By Jim Sedlak
For those of you who receive American Life League’s Pro-Life This Week, you will recall that, in the May 3, 2019, Action Item, we told you how May is celebrated in the Catholic Church as the Month of Mary—a month of prayer and reflection about the human being who is the greatest example of virtue.
It would not surprise you to know that Planned Parenthood, and all who adopt its same worldview, do not pay any attention to Mary’s virtues or her example in living a pure, chaste life.
The month of May is recognized by different individuals and organizations for many different reasons. In Planned Parenthood’s world, it was, for years, the National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Preventing teen pregnancy was actually a goal that could be joined by religious groups as well as the secular world. Of course, our vision of how you reduce teen pregnancy—purity, chastity, abstinence from sex, etc.—was much different than those who wanted to sell birth control products and make lots of money from teens. For this latter group, comprehensive sexuality education and “safer” sex practices, while using birth control, was pushed.
Looking at statistics from the last decade, Planned Parenthood has a problem. Teen pregnancy rates declined significantly in the United States. While Planned Parenthood tries to take credit for the decline, a review of Planned Parenthood’s annual reports show that its female birth control customers actually dropped by 25 percent. The lower teen pregnancies are not the result of more women using Planned Parenthood services.
On the surface, it would appear from this limited data that teen pregnancies are going down because fewer teen girls are involved in sex. If this is true, it does not make Planned Parenthood happy. Planned Parenthood’s business model has always been: get kids involved in sex; sell them birth control products; and when the birth control fails, sell them an abortion. Fewer kids involved in sex means fewer customers for Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has always produced customers by exposing young people to its brand of sexuality education programs. These programs are designed to get kids involved in a sexual lifestyle.
According to a recent article in Insider NJ, “a coalition of national organizations including Power to Decide, Advocates for Youth, SIECUS, Healthy Teen Network, the Guttmacher Institute, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America agreed to rename the observance [Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month] to ‘Sex Ed For All: Youth Power, Information, and Rights Month,’ in order to acknowledge that young people’s sexual health needs go beyond pregnancy prevention.”
A Planned Parenthood spokesperson tried to explain the new emphasis: “We are standing with young people, no matter who they are or where they live, to fight for access to the sex education they need and deserve,” said Roslyn Rogers Collins, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. “It’s crucial that we listen to young people and ensure that they get the necessary information and skills they deserve to protect their health and plan their futures.”
That statement is an illustration of the fallacy that underlies much of what is wrong with Planned Parenthood. Young people do not “need” Planned Parenthood-style sex education. The reason is simple: young people do not “need” to have sex. Nobody ever died from not having sex. Food is a need. Oxygen is a need. Hydration is a need. Sex is not a need.
You know who does need sex? Planned Parenthood. The organization and most of its representatives are fixated on sex. Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who used to work at Planned Parenthood, recently told an interviewer with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “I needed a part-time job while my children were growing up, and I was offered a position doing research for Planned Parenthood and I thought, all these people, all they do is talk about sex.”
The month of May is an example of the battle in which our world is engaged. Planned Parenthood tells our children that sex is a need in their lives. Mary, the Mother of God, told the children at Fatima, “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”
Let us reject the teachings of Planned Parenthood and embrace those of Jesus and Mary, His mother. And let us teach our children self-control, discipline, and all the virtues—especially purity and chastity.
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly talk show on the Radio Maria Network. He has been successfully fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.
The Catholic News Agency reported this week that a radical abortion bill (H. 57), “An act relating to preserving the right to abortion,” passed both the state House and Senate. The bill seeks to “recognize as a fundamental right the freedom of reproductive choice and to prohibit public entities from interfering with or restricting the right of an individual to terminate the individual’s pregnancy.”
The bill is now going to the governor for his expected signature. Once signed, it will take effect immediately.
As expected, Planned Parenthood is delighted with this bill that would permit abortions for any reason during the entire nine months of pregnancy.
Meagan Gallagher, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (which includes Vermont), said that the state was “the shining example for all other states . . . Vermont lawmakers made history today by declaring that reproductive rights are human rights . . . We applaud Vermont’s legislature for making its position clear on reproductive freedom, that protecting the health, dignity, and civil rights of Vermonters is urgently important.”
Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that this was “history in the making. With Trump in the White House and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, it is more important than ever for states to enact proactive policies to create a critical backstop and protect access to safe, legal abortion care. We at Planned Parenthood commend reproductive health care champions for their leadership and their work to protect the lives and well-being of women and families in Vermont.”
Although Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington said “I am disappointed that Vermont legislators have decided to move forward with H. 57, even amid many strong, authentic, and educated testimonies in opposition to the bill,” the bishop did not announce any actions he would take against Catholic legislators who voted in favor of the bill.
Most of you have probably heard of the major media event last week when a Planned Parenthood escort, who is also an elected Pennsylvania state representative, was seen in videos on social media bullying teen girls and an older woman. The videos clearly show that all these people were doing was praying on public property outside a Planned Parenthood facility. The videos show Rep. Brian Sims verbally harassing these peaceful, prayerful women and even offering a reward if someone on social media would give him their names and addresses.
One of the things that came out of all the attention on these incidents was a discussion of Planned Parenthood’s “non-engagement” policy. TheAtlantic.com website actually ran an article titled What Happens When an Activist Bullies Anti-abortion Protesters. It contains the following paragraph:
“From a distance, protests and counter protests look the same to a patient who’s just coming in to get health care,” says Erica Sackin, the senior director of communications for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Planned Parenthood, the No. 1 provider of abortion services in America, is a top target for anti-abortion protesters, yet it has a ‘nonengagement’ policy. “Though well intentioned, counter protests can inadvertently deter patients from getting the care they need,” Sackin says.
Although Sims never apologized to the teens and older women he bullied, he did feel compelled to give a nod to Planned Parenthood’s policy. “As a Planned Parenthood volunteer, and as a supporter, I fully understand, respect and appreciate the non-engagement policy they have . . .” he said.
Many pro-lifers who have not, yet, been active in bringing the love of Jesus to the streets in front of a Planned Parenthood facility worry about what will happen if they go. Although there is no predicting the actions of some lone person who has possibly been affected by the rhetoric of Planned Parenthood and others, like Rep. Sims, and sees violence as an acceptable response to those who are praying, the official Planned Parenthood position is not to engage you.
Planned Parenthood knows that your presence is effective in changing the minds and hearts of women coming in to its facilities. It also knows that your presence contributes to the high turnover of its staff. Those who work in the abortion industry can be reached by individuals who take the time to reach out as one person to another and treat them as people created in the image and likeness of God.
Decades ago, Planned Parenthood would try to intimidate those praying outside its facilities. But it has learned this does not work. Now, it tells its workers, volunteers, and supporters not to engage the prayer warriors.
Iowa governor, Kim Reynolds, has signed a budget bill that contains a provision that no money for sex education programs in Iowa will be given to Planned Parenthood. This is the latest in a long string of victories of anti-Planned Parenthood warriors in the state.
When news like this breaks, STOPP always receives calls from people in other states asking “How did they do it?” The answer is—through years and years of very hard work. Any effort to defeat Planned Parenthood in a state always involves hundreds of people from all walks of life. It also involves an active leader. In the case of Iowa, over the last decade, that leader was Jennifer Bowen. From 2010 to 2016, she was CEO of Iowa Right to Life and then founded Life Right Action. Jennifer is dedicated to ending abortion in the state of Iowa and has been a major opponent of Planned Parenthood in the state.
Back in 2017, Jennifer listed for us some of the major victories over Planned Parenthood the state has seen. Among the list are:
Jennifer pointed out that, since 2010, Iowa has had a pro-life governor, lt. governor and legislature, who have sacrificed much to provide a safer Iowa for our unborn children and their mothers. They have passed numerous pro-life and anti-Planned Parenthood laws.
The signing of this latest budget removing sex education funds from Planned Parenthood clearly demonstrates that God is continuing to bless the state’s efforts to protect all children from Planned Parenthood.
We congratulate the anti-Planned Parenthood forces in Iowa and stand willing to help any organization begin the effort to do the same in its state.