July 24, 2015


Despite videos, there is good news to report for pro-life advocates

Planned Parenthood has been garnering national headlines again in recent days.

For people who value all life from conception until natural death, the video of one of the abortion provider’s prominent doctors discussing keeping fetal organs intact during procedures where unborn children are killed does little to improve the callous, unseemly image associated with the organization by many.

Add the fact that the doctor in question is enjoying lunch while casually talking about this heinous procedure and about selling the body parts of aborted, unborn children, and you can understand the outrage of so many people.

Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Services, says in the video released on July 14 that if the abortion procedure is altered, specifically requested body parts can be preserved to use in research. The nearly nine-minute edited video—filmed undercover and produced by the Center for Medical Progress—quickly went viral, and Planned Parenthood denied making a profit on the sale of aborted baby parts.

We wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment shared by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin, during a July 15 Capitol Hill news conference in Washington. “This is unacceptable in 2015 American society,” he said. “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is an American issue.”

While we applaud Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana for launching investigations to look into Planned Parenthood operations in their respective states, we also welcome the investigation that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced on July 15 that Congress will conduct into Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices.

As this issue of The Criterion went to press, the Center for Medical Progress released another video on July 21 purporting to show Dr. Mary Gatter, president of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Director’s Council, haggling over the price of the organs of unborn babies.

Though recent media reports concerning abortion have been dominated by the Planned Parenthood videos, there was encouraging news for pro-life advocates which many in the secular media chose to overlook or downplay last month.

An Associated Press (AP) survey of abortion in the United States this decade has revealed that the number of abortions has gone down by 12 percent since 2010.

The AP study released in June showed that some states had reductions as high as 15 percent. It said that while some states with the pronounced drops were among the 31 states that had passed laws this decade restricting access to abortion—singling out Ohio, Missouri, Indiana and Oklahoma—some states that maintained unrestricted access to abortion also experienced 15 percent reductions, among them New York, Washington and Oregon.

Indiana far outstripped the national average, seeing a nearly 20 percent decline in abortions from 2010 to 2013, according to the State Department of Health.

“For so many women on both sides of the debate, there is lingering physical and psychological damage, on top of regret and heartbreak,” said Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, which invites women to speak publicly about their abortions. “Women are listening, and they are choosing life.”

One factor cited by AP in its survey was the continuing decline in the rate of teen pregnancy. While no new numbers have been issued since those for 2010, the 2010 figures were the “lowest level in decades,” according to AP.

Elizabeth Nash, a state-issues expert for the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports legal abortion, told AP that 31 states had enacted 267 different abortion restrictions, ranging from admitting-privilege requirements for abortion doctors at nearby hospitals, to bans on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, to building standards for abortion facilities. Some of the restrictions have been blocked by the courts, but since 2011, 70 abortion clinics have been closed in 12 states.

While these statistics have certainly aided the pro-life cause, we also believe prayer and a conversion of hearts have been big contributors to the declining number of abortions.

We also agree with Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest, who told AP the nationwide decline in abortion numbers suggested a change in attitudes among pregnant women.

“There’s an entire generation of women who saw a sonogram as their first baby picture,” she said. “There’s an increased awareness of the humanity of the baby before it is born.”

We will no doubt continue to debate the pros and cons of technology, but we are thankful for sonograms and other medical innovations that help us see firsthand and affirm the preciousness of every life inside a mother’s womb.

We pray that future generations continue to use these resources, and think the same way, too.

—Mike Krokos

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