As videos from The Center for Medical Progress continue to roll out, the Planned Parenthood brand is taking a terrible beating—which is well-deserved and fine by me.
In the process however, we are seeing a fascinating trend on the political front; almost every presidential candidate on one side of the aisle (hint; think “elephant”) is moving to the right on the abortion issue. Several have made it clear they are no longer in the “with exceptions” camp, which was almost unheard-of four years ago.
And almost every GOP candidate has come out in favor of totally defunding Planned Parenthood. One backed off within a week, saying Planned Parenthood does some “good things” (another hint; he has a big plane all his own), but for the most part, these candidates are holding the line.
Will Planned Parenthood be defunded? It’s hard to tell. We’ve seen a show vote on the issue, but the proof of commitment comes at budget time in a few weeks. So far, it appears neither Speaker John Boehner (whose health policy director is the sister of Stem Express CEO and Founder Cate Dyer) has an interest in shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood funding. Pressure may ramp up however; it’s worth watching.
Tweet This: Pregnancy centers need to gear up for a shift in thinking. @KirkWalden #PPSellsBabyParts #DefundPP
In the meantime, pregnancy help organizations need to gear up for a shift in thinking as these videos continue to pierce public consciousness. Here are a few trends to look for:
Our supporters are outraged at Planned Parenthood
Many PHO supporters had no idea of what was going on inside of Planned Parenthood affiliates. And while these supporters would send a check to a PHO, they saw a local Planned Parenthood as just another health provider in the area. This is changing, and our friends are shocked and angry.
Here is a fact they need to know: There are approximately 117 million households in the United States. Of those, about 53% or 62 million of those homes pay federal taxes. If Planned Parenthood is receiving $542 million in tax dollars, this means every one of these homes is forced—by law—to contribute an average of $8.74 to Planned Parenthood.
This doesn’t sound like a lot, but think about it this way: Every quarter of every year, the IRS is demanding a $2.19 payment from every tax paying family. That’s four times, every calendar year, when a theoretical agent comes to our door, demanding our money so that Planned Parenthood execs can sip wine and chat about distributing the body parts of children.
This is an outrage and if our supporters are looking for information to send to their elected representatives, perhaps the factoid above helps.
Clients are looking for alternatives
We’re not there yet, but as the news of these videos spreads through the social networks of young people, those who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy will be looking somewhere for answers. We need to be that “somewhere.”
This our mission: We must position ourselves as the safe, non-judgmental, caring place to go. The truth is, we do not have an agenda—regardless of what abortion proponents say. We’re not selling a product, our services are not contingent on a particular decision.
Making this point, the truth is PHOs are the only place a young woman can go after an abortion. She certainly can’t tell Planned Parenthood she’s struggling; she will be told her feelings have no merit. It is only at our centers where she can find true hope for what she is dealing with.
Our job is to remind our potential clients that inside our doors, there is no sales person trying to lead them toward a particular decision. Instead, we are a place of peace in the midst of the storm, where she can take a breath, get a clear picture of her situation and make a wise decision she can look back on with satisfaction.
Tweet This: It's time for adoption to make a big comeback. @KirkWalden #PPSellsBabyParts #DefundPP
It’s time for adoption to make a big comeback
Almost every one of us in pregnancy help work have been told at some point by a woman struggling with her decision, “I’d have an abortion before I’d give up my baby for adoption.” It’s a heart-wrenching statement, coming from misunderstandings about adoption and a false perception that placing a child in an adoptive home is somehow an admission of failure as a parent.
As we know, adoption is a courageous choice; one we should champion. Adoption is hardly a choice only for “unfit” mothers; it is a long-term, empowering decision that says, “One day I will be a great parent; when the timing is right.”
These videos will—rightly—take abortion off of the table for many. This is a great step. But the next step for PHOs is to make sure we provide every unmarried client (and if necessary, some married clients as well) with an accurate, positive picture of the adoption option.
This doesn’t mean all must or should choose adoption. But if we believe we are the true providers of choice, adoption is a choice we must allow our clients to consider, even if they are somewhat resistant.
By explaining why we are presenting adoption (“You deserve our best, and our best is to outline all of your choices so you can make the decision which is best for you and your child”), many of our clients’ initial reservations may disappear. We don’t know, but we need to provide the opportunity.
Three trends to consider. Each impacts PHOs. We need to prepare for each, today.
Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau.