Tag Archives: NARAL Pro-choice America

Pro-life blog buzz 3-31-15

pro-lifeby Susie Allen, host of the blog, Pro-Life in TN, and Kelli

  • Josh Brahm reprints John Thorp and Clarke Forsythe’s Washington Times article showing how the abortion industry cannot claim abortion is safe with our current system of reporting:

    Abortion advocates in Congress and in state legislatures claim that abortions are “safe.” Yet numerous, long-standing problems at the state and federal level illustrate that the abortion data collection and reporting system in the United States is haphazard and dysfunctional, making assertions about “abortion safety” unreliable.

    The U.S. abortion data and reporting system, unlike many other countries, relies completely on voluntary reporting. No federal law requires the reporting of abortion numbers, complications or deaths. (Denmark, in contrast, requires mandatory reporting by providers of all induced abortions.)


  • Abstinence Clearinghouse says 75% of parents would not approve of one South Carolina school district’s sex ed program, Making Proud Choices. AC says that in the program, girls are taught how to sexually arouse boys, put on the condom, remove it following intercourse, and relax after sex.
  • Big Blue Wave was cautiously optimistic when the Quebec Health Minister wanted to limit the number of abortions performed – knowing the devil was in the details. In BBW’s update, we learn that this caution was well founded:

    The Health Minister says [a] new health law will increase access to abortion, because all family physicians will be able to perform them. Career abortionists will be able to obtain special dispensations to perform all the abortions they want.

  • 40 Days for Life rejoices that just in their most recent campaign, at least 402 babies that had their death sentences vacated because of the presence of volunteers at countless abortion facilities across the US and participating countries abroad.


  • At Live Action News, Alexandra Liebl discusses the “imprecision” of abortion language. As seen in the book and movie, The Giver, the main character, Jonas, learns that “precision of language” in his society is important “to ensure that unintentional lies were never uttered.”

    Liebl “implore[s] President Obama to be more precise in his use of language” when lauding abortion providers as he did two years ago when he said “We… gather to recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their healthcare”:

    em>Precision of language please, President Obama. What he really must mean is that women should be able to make their own choices not just about their own bodies but about the child’s body that they carry within them….

    If women were treated fairly in every aspect of life, they would be protected in their mother’s womb from the moment of conception. If Obama believed in a nation where all Americans should have the freedom and opportunity to reach their potential, he would protect our most innocent, defenseless Americans to ensure they get the opportunity and freedom of life itself….

    In language I saw as more accurate and fit in conveying President Obama’s message, I have rewritten the last excerpt: To everyone at NARAL Pro-Choice America, thank you for your tireless advocacy for the exploitation of women and the destruction of preborn children and families. I couldn’t be prouder of the work each of you is doing to make the world an intangible place for select, preborn Americans.

MD officials consulted NARAL in effort to shut down pregnancy centers

by Kelli

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.30.07 PMEmails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request have revealed that Maryland government officials and activists with the state chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America have been working closely together on a legal effort to shut down a local pro-life pregnancy care center.

The emails have also revealed a seven-part plan developed by NARAL to shut down pro-life pregnancy care centers that could indicate a nationwide strategy….

The emails obtained… reveal that, unbeknownst to the public, Montgomery County dropped the case after conferring with NARAL. The county stopped defending the law the month after NARAL recommended that very action in a March 14, 2014 letter, sent a week after the judge permanently blocked the law.

“It is our hope that the Montgomery County Council (Council) will once again partner with us to ensure Montgomery Council citizens are aware of the misleading tactics used by crisis pregnancy centers,” Maryland’s NARAL chapter president, Jodi Finkelstein, wrote….

In the letter, sent by the county to LifeSiteNews along with other emails through a Freedom of Information Act request, Finkelstein “strongly” recommended that the county drop the case and implement seven other strategies.

Those strategies include:

  • Prosecuting volunteers and employees of pregnancy care centers for “consumer protection violations”
  • Forbidding [PRCs] from “participating in advertising” that county officials deem “untrue or misleading”
  • Allowing women who claim they were “harmed by limited-service pregnancy centers to collect monetary damages” from women’s centers
  • Denying taxpayer funding to crisis pregnancy centers
  • Instructing county officials not to refer women to CPCs for ultrasounds or to “very clearly differentiate the centers from legitimate medical providers”
  • Having the county undertake a “public awareness campaign” against pregnancy centers…
  • The regulation of ultrasound practices.

“We are pleased to offer our continued assistance in any way as you move forward,” Finkelstein writes.

~ Dustin Siggins, Life Site News, January 13

PDFs of email exchanges here.

Planned Parenthood strategist goes rogue

Dawn Laguens of Planned Parenthood abortion group and Carter Eskew of Glover Park GroupPlanned Parenthood executive VP Dawn Laguens (pictured above right) took Glover Park Group’s founding partner Carter Eskew (pictured below right) apart in a drippingly sarcastic August 22 Huffington Post piece, “Thanks for the lecture”:

In a recent Washington Post blog post… Eskew took the reproductive rights movement to task, and not a minute too soon by his watch. In his column, he explains that advocates for reproductive health are mired in “convoluted, poll-tested messaging” and “cannot win the debate as it is currently framed.” He probably imagines he’s doing us a favor, but he instead seems to be just tuning in to a conversation that’s literally happening all around him.

In his WashPo piece, Eskew basically concurred with me, without naming names, that pro-abortion messaging has become a hot mess:

Janet Harris says… people who support abortion rights need new language for expressing their advocacy. She couldn’t be more right, but from a pro-choice perspective, the current political dialogue is even worse than she documents.

For years, the pro-choice movement has been on the defensive, using more and more convoluted, poll-tested messaging to try to stand its ground….

The pro-choice side cannot win the debate as it is currently framed; it can achieve only small victories when the other side overreaches….  The reason pro-choice advocates can’t and won’t win is because they don’t have an affirmative argument, only a defensive one….

The problem is “choice” will never trump “life.” Choice is valuable, but life is precious. As long as there is no competing affirmative value for abortion, then life will always win.

Lately, there have been murmurings of new language presaging a new movement to affirm the true value of abortion…. But it remains abstract.

The “convoluted, poll-tested messaging” is of course, Planned Parenthood’s, the group which in 2013 rocked Abortion World by announcing it was abandoning the movement’s beloved self-descriptive term, “pro-choice.”

Eskew obviously still likes “pro-choice” – note how often he used it in his piece.

The problem is Planned Parenthood actually hired Eskew’s firm to help formulate its “convoluted, poll-tested messaging,” or at the very least identify the weakness in using “pro-choice” terminology. Continued Laguens:

The reproductive justice movement… deserves the lion’s share of credit for articulating the weakness of the choice frame. Admittedly Planned Parenthood Action Fund was later to this party, and interestingly we worked with Eskew’s firm to help us name this in our own work.

In fact, Planned Parenthood has hired Glover Park Group, a “public relations, advertising, opinion research, and lobbying” firm, according to Wikipedia, for each of the last six years to lobby and strategize, for a total of $710,000.

So Eskew’s post is inexplicable, unless he’s on a hari kari mission.

Or perhaps Eskew just decided to be honest. Planned Parenthood’s decision to publicly dump “pro-choice” from its lexicon has resulted in chaos, particularly among groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America that boast the shunned term in their names.

Or perhaps Eskew was trying to back away from the race-relations nightmare Planned Parenthood launched within the movement by initially taking credit for the phrase, “reproductive justice,” which it is trialing as the new, cumbersome stand-in for the dreaded A-word. As Women of Color quickly reminded Planned Parenthood, they coined that term decades ago.

UPDATE 8/27, 9a:  One late thought that occurs to me is Eskew may have opposed Planned Parenthood’s decision to abort “pro-choice” and was writing an “I told you so.”

Whatever, suffice it to say we can expect Planned Parenthood to abort Glover Park Group.

And the very public infighting between pro-abortion groups continues, much to pro-life delight.


NARAL defies Planned Parenthood, promotes “pro-choice” terminology

Abortion Rally Pro-choice vs Pro-life on abortionPeople are such lemmings. Now that Planned Parenthood has decided the abortion movement’s most prized obfuscation, “pro-choice,” is uncool, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.

Suddenly, “[p]ro-choice sounds stark, institutional and impersonal,” proclaimed ad agency exec Shireen Jiwan of Sleuth in the AdWeek post, “How 6 ad women would rebrand pro-choice.”

Womankind’s Sandy Sabean added, “What needs to be made clearer is that what we are against is anti-choice.” Well, that really does clear things up. I’d think the correct phrase would then be “pro-choice,” but what do I know?

NARAL pro-choice America Then there’s NARAL Pro-Choice America. For obvious reasons this group likes the term pro-choice.

I would love to have been in the room when Planned Parenthood’s people told NARAL’s people their name was outdated. Ha.

But NARAL isn’t towing the “pro-me” line (ad exec Amanda Hughes-Watkins’ suggestion for the name replacement, which is actually pretty much on the dime, since abortion is about me, me, me).

2014-t-shirt-pca-hdNARAL is asking people to vote on three new t-shirt designs (warning: one of the choices is vulgar), and the third one is, “I AM PRO-CHOICE AMERICA.”

This is really just a ploy to snag members (by voting “you are affirming your membership in NARAL Pro-Choice America”), but the bottom line is NARAL isn’t going to let go of “pro-choice” without a fight.

Which I love.

“Pro-choice” proponents turn on Planned Parenthood

wolves circling planned parenthoodI wrote on August 4 that a July 28 New York Times article about Planned Parenthood’s decision to abandon the term “pro-choice” had triggered a race war within the abortion movement.

This was because Planned Parenthood steered NYT journalist Jackie Calmes to seven white leaders of abortion groups for quotes but no women of color.

Plus, Planned Parenthood gave no credit to WOC groups for expanding on abortion advocacy to include other “reproductive justice” issues, a term WOC coined two decades ago. This July 31 tweet didn’t come out of nowhere…

On August 5 the racial schism burst into the open when Monica Simpson, Executive Director of SisterSong, published “An Open Letter to Planned Parenthood” at the pro-abortion website RH Reality Check:

Whether stemming from oversight or from deliberate exclusion, the New York Times story, “Advocates Shun ‘Pro-Choice’ to Expand Message,” and the Huffington Post essay, “We’re Fighting for Access, Not Choice,” suggests very clearly that Planned Parenthood did not inform the reporters of the long-term work of scores of reproductive justice organizations, activists, and researchers that have challenged the “pro-choice” label for 20 years.

Many of us received feedback from… Jackie Calmes, confirming that this history was not presented to her by the mainstream reproductive rights organizations with which she spoke. This is not only disheartening but, intentionally or not, continues the co-optation and erasure of the tremendously hard work done by Indigenous women and women of color (WOC) for decades.

[W]omen of color RJ organizations have sought to instill a reproductive justice framework into these fights – not always with the support of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America or its affiliates.

In fact, in 2011, when Planned Parenthood and other allies were given the opportunity to understand and work on the intersectionality of issues in Mississippi while working in partnership with SisterSong, the organization failed to step forward. The fight to defeat both the “personhood” and the voter identification amendment reflected a clear attack on the rights of Black women in the state.

Yet, when urged to see the connection between reproductive health rights and voting rights, PPFA rejected the notion. As a result, “personhood” was defeated and the voter ID initiative passed, leaving Mississippi more vulnerable to new “personhood,” anti-abortion, and other discriminatory and counterproductive laws in the future.

As an aside, that was an interesting take on how voter ID laws may negatively impact abortion at the ballot box. If the theory holds true, voter ID laws will not just help pro-life voter initiatives but also pro-life candidates.

Another aside, it’s also interesting that RH Reality Check published this letter.

monica-raye-simpson sistersong opposed to Planned Parenthood abortion giantSimpson (pictured left) listed several demands that included a “face-to-face meeting between executive directors of national WOC-led RJ organizations and PPFA leadership….”

“This public infighting is something we never used to see,” noted Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy advisor for Operation Rescue, in an email. “They used to keep this kind of thing behind closed doors. It’s a good sign for us.”

Then here’s another good sign, a July 29 letter to the editor in the New York Times from Susan Wysocki (pictured below right), board chairwoman of Catholics for Choice:

As a lifetime advocate for women’s health, I fear that your article may give rise to a misperception about the reality of abortion rights advocacy by highlighting the campaign strategy of one organization, Planned Parenthood….

Election cycle messaging campaigns, whatever they may be, cannot obscure this simple fact: If you will not say that you are in favor of choice, you are no advocate for women’s health and lives.

So Planned Parenthood is now publicly engaged in a two-front war with groups on its own side, on the issues of racism and strategy.

Sabotaging abortion zen

I cannot overstate how unsettling it was to the equilibrium of the abortion movement for Planned Parenthood to publicly renounce the truly hallowed term “pro-choice.” “Pro-choice” is their identity, it protects them, it lets them sleep at night.

Susan Wysocki Catholics for Choice pro-choice organization 2It is even the legal name of hundreds if not thousands of groups, like Catholics for Choice (see above), Center for Choice, Choice USA, Clinicians for Choice, Feminists for Choice, Medical Students for Choice, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Republicans for Choice, Rock for Choice,  Voice of Choice, 4000 Years for Choice, etc.

At least one Planned Parenthood even has “choice” in its name: Planned Parenthood Center for Choice in Houston.

But back to Planned Parenthood and its racism problem – which is really nothing new since it was founded on racism and eugenics – Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards issued a response in an “Open Letter on Reproductive Justice and ‘Choice'” within hours after Simpson posted her open letter.

The buck does NOT stop here (unless it’s $$)

Interestingly, Richards never addressed the huge gaffes Planned Parenthood made in shaping the NYT article other than to say she was “eager to talk to you about the events of the last few weeks, and what we can learn from this experience going forward.” There was no apology.

I stand with Planned Parenthood pro-choice abortion industry leaderFurthermore, although Simpson addressed her letter specifically to Planned Parenthood, outlining where Planned Parenthood had failed WOC abortion groups, Richards dragged the rest of the abortion industry into the melee, writing “how Planned Parenthood and other organizations have sometimes fallen short….”

I’m sure groups formerly known as “pro-choice” appreciate standing with Planned Parenthood as racists.

Double diss.

[Photo of Simpson via elixher.com; photo of Wysocki via flickr.com]

“Pro-choice”: When a euphemism becomes a euphemism

Pro-choice euphemism for pro-abortion

In January 2013 came news that shocked both sides of the abortion debate: Planned Parenthood had determined the term “pro-choice” was no longer helpful and recommended abandoning it.

This news really was titanic. “Pro-choice” was the abortion movement’s self-chosen descriptive term for over 40 years. To abandon it was to abandon an identity, surely unnerving to activists on the street, who found cover and solace in the euphemism. NARAL Pro-Choice America

I also imagine hundreds of groups with “pro-choice” as part of their moniker – say, for instance, NARAL Pro-Choice America – were livid at Planned Parenthood for announcing this edict regardless of dissent. It had to be embarrassing to read in the news one’s name was passé.

On the pro-life side, the announcement was gratifying. We have fought the term “pro-choice” forever as obvious code for “pro-abortion,” hounding the other side with that question: What exactly is wrong with being pro-abortion? Perhaps we simply wore proponents of “choice” out; they grew tired of always being on the defensive.

On the other hand, I, for one, was also a bit unnerved, waiting for the other shoe to drop. What would be the new and improved euphemism for us to battle?

But as of yet “[n]o pithy phrase has replaced pro-choice,” according to a July 28 New York Times piece, “Advocates shun ‘pro-choice’ to expand message.”

But the article did give more insight as to why the abortion industry is deserting the term “pro-choice,” albeit heavily spun:

Yet advocates say that the term pro-choice, which has for so long been closely identified with abortion, does not reflect the range of women’s health and economic issues now being debated.

Reason #1: “Pro-choice” has over the course of 41 years ironically come to mean “pro-abortion.” So the euphemism has become a euphemism.

Nor, they add, does it speak to a new generation of young women, who tell pollsters that they reject political labels….

“The labels we’ve always used about pro-choice and pro-life – they’re outdated and they don’t mean anything,” said Janet Colm, 62, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina…. “I used to be a one-issue voter” – pro-choice – “but I think most younger people today aren’t.”…

Reason #2: There is a pro-abortion intensity gap, particularly among young female voters. A May 2014 Gallup poll agreed, finding “more pro-life voters than pro-choice voters saying they will only back candidates who share their views, 24% vs. 16%.” This translates to a 3-point advantage when the number of voters for both sides is taken into consideration. Thus, the abortion lobby has to broaden its net, lumping abortion with more popular “reproductive justice” issues, like free contraception.

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America [said] “I just think the ‘pro-choice’ language doesn’t really resonate particularly with a lot of young women voters.”…

But by 2010 some abortion-rights activists began to sense in their outreach to young women, whose support was needed not only for the midterm elections but for the movement’s future as well, that the term pro-choice was virtually meaningless. That was confirmed by postelection polls and focus groups that women’s organizations and Democrats commissioned to understand what went wrong.

Among the findings, according to several people familiar with them: Many young women, when asked whether they were pro-choice or pro-life, said pro-life. Yet they supported the Roe ruling. Explaining the contradiction, Ms. Laguens said these self-described pro-life voters were “talking about their personal decision-making, for themselves, and not about what they want to push on others.”

But such results also showed the weakness of the pro-choice label, advocates and pollsters said.

Reason #3: Quite simply, the pool of young replacement abortion proponents is shrinking. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is attrition.

pro-life, not pro-choice generation - anti-abortion

[Top photo, via New York Times, is of a “Pittsburgh rally in 1974, at a time when abortion-rights groups began favoring the term choice”; bottom photo via walkforlifewc.com]

Pro-life blog buzz 1-10-14

by Susie Allen, host of the blog, Pro-Life in TN, and Kelli

We welcome your suggestions for additions to our Top Blogs (see tab on right side of home page)! Email Susie@jillstanek.com.

  • Wesley J. Smith says organ donation is a great thing – but not so great that it should push families to let go of their loved ones before receiving second (or further) opinions on determining brain death.
  • Reflections of a Paralytic discusses The Center for Bioethics and Culture author Jennifer Lahl’s (of Eggsploitation fame) new documentary, Breeders. The film examines the growing use of surrogates for family building:

    Jennifer Lahl’s eye-opening interviews with surrogates, doctors, psychologists, and advocates across the political spectrum explain why surrogacy is either illegal or far more limited in other industrialized countries.

  • ProWomanProLife learns from expert pro-life speaker Stephanie Gray, who focuses on the importance of listening well when talking to someone with pro-abortion viewpoints.
  • ProLifeBlogs features a post by Life Site News, which chastises Wisconsin GOP senators for refusing to vote on sex-selection abortion “and protecting against involuntarily subsidizing abortion.”
  • Pro-life Action League is keeping score and thus far, the Obama Administration has lost 88% of its attempts to force the HHS Mandate on various groups. This is causing consternation of the left.
  • Secular Pro-Life recommends the film Gimme Shelter, which has the possibility of being viewed by a wider audience since it is not labeled as a “pro-life” film. The film highlights the work of pro-life centers that provide care for pregnant women. Planned Parenthood enjoys taxpayer subsidies to the tune of $1.5M per day, but find it necessary to try to shut down facilities that don’t provide abortion:

    It is not just Planned Parenthood which has targeted the centers. NARAL Pro-Choice America has an ongoing campaign urging action against them. There is also an organization called the Crisis Project which is devoted solely to opposing pregnancy centers.

Stanek weekend Q: Momentum has shifted in the abortion war, but which way?


The New York Times posted a piece yesterday, “Access to abortion falling as states pass restrictions,” with these money quotes:

A three-year surge in anti-abortion measures in more than half the states has altered the landscape for abortion access, with supporters and opponents agreeing that the new restrictions are shutting some clinics, threatening others and making it far more difficult in many regions to obtain the procedure….

Advocates for abortion rights, taking heart from recent signs in Virginia and New Mexico that proposals for strong or intrusive controls may alienate voters, hope to help unseat some Republican governors this year as well as shore up the Democratic majority in the United States Senate.

Anti-abortion groups aim to consolidate their position in dozens of states and to push the Senate to support a proposal adopted by the Republican-controlled House for a nationwide ban on most abortions at 20 weeks after conception.

“I think we are at a potential turning point: Either access to abortion will be dramatically restricted in the coming year or perhaps the pushback will begin,” said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University.

The anti-abortion groups, for their part, feel emboldened by new tactics that they say have wide public appeal even as they push the edges of Supreme Court guidelines, including costly clinic regulations and bans on late abortions.

“I’m very encouraged,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “We’ve been gaining ground in recent years with laws that are a stronger challenge to Roe.”

“I think it is more difficult to get an abortion in the country today,” she said….

In 2013 alone, 22 states adopted 70 different restrictions, including late-abortion bans, doctor and clinic regulations, limits on medication abortions and bans on insurance coverage, according to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

Anti-abortion legislation in the states exploded after the major conservative gains in the 2010 elections, the report said, resulting in more than 200 measures in 30 states over the last three years….

A partial test is expected this month, when the Supreme Court announces whether it will hear Arizona’s appeal to reinstate its 20-week ban, which was overturned by federal courts.

Many legal experts expect the court to decline the case, but this would not affect the status of similar laws in effect in Texas and elsewhere. Still, those on both sides are watching closely because if the court does take it, the basis of four decades of constitutional law on abortion could be upended.

“If they take the Arizona case, it seems like at least four of the justices are willing to reconsider the viability line as the point at which states can ban abortions,” said Caitlin Borgmann, an expert on reproductive rights at the City University of New York School of Law….

Amid all the setbacks, abortion rights groups say they see encouraging signs.

A referendum to impose a 20-week ban in Albuquerque was defeated. Although Texas adopted some of the country’s most stringent controls, State Senator Wendy Davis’s filibuster in June energized women and led to her campaign for governor.

In Virginia, these groups say, Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II’s strong anti-abortion stance became a liability, contributing to his defeat in the governor’s race.

I honestly believe we have shifted the momentum,” said Ilyse Hogue, the president of Naral Pro-Choice America.

How do you see the abortion landscape? Are we indeed at a tipping point? If so, which direction?

[Graphic via Guttmacher]