I am pro-life because our world today is broken and hurting, and I want to love the broken and the hurting. The fact is many women in our society are in pain. They live in an oppressive, unloving society. Planned Parenthood says it wants to serve women and even wants fewer abortions to occur in the United States. However, the facts prove otherwise.
In order to present an alternative to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ speech on April 20, Georgetown Right to Life invited pro-life activist Abby Johnson to speak on campus. Not only did Johnson work for Planned Parenthood, she also directed a Planned Parenthood clinic and was named employee of the year in 2008.
Planned Parenthood lies to women, and Johnson saw it firsthand.
Johnson got involved with Planned Parenthood because, as an organization, it claims to want fewer abortions to occur. This is a fair and reasonable goal for Planned Parenthood to have. Yet Johnson was told by her supervisor that this is a lie. When discussing the budget, Johnson noticed how the group doubled the amount of yearly required abortions for her clinic. Johnson asked her supervisor why this was so if the organization tried to reduce the number of abortions occurring in the United States. Johnson’s supervisor laughed in her face and said, “Abby, why would we want fewer abortions? That’s how we make our money.”
This is exploitation.
As a feminist — and yes, a pro-life feminist — I am filled with anger at the exploitation of society’s most vulnerable members. Poor women, likely minorities, are counseled into receiving abortions as a solution for unplanned pregnancies. At Planned Parenthood, for every woman who is given an adoption referral, 174 women receive abortions. This statistic, and the fact that Planned Parenthood enforces abortion quotas, suggests the group views abortion as the best option for the women who come to its clinics with an unplanned pregnancy. The anecdotal evidence put forth by Johnson suggests a dark twist to the narrative: Planned Parenthood steers women toward abortion because abortion is how it makes money.
Women deserve better.
When I found out Richards was coming to speak at Georgetown, I was shocked. I was concerned about the use of Lecture Fund’s university-provided funding to sponsor a biased speaker. Truth be told, Richards’ speech was unchallenged, as supposedly nonpartisan Lecture Fund moderators gushed about how much they loved Richards and how pro-choice they were. The Lecture Fund had the opportunity to open up a real dialogue about reproductive rights, but it chose not to.
The Richards event also opposed Georgetown’s Jesuit values. This week Georgetown Right to Life offered a stark contrast to the “throwaway culture” message put forth by Richards, offering a message consistent with our school’s mission and values. I am not Catholic, but I have a deep respect for our university’s principles and its dedication to the dignity of human life. Richards represents an institution that exploits people who should be protected, and I am not just talking about unborn children. Richards might truly believe she is helping women, but as the president of Planned Parenthood, she surely knows about the hypocrisy within her own organization.
Richards is a prominent figure in the pro-choice movement, but her organization is anti-choice. It does not want to give women options. It wants to give women abortions. It does not want women to choose for themselves. The disparity between Planned Parenthood’s supposed mission and its actual intentions astounds me.
The pro-life movement provides a clear contrast to Planned Parenthood. I want the best for pregnant women everywhere, and I believe women choose abortion when they do not feel that they have any other options. I admit the pro-life movement seeks to remove an option for women, but this is because abortion is not a viable option. An abortion forces a mother to destroy another life, often because she is put in a vulnerable and desperate state.
Former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Ezra Taft Benson once said, “You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice.” An abortion is not like other choices. The consequences are too high. In a society with a rule of law, you are not free to choose in every situation. You are not free to make a decision that hurts another person or one that commits a crime against society. Abortion is both a personal crime and a crime against humanity. It is the destruction of an innocent life and it creates a culture that is dulled to injustice.
The heart of the pro-life movement is in rectifying injustice. My heart breaks for women everywhere, because I love them and think they deserve better. I ache for children who will never know life outside the womb because I believe every human deserves the opportunity to have life. I want to love both the mother and the child, but Planned Parenthood wants to do neither.
Amelia Irvine is a freshman in the College. She is the media co-chair for Georgetown Right to Life.