Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

New face, same mission for Planned Parenthood 

Abortion | Pro-lifers expect agency’s new leader to double down on abortion
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 9/17/18, 02:57 pm

Planned Parenthood has tapped Leana Wen, Baltimore’s health commissioner and an emergency room doctor, as its next president.

When the abortion giant’s former leader, Cecile Richards, announced in January she was stepping down, pro-lifers wondered whether the organization would choose a president who would change course or double down on the organization’s fierce commitment to aborting more than 300,000 babies a year.

Choosing Wen shows the organization is likely heading down its well-trodden path. In a video tweeted by Planned Parenthood, Wen described a woman who came into her emergency room suffering complications from a home abortion. “In the ER I saw what happens every day when people don’t have access to the basic right to healthcare,” Wen said. “[The woman] died because of a failure in our system.”

By making a physician its face, Planned Parenthood may be trying to shift its public image away from that of a heavy hitting political organization, Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins told me.

“I think it’s almost a way to soften that image [to say] ‘We’re really about providing healthcare,’ not, ‘We’re one of the largest lobbyists in Washington, D.C., and we’re one of the largest groups that puts money into Democratic politics,’” she said.

In addition to being a doctor, Wen is also an author, a speaker, a Chinese immigrant, and the mother of a 1-year-old son. Her track record as Baltimore’s health commissioner included knocking on doors to deliver medication to the elderly in 2015, when rioters burned CVS stores and threw the city into tumult. She appeared passionate about solving problems at the root of her city’s opioid crisis and other substance abuses.

Her abortion advocacy is likely to continue. Wen promoted Baltimore’s city ordinance requiring pro-life pregnancy care centers to post signs in waiting rooms saying they don’t provide abortions. A center challenged the 2009 law (Wen became health commissioner in 2015), and a federal court sided with pro-lifers. After Wen became health commissioner, the city appealed the ruling twice more, but the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided unanimously with the pregnancy center in January, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take the case in June. Wen was a defendant in the suit.

Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, told me that when Richards announced she was stepping down, Nance urged Planned Parenthood to abandon its “abortion first, abortion always business model” and focus on providing healthcare for poor women.

“Basically they’ve done the opposite of what I hoped they would do,” she said. “They’ve hired an activist who has gone out of her way to promote abortion, even trying to force crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy health centers to promote abortion.”

Facebook Facebook Southwestern Women’s Options

Another black mark

Tina Atkins filed suit in August against the University of New Mexico Health System, an abortion center in Albuquerque, and six abortionists, claiming their negligent treatment led to the wrongful death of her daughter Keisha Atkins after an abortion last year.

Six months pregnant, 23-year-old Keisha Atkins walked into Southwestern Women’s Options for an abortion. She later developed an infection, and rather than calling 911 she called the hotline at the abortion center. Atkins eventually did go to UNM Hospital but died. Her mother is filing suit seeking damages for medical malpractice, wrongful death, and civil conspiracy.

Tina Atkins’ attorney, Michael Seibel, said abortionists at the center, under the supervision of Curtis Boyd, likely conspired with UNM Hospital’s medical investigator to conceal the reason for the daughter’s death, calling it natural causes due to pregnancy instead of complications from the abortion.

“This is not medicine, this is a reckless public health crisis driven by abortionist Curtis Boyd, a co-founder of the National Abortion Federation who puts his bottom line and ideology above his patients,” said Elisa Martinez, a spokeswoman for Atkins.

Jessica Duran, who had an abortion at Southwestern Women’s Options in 2012, filed suit in 2016 against the center for failing to disclose its relationship with UNM Health System. She believes her baby’s body likely went to research at the university and Southwestern failed to tell her she could object to it. —S.G.

Associated Press/Photo by Aijaz Rahi (file) Associated Press/Photo by Aijaz Rahi (file) The Income Tax department in Bangalore, India

Population pitfall

Despite a falling birthrate, India’s lawmakers are calling for a two-child birth policy. Last month, 125 members of the nation’s parliament signed a petition to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind calling for a maximum of two children per couple. Violators would face a revocation of voting rights and government benefits.

“India should not repeat China’s mistakes,” said Steven Mosher, president of the pro-life Population Research Institute. “People are the ultimate resource—the one resource you cannot do without—as China is belatedly discovering after having eliminated 400 million from their own now aging and dying population.”

Meanwhile, a draft civil code that Chinese lawmakers are debating hints that the country may be about to end its two-child policy, which has been on the books for only two years, replacing a one-child policy that began in 1979. Many have criticized the policies for leading to forced abortions and millions of “missing” Chinese girls. The draft civil code drops all references to family planning, according to a social media post by a government newspaper. —S.G.

Heels and babies … mutually exclusive?

Britain’s National Health Service is facing pushback for an ad featuring a high-heeled shoe, lipstick, and a pacifier. “Would you give up this? For this?” the ad reads. “You can still get emergency contraception up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex.” Fashion writer Emily Baker called the advertisement “sexist,” and mothers decried the ad on social media for devaluing human life and insulting women’s talent for multitasking. A second NHS ad targeted men, featuring a video game controller and pacifier. “Bware [sic] da baby trap—use a condom,” the ad says. —S.G.

Setting standards

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a preliminary injunction against a Missouri law requiring abortion facilities to meet ambulatory surgical center standards and abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges. The ruling likely will require Planned Parenthood’s Columbia, Mo., facility to stop aborting babies since the site does not meet the necessary requirements. U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs granted a preliminary injunction last year after two Planned Parenthood affiliates filed suit. —S.G.

Pay up

After eight years of trying to defend its ordinance requiring pro-life pregnancy care centers to post signs saying they do not perform abortions, Baltimore will have to pay $1.1 million to cover legal fees for the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns. The center filed suit in 2010, saying the ordinance violated its freedom of speech. The city’s spending board voted last week to cover the center’s legal fees. —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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  • Laura W
    Posted: Sat, 09/22/2018 10:47 am

    So the message to men is "Make sure you never become a father because then you might have to (ugh) grow up and help take care of a baby, and that might put a damper on your gaming". Have they actually thought through what the implications would be if all the young men took this to heart? (And I really don't know what they're trying to tell the women.)