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Thursday, 02 April 2020
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5 Things Planned Parenthood can learn from Pregnancy Centers as it Moves to “Human-Centered” Approach

It seems that, in its 100th year of doing business, the worldwide leader in abortion is finally starting to understand the flaw in its model.

Yes indeed, 2016 is going to be a big year for Planned Parenthood. It’s the year the abortion giant is going to start focusing on what, apparently, it should’ve been focusing on all along: human beings.

Planned Parenthood must have realized something was amiss in the wake of last summer’s revelations that its top-level executives, medical directors, regional affiliate CEOs and location directors—in other words, everyone employed by Planned Parenthood—was involved in the selling (excuse me: “reimbursement for reasonable expenses related to tissue donation”) of body parts harvested from the babies it aborts.

Further evidence that Planned Parenthood’s previously inexplicable societal credibility was in peril has been rolling out in various forms since the moment the Center for Medical Progress released its first video July 14, 2015.

As nine states have defunded Planned Parenthood in less than a year, rerouting taxpayer funding to federally qualified health centers and the abortion giant has been in constant damage control. Its oft-parroted, never-honest talking points have lost so much believability, in fact, that even normally abortion-friendly sources like the Washington Post have taken to assigning Pinocchio's for its dishonesty.

With its prized, taxpayer-funded status jeopardized like never before, there’s no better time for Planned Parenthood to “elevate [its] patient experience with human-centered design,” as a FastCompany.com article declared in a headline Monday.

Detailing the findings of a 38-week research project undertaken by Planned Parenthood and global design consultancy Ideo—courtesy of the American taxpayer—the article follows the organization’s journey to discover how it can abort babies in an office less “dark” and “scary” than its present modus operandi. 

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It turns out, when women are given choices other than an abortion in a dimly lit, unsanitary environment (“dark” and “scary” are quotes from a Planned Parenthood clinic director in the story), they go elsewhere for help in a crisis pregnancy.

Almost a full century into its endeavors to rid the world of “human weeds,” as its founder so inelegantly referred to vast categories of people less privileged than she, Planned Parenthood is running, head-on into a rising tide of opposition. 

Just as shameful as predicable, now that the organization has found its proverbial pig, Planned Parenthood is reaching for the lipstick.

It’s never too late to change your ways, however. If change is truly in the air for Planned Parenthood, there’s plenty it can do to improve not only its image, but its substance.

Even though pro-life pregnancy help centers, which out-number Planned Parenthood locations at almost a 4-1 margin in the U.S., are the direct competition to the abortion industry and, in particular, its flagship brand, it doesn’t hurt to offer some free advice from time to time.

Here are five things Planned Parenthood can learn from pro-life pregnancy centers in its journey to a “human-centered” approach.

1.    Create an expectation that every human can leave your office in one piece.

While a commitment to “Care. No Matter What.” sure does sound catchy—and is no doubt an easy sound bite that well-behaved politicians and media alike can ape—“Safety First” might be a better motto to shoot for in Planned Parenthood’s case. Baby steps, you know.

Time and space would fail to capture all the imminent physical risks abortion clinics pose to every woman who enters their “dark” and “scary” doors. Here are six to serve as sample size since last January: here, here, here, here, here and here.

Tweet This: #PPAct says it wants to focus more on humans. How about changing #CareNoMatterWhat to #SafetyFirst?

Suffice it to say, abortion clinics, while never safe for a baby, are often just as dangerous for mothers. The abortion lobby’s tooth-and-nail opposition to a Texas law requiring commonsense regulations awaiting the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court belies Planned Parenthood’s true commitment to its own survival, even at the expense of its own patients.

Planned Parenthood has plenty to learn from pregnancy centers in this, the first, most important lesson: every patient should expect to leave your office in one piece. Unlike abortion facilities like those Planned Parenthood administrates, no woman has ever died in a pregnancy help center.

This is to say nothing of the preborn humans who have barely a 1 in 10 survival rate once their mother walks into a Planned Parenthood. At pregnancy centers every human who enters comes back out alive. What’s more, the long-term survival rate for a preborn baby whose mother visits a pregnancy center is around 8 in 10.

Safety first, Planned Parenthood. That should be a given for every human entering your clinics.

2.    Celebrate birthdays instead of “birthdays.”

In the article detailing Planned Parenthood’s projected transition into a more “human-centered” model of service, Dawn Laguens, the organization’s executive vice president and chief experience officer for Planned Parenthood noted that 2016 is a big year for the enterprise.

“We’re about to have our 100th birthday,” Laguens said. You might recognize Laguens as the company’s chief spokesperson, who has been at the forefront of the current controversy and has also been seen blaming the pro-life community’s “rhetoric” for the homicidal attack on a Colorado Springs clinic in November.

But, even as Laguens points out what she clearly sees as a positive—Planned Parenthood’s 100th “birthday”—wouldn’t actual birthdays represent something a little more tangible to celebrate?

Because pregnancy centers, in stark contrast to an industry that profits by preventing birthdays through abortion, provide women with real choices, they are able to celebrate actual birthdays of the children whose mothers they’ve reached with practical, compassionate help in a time of need.

Take Milo, for example. He spent his first birthday this January on an exclusive tour of the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Had it not been for his mother, Jessica, finding help at Fallbrook (Calif.) Pregnancy Resource Center, it’s likely Milo would’ve been an abortion statistic—had we been talking about a state other than California, which does not even bother its Planned Parenthoods to count the number of children they abort, that is.

Yes, “birthdays” for gigantic corporations can be fun to celebrate, Planned Parenthood, but as any kid can tell you, they don’t hold a candle to actual birthdays.

3.    Be as creative with your “solutions” as you are with your furniture.

Central to Planned Parenthood’s new strategic focus laid out in the FastCompany.com piece is an innovative, market-based furniture design for its patients.

While the minimal safety regulations to preserve women’s health put forth in Texas’ HB 2, for example, are claimed to be far too costly for Planned Parenthood and others to comply with, that doesn’t mean the abortion giant won’t make any changes to its clinics.

Aesthetics matter, and when you’re starting at “dark” and “scary” for your existing look and feel, there’s really no place to go but up. So, Planned Parenthood is throwing out the old playbook, so to speak, and adding better lighting, organizing furniture in small groups, and even thinking through the proper chairs for waiting rooms that “offer a ‘nest’ for those seeking quiet space for themselves.”

Overlooking the obvious disconnect between the word “nest” and the very mission of Planned Parenthood, its borderline commendable that the organization is committing itself anew to creatively organizing its waiting room furniture.

What may be of better use to its clients, however, would be to apply that same creativity and come up with alternative options to its core product.

An optimal “patient experience” takes creativity, true ingenuity, an honest thinking outside the box mentality, to meet each woman where she is, hear her story, make her aware of her options, and help her navigate what she needs to do to make the healthiest choice she possibly can in an unexpected pregnancy.

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Pregnancy centers know this well. Each of the 2,500 U.S. pregnancy center and ultrasound-equipped medical clinic locations has something unique to offer that an abortion business never could.

Add in 400 live-in maternity homes and 250 nonprofit adoption agencies, all totally over 25,000 volunteers serving women directly each week, and you start to get a picture of what creative problem-solving looks like.

Perhaps big abortion’s movement toward resourcefulness will carry over to more than chairs and tables, into the actual lives it finds itself accountable for. If that’s the case, the pregnancy help community is a good place to start for how-to examples.

4.    Do what you advertise.

Each year, Planned Parenthood conducts precisely zero mammograms. Don’t try and tell that to lawmakers in Washington, D.C., a statehouse near you, Miss Tennessee or Whoopi Goldberg, however. As a Washington Post fact checker points out, these cultural authorities won’t be dissuaded by the data.

Planned Parenthood’s claim that only 3 percent of its “pregnancy-related services” are abortion? Also exceptionally dishonest.

As Rich Lowry points out at the New York Post, when you apply the same imaginative accounting that comes up with the “3 percent” figure to baseball, you can make the argument that Major League Baseball is more about selling hot dogs (20 million per year) than it is playing the game (2,430 per season).

The looming question is, if abortion brings fully $262 million a year into Planned Parenthood’s coffers—or 25 percent of its total revenue, which, together with taxpayer funding makes up 66 percent of its total income—then why do they trot out the 3 percent myth and still feel the need to lie about mammograms?

It’s a pretty simple question to answer, really. Abortion is a hard sell when you call it what it is. Past the euphemisms of “choice,” “reproductive health,” “reproductive justice” or whatever the word is this week, abortion is Planned Parenthood’s business, and abortion is becoming harder to sell by the hour.

Tweet This: #Abortion is a hard sell when you call it what it is. #PPAct is learning that lesson. #prolife

Meanwhile, pregnancy help centers both offer and advertise free services including pregnancy tests, limited ultrasounds to confirm viable pregnancies, STI testing and treatment, and material aid including diapers, formula and clothing. Pregnancy centers are also hubs of compassionate, ongoing support, with pregnancy options counseling, parenting classes, cooking classes and post-abortion recovery groups.

Unlike the highly profitable abortion industry that thrives on euphemisms and doublespeak to sell an ultimately unwanted product, pregnancy centers have nothing to hide and everything to offer, free of charge.

Turns out, humans prefer straightforward advertising and messaging that depicts what they’ll actually find when they show up for an appointment. That’s a lesson Planned Parenthood could stand to learn.

5.    Tell your clients the truth.

As much as it may help your bottom line to spruce up lighting fixtures and apply ergonomically friendly design concepts to your waiting rooms, what every patient will benefit from in the long run is the truth.

Women deserve to know the whole truth about abortion, including its potential physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional effects. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood’s business model demands that its clinics, like all other abortion clinics, leave out the truth, putting abortion profits above what’s really best for women and their babies.

For the uninitiated, here are three quick links to get a taste for Planned Parenthood’s longstanding history of telling clients their preborn baby was a “blob of tissue”: here, here and here.

Again, it’s a tall order to tell the truth about something as undesirable as intentionally ending a life through abortion and still expect to sell it. It’s a little like asking a snake-oil salesman to come clean about his product and still turn a profit.

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Once again, pregnancy centers serve a shining example for Planned Parenthood in this respect. Here are nonprofit organizations, supported within their local communities, that offer the very thing many of its clients don’t think they need.

Many clients go into pregnancy centers thinking abortion is her only choice. She comes out with a new understanding that, not only does she have choices, she suddenly has the support of a new group of friends who will do everything in their power to help her through her unplanned pregnancy, regardless of her choice.

While it isn’t likely Planned Parenthood’s cosmetic recalibration as a “human-centered” outfit will have much effect on its long-term mission—or half the humans who enter its clinics—it may well be replaced by a better alternative in the meantime.

Jay Hobbs

Part-time thinker, full-time husband, daddy, pastor, and baseball fan, Jay Hobbs served as editor of PregnancyHelpNews.com from its 2015 inception through the spring of 2018. Jay served on staff at Heartbeat International from 2012 to 2018, the last four of those years as Director of Communications and Marketing. Jay's writing has appeared at Newsweek, The Washington Times, The Washington ExaminerThe Federalist, The Daily Signal, The Christian Post, CNS News and The Gospel Coalition, as well as several national pro-life news outlets.

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