cell lines to make these vaccines, now or in the future.” Many current vaccines are created using the same cell lines used from the aborted fetus over four decades ago. Newer cell lines and better culture techniques makes the dependence on new aborted fetal cells an outdated science.
The source of our display’s statement about Planned Parenthood’s low-quality birth control is a 2005 Consumer Reports study showing Planned Parenthood’s condoms to rate the lowest of all those tested, which undermines their entire supposed mission.
Proposals to reallocate Planned Parenthood’s funding seek to direct those funds to Federally Qualified Health Centers that take low-income patients and provide a full scope of primary health care (including all of the services Planned Parenthood provides, other than abortions), rather than the limited gynecological services provided by Planned Parenthood. There are over 13,000 of these clinics across America. Nureen implies that women have nowhere else to turn besides Planned Parenthood, which is not factual. On average, there is at least one Federally Qualified Health Center within 5 miles of any Planned Parenthood. By Planned Parenthood’s own estimation they see 2.7 million women annually for birth control services. Therefore, if every Planned Parenthood in the country were to close, each Federally Qualified Health Center would have to add one additional patient every other day to absorb Planned Parenthood’s patient load.
Regarding Nureen’s statement that Medicaid would have to increase its spending to compensate for the loss of services that Planned Parenthood provides, this seems to be an unfounded concern because Planned Parenthood claims 75 percent of its taxpayer funding to be from Medicaid. I have to wonder if Medicaid would actually save money, considering that Planned Parenthood has been under investigation for Medicaid fraud in Texas, California, Washington, and Iowa. Whistleblower lawsuits claiming that Planned Parenthood overbilled the federal government in those states cumulatively claim damages of over $6 billion. By redirecting funding, women’s health care would not lose a single penny- it would actually be given the opportunity to thrive.
Our bias is the protection of the dignity of all human beings: unborn, handicapped, elderly, marginalized, and homeless. We only use facts that are from reputable sources. The fact that these statistics enraged and disgusted so many students tells us something. It tells us that something is terribly wrong in our society when human beings are used as a means to an end- the end being a wealthy corporation that pits women against their own children. If we question other large corporations, why are we afraid to question Planned Parenthood? Women deserve more.
Our condolences go out to all those affected in the Colorado shooting. The prolife movement stands for all human life, from conception to natural death. There is no excuse for that psychotic shooter to take three humans from this world. Students for Life condemns all violence and only wishes to spread truth and dialogue about the value of all life, weak and small, healthy or not. As stated in our club’s mission statement, we are an organization committed to standing firmly against abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, sex trafficking, starvation, and embryonic stem cell research.
I urge all university students, being the next generation of intellects, to go online and watch the Center for Medical Progress undercover videos and ask themselves: is this something we should support as Americans? Every generation deems a certain population as non-human. Our society has done this to the preborn.
Photo courtesy of Patrice Robinson